I’ve just spotted something very exciting in my M365 tenant a new PREVIEW action in Power Automate & Azure Logic Apps for Syntex content assembly. This enables users to generate personalised documents in a workflow using SharePoint Syntex Content Assembly and this opens up the doors to the whole bulk document generation story from a workflow! This is very exciting news and one that I’m sure will be very popular! The only way previously to create documents using Syntex content assembly was from a document library and only one document could be created at a time – so there was lots of mouse and keyboard clicking!
NOTE: This Syntex content assembly action is still in PREVIEW so could all change or there could be bugs.
Here are a few use cases I can think of:
- Bulk creating lots of letters by having a flow reading a SharePoint list i.e. employee list and then bulk creating a personalised document addressed to each employee. The document could then be emailed in the next step of the workflow to the employee by using the Outlook send email action.
- Approval process i.e. similar to the approval in the Syntex Contracts Management template. In this solution accelerator there is currently a manual step for a personalised contract to be manually created once the contract request has been approved by a manager using Adaptive Cards/Power Automate. This can now be fully automated so that once the contract is approved a contract document is then automatically generated using all the details from the contract request.
- An external system i.e. a CRM system can call a workflow to automatically create a welcome letter to send to the customer when a new customer record is added to the CRM.
- On-site Engineers – can automatically have their site report papers automatically generated which are specific to their site visits for their day
- Many more workflow scenarios….
Using the Generate document using SharePoint Syntex
As I mentioned before this new action is available in both Microsoft workflow tools: Power Automate and Azure Logic Apps – so you get the best of both worlds and their various pricing strategies.
Below is the current Microsoft docs documentation for the action – we can see a Syntex licence is required to use this action and that the pricing is subject to change.
To add the action in your preferred workflow tool search for “Syntex” and then select the action Generate document using SharePoint Syntex (preview) action should now be available to add to your workflow
Next similar to a regular SharePoint action – select the Site Address, Document Library Name and then the Document Template section will update with all the Modern templates (Content Assembly document templates) associated to the Document Library. In my case I only have one PnP Recognition Letter which I select.
The fields used in the template are then displayed in the action. If there are any fields that are usually populated by selecting a SharePoint list item or a managed metadata column value then these will just be displayed as blank manual fields that need to be filled in from the action.
Complete the fields along with giving the document a File Name – then run the workflow
The action to generate a document has completed successfully and the following is returned. These details could then be used for subsequent actions in the workflow for example to grab the file and then email it to a user or move it to a location based on a value.
The generated document then appears in the library.
The personalised document is then displayed with the details for PnP Parker we specified.
I was very excited when Microsoft announced that Content Assembly was coming to SharePoint Syntex and could see where this would be very useful for customers to generate documents. Content assembly was a missing piece in the document lifecycle that third party tools then had to be used to generate personalised documents. Up until now SharePoint Syntex Content Assembly to generate a single document has been a manual one-time process where each document needs to be generated seperately and also manually by clicking on the New menu in a library.
Again as this new action has been released in preview the action could all change and it looks like there is no ability yet to create documents in pdf format but that will hopefully come soon. So third party pdf conversion services/sending files to OneDrive for conversion may still be needed in the interim.
Overall I am very happy with this new Power Automate/Logic Apps action for automating content assembly and it’s something my customers have been waiting for! I cannot wait to start using this with customers to automate lots of document generation/process stories! Hopefully the APIs will also not be too far behind – so code can also take advantage of the Syntex content assembly (document generation) engine and bulk create documentation without a workflow tool.