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Everything You Wanted To Know About Salesforce Lightning Flow

Have you recently paid a bill, bought a movie ticket, or made changes to a restaurant reservation online? At their core, these app-related experiences are a process or a series of steps guided by a sequential flow that lets you walk through an activity based on your answers or selections.

In today’s era of Industry 5.0 empowered by experiential learning and knowledge, digital channels are the primary drivers of process-based app experiences than ever before. And today, customers, vendors, and employees expect their experiences to be personalized, connected, and seamless. 

There is no denying the fact that meeting these and similar expectations is a tedious task in itself. It generally requires building complex logic, integrating siloed data, and designing beautiful UIs, and thereafter these experiences should get embedded in every touchpoint. Undeniably, the path ahead is time-consuming, challenging, and requires lots of code and expertise. 

Usually, enterprises end up managing customer engagement manually or through disconnected, ad-hoc systems. The results? Irrelevant, ambiguous, and frustrating experiences for the customers, and exorbitant delays and lost opportunities. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

Introducing Lightning Flow

This is where Salesforce Lightning Flow changes the game hands down! It is an out-of-the-box Lightning Platform service that empowers enterprises to effortlessly create and extend the potential of process automation to any employee or customer experience.

Before we get started with the benefits of Lightning Flow, let us understand the meaning of Lightning Flow so that all of us are on the same level of understanding.

What Is Lightning Flow?

Lightning Flow can be described as a tool that lets you automate business processes by building apps known as Flows. A Flow can be used for collecting, creating, updating, and deleting information in Salesforce. Flows can also be used for interacting with Salesforce database, executing logic, calling Apex classes, and guiding users through screens for the purpose of collecting and updating data.

One of the biggest advantages of Lightning Flow is the fact that it helps in the delivery of new, innovative ways for enterprises to harness and leverage the advantages of process automation by applying the power of drag-and-drop, low-code functionalities to customer engagement. This means digitized business workflows, improved team productivity, and reduced wait time for customers. Now, you can declaratively build and embed component-based processes, Lightning fast.

Several innovations that are native to the state-of-the-art Lightning Platform are brought by Lightning Flow, including:

  1. Process-Driven Apps. Embed the processes of Lightning Flow into every employee and customer app experience using Community Builder and Lightning App Builder.
  2. Lightning Flow Components. Leverage reusable Lightning components for designing guided, visual processes and rich flow screens.
  3. Integrated Processes. Coordinate third party services and workflows with External Services, Local Actions, and Platform Events.

Let us now read about the building blocks of Flows

Building Blocks Of Flows

  1. Each element (1) signifies an action that can be executed by the flow. For instance, writing or reading Salesforce data, executing logic, manipulating data, or displaying information to and collecting data from flow users.
  2. Each connector (2) describes an available path that the dlow can take at the run time.
  3. Each resource (3) signifies a value that can be referenced throughout the flow.

Now that we have gained an understanding about the building blocks of Flows, let us move our focus to the different types of  Flows.

Flow Types

A flow or the type of flow version determines which resources and elements are supported and the ways through which the flow can be distributed.

Standard Flow Types

The following types of flows are supported in Flow Builder:

S.No Description Type Available Distribution Methods Supported In Translation Workbench
Screen Flow
Necessitates user interaction as it involves steps, local actions, screens, choices, or dynamic choices. Pause elements are not supported by screen flows.
Lightning Pages; Custom Lightning web components; Lightning community pages; Lightning pages; Custom Aura components; Web tabs; Lightning Out; Visualforce pages; Embedded service deployments; Custom links or custom buttons
Autolaunched Flow with No Flow Trigger
User interaction is not required. It does not support local actions, choices, choice sets, and screens.
Processes; REST APIs; Custom links or custom buttons; Web tabs; Visualforce pages; Custom Apex classes
Autolaunched Flow with a Schedule Trigger
Runs only from a schedule. It does not support local actions, user interaction, choices, choice sets, and screens.
A flow triggered by a schedule runs only at the scheduled frequency and time.
Autolaunched Flow with a Record Trigger
Supports only Decision, Loop, Get Records, and Assignment. Makes before-save updates to the altered or new record that launches the flow.
A flow triggered by record runs only when a record is updated or created.
User Provisioning Flow
Provisions users for third party services.
A user provisioning flow can be implemented only by linking it with a connected app while running the User Provisioning Wizard.
Field Service Mobile Flow
Necessitates user interaction as it has one or multiple screens.
Field Service Lightning mobile app
Field Service Embedded Flow
Necessitates user interaction as it has one or multiple screens.
Embedded Appointment Booking
Contact Request Flow
Necessitates user interaction as it has one or multiple screens.
Lightning community pages

In order to get a clear understanding about Salesforce Lightning Flow, here are the differences between Lightning Flow and Process Builder.

Lightning Flow vs Process Builder

Lightning Flow and Process Builder have their own cases, i.e., each of these tools is better suited for solving a certain form of problem or requirement.

Let us now discuss the differences between the two to gain a complete and better understanding.

S. N Process Builder Lightning Flow
Cannot be used for deleting records.
Can be used for deleting records.
Cannot be triggered after a successful login.
Can be triggered after a successful login.
Can be triggered when a record is edited or created.
Can be triggered when a record is edited, created, or deleted.
Not all objects are compatible with Lightning Process Builder.
A big majority of objects are accessible with Lightning Flow.
Cannot be used for capturing user input(s).
Can be used for capturing user input(s).

Before we come to the conclusion, let us have an eye on the recent Winter’20 release notes in the context of Lightning Flow.

Winter’20 Release Notes

The Winter’20 release notes brought cheers to many developers by bringing in new features, including scheduling Autolaunched Flows, Flow list views, and Drag & Drop Builder.

Now, it is possible to schedule Flows to run on a schedule. It applies to “Autolaunched” flows (i.e. flows without the presence of screens). You can simply double click on the Start element for setting the schedule.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Salesforce Lightning Flow

You can also add a record query. The Flow will run the query at the scheduled time and then run the Flow for each returned period to provide a new batch mode capability.

Conditional Field Visibility

On the screen, the fields can now appear and disappear as a result of some other value or field.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Salesforce Lightning Flow

This gets controlled through this new section in the field property editors.


Automatic Output Handling

In the early stages of a multi-release campaign, the Automation group at Salesforce is intended to streamline the process of creating flows. One of the biggest advantages of Automatic Output Handling is the ability to stimulate a change to the Get Records element. Flow requires you to define a variable of the same type (when you query for a record or collection of records) for temporarily storing the information.


Thereafter, you can make use of the storage variable while referring to the queried records in a downstream element.

We hope that this information on Salesforce Lightning Flow was helpful to you in more than just a way.

With Winter’20 on our side, we no longer have to perform this task as the streamlined Get Records appear like:

The automatically generated references for Get Records queries appear like:

The automatically generated references for Screen Components appear like:


The ease of creating flows make it an amazing tool when it comes to sophisticated business requirements.

Undoubtedly, the use cases for Flows are endless. Flow is the best thing that admins can learn to level up their skill sets. It also helps them get invaluable insights on the capabilities of Salesforce as an out-of-the-box platform.

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