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Populate a Word or PDF Document using Power Automate

A common use case for Power Automate is to create new Word documents populating them with data upon creation.

The Microsoft Word Online (Business) premium connector allows you to do exactly this! You can create a word template which contains controls which the connector can use to dynamically insert data upon creation, cool!

However, this approach doesn’t really work for documents which already exist or where you have a document where you need to populate with data as part of a process, and what happens where you need to amend PDF document? Well, we have you covered with the following actions:

We’re not going to cover how to use the Fill a PDF Form action in this post, but we will be releasing a post shortly covering this.

The Search and Replace Text and Replace Text with Image actions search the contents of either a Word or PDF document and replace targeted phrases with the supplied text or an image. You can also use regex expressions to execute complex find and replace operations.

For example; you could search a document for [APPROVALDATE] and replace with 15th May 2020.

In short; these actions can be used as an alternative to the Microsoft Word Online (Business) premium connector, you just add text placeholders into your document as opposed to a control (much simpler) with the added benefit that the Encodian action can replace data in a document at any time, not just upon creation!

Populate a Word Document using Search and Replace

To demonstrate the capabilities of these actions, we’ve created a very simple Flow snapshot for your review.

The example is based upon this simple employee review document; we’ll replace the following highlighted field initially:

1. Within your Flow, obtain the Word document using a ‘Get File Content‘ action appropriate to where the document is stored – this example uses the SharePoint action.

2. Add the Encodian ‘Search and Replace Text‘ action

2.a. File Type: Select ‘DOCX

2.b Filename: Enter the filename either manually or using dynamic data

2.c File Content: Select the ‘File Content‘ property from the relevant action used in step #1

2.d. Phrases Search Text – 1: Enter [FULLNAME]

2.e. Phrases Is Expression – 1: Select ‘No

For Phrases Is Expression – 1; If you select ‘Yes‘ the ‘ Phrases Search Text – 1‘ will be treated as a regular expression

2.f. Phrases Replacement Text – 1: Enter either a value from dynamic data or manually type

2.g. For the remaining fields simply remove the default values as required to allow the styles of the document to be inherited.

The Encodian ‘Search and Replace Text‘ action will return the Word document with the required changes applied. You then need to add actions to perform your designated steps with the updated file. For this example, we’ll use the SharePoint ‘Create file‘ action to add the updated file to SharePoint

3. Add a SharePoint ‘Create file‘ action

3.a. Site Address: Set to the value of the SharePoint site which contains the target document library

3.b. Folder Path: Set to the value of the target SharePoint folder

3.c. File Name: Select the ‘Documents Filename‘ property from the ‘Search and Replace Text‘ Encodian action

3.d. File Content: Select the ‘Documents File Content‘ property from the ‘Search and Replace Text ‘ Encodian action

Upon executing the Flow you should see the new values within your document:

Populating multiple values in a Document (Word / PDF)

Our Flow is currently replacing a single value, we’re now going to extend the Flow to replace multiple values. The Encodian ‘Search and Replace Text‘ action allows multiple search and replace configurations to be added to a single action:

4. Select the Encodian ‘Search and Replace Text‘ action, click ‘Add new item

5. Configure the configuration item as required (see step #2 for guidance).

Re-run the flow and the document should reflect all of the search and replace configuration items provided

Populating an image in a Document (Word / PDF)

Our final task for this example is to replace the signature placeholder with a signature image

6. Directly after the Encodian ‘Search and Replace Text‘ action; add an Encodian Replace Text with Image action.

6.a. File Type: Select ‘DOCX

6.b. Filename: Select the ‘Documents Filename‘ property from the ‘Search and Replace Text‘ Encodian action

6.c. File Content: Select the ‘Documents File Content‘ property from the ‘Search and Replace Text ‘ Encodian action

6.d. Search Text: Enter [SIGNATURE]

The Encodian ‘Search and Replace Text‘ action requires an image file be passed to the action. Use any Power Automate ‘Get file content’ type action to obtain the required image file.

6.e. Image Filename: Either enter manually or provide via dynamic data

6.f. Image File Content: Select the ‘File Content‘ property from the relevant action used

If you need to resize the image, compress the image or change image file format please review the following Encodian actions: Resize and Image, Compress an Image and Convert Image Format

7. Make sure to update your following actions (Create file in this example) to utilise the ‘File Contents‘ property from the Encodian Replace Text with Image action

The document should now contain your text data and the image!

Finally…

We hope this post provides useful guidance on how to use Encodian actions to populate Word and PDF documents. If you’re struggling please raise a ticket with our support team who’ll be delighted to help

… and please share any feedback or comments – all are welcome 🙂

3 Comments

  1. Really useful tips, as always. Interested to see how this works in testing, as we are looking at alternate ways to move away from traditional edit and sign, HR docs, at least as an example

  2. useful tip, but i am unable to execute the flow, can you please help.

    • Jay Gooodison Jay Gooodison

      Hi Vinnie,
      Please submit a request to our support team who’ll be able to help.
      Kind regards
      Jay

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