The Top 10 Things You Want to Know About the New Flow Builder

1. It’s faster and more intuitive

Flow Builder has a brand new user interface that is similar to Lightning App Builder and Process Builder, so if you’re familiar with those tools you’ll feel right at home here. Clean lines and intuitive shapes make it easy to navigate around your flows, and the streamlined toolbox makes it easier to find the element or resource you’re looking for. On top of that, Flow Builder is built with Salesforce’s latest front-end technologies for fast performance – say goodbye to kludgy old Flash!

A complex flow in Flow Builder

2. Some things have been renamed

If you’re an old-school Flownatic, you might have noticed that some things have been renamed or moved around in Flow Builder. For example, the sObject data type is now a Record data type; and static, local and quick actions can all now be found under the Core Action element. As part of the streamlined toolbox, we replaced the Fast Lookup and Record Lookup elements with Get Records, and the other Data elements have received a similar treatment. For a full list of differences, see the Flow Builder vs. Cloud Flow Designer document in Salesforce Help.

3. We couldn’t get to these old Cloud Flow Designer features, but we expect to deliver them in Summer ’19

We know that undo/redo, copy and paste, and the ability to find elements and resources in the canvas are important to you. We’re working hard on these features and expect to release them in Summer ’19. (As always, please make purchasing decisions based on current functionality and not this forward-looking statement!) We just ran out of time to get features into Spring ’19 and decided it was better to release Flow Builder with all the goodness it does have, than to wait another release.

4. You can continue to use Cloud Flow Designer side-by-side with Flow Builder

Starting with Spring ’19, Flow Builder is the default experience when creating new flows and opening existing flows. If you need to use Cloud Flow Designer – perhaps because a feature you need isn’t yet available in Flow Builder – you can re-enable it: in Setup, go to the Process Automation Settings page and deselect the Disable access to Cloud Flow Designer option. With this deselected, flow versions that were saved in Cloud Flow Designer will open in Cloud Flow Designer, and versions that were saved in Flow Builder will open in Flow Builder.

If you have a flow that you saved in Flow Builder and you decide you really need to go back to Cloud Flow Designer, there’s an unofficial solution for that too: see Converting a Flow Builder Flow Version Back to Cloud Flow Designer.

5. Pan the canvas using Space+Click

To pan the canvas, you can press and hold down the Space key, then click anywhere in the canvas and drag.

Animation showing how to toggle pan mode with the space+click combination.

6. Select multiple elements using Shift+Click

We’re working on marquee selection (clicking and dragging to select multiple elements) for a near-term release. Until then, to select multiple elements on the canvas, press and hold down the Shift key, then click on each element you want to add to the selection. Then click on any selected element to move the entire selection.

Animation showing how to select multiple elements to move them.

7. Make a variable a collection variable with a single click

To turn a variable of any data type into a collection variable, select the Allow multiple values (collection) checkbox next to the Data Type field.

The New Resource modal with the Allow multiple values (collection) checkbox selected

8. There are new Lightning Components available out of the box

We added the ability to use Lightning components in flows in Winter ’19, and actually included a number of out-of-the-box components then, like Dependent Picklists, Phone, Email, and Name – but since they were hidden under Extensions in Cloud Flow Designer, you might have missed them. Flow Builder elevates these components to first-class screen components, and with Spring ’19 we have two new components: Address and Display Image.

Remember, when you’re using Lightning components with input fields in them (like Name) you’ll need to specify a variable for the field in the Store Output Values section in the component properties in order to use the field’s value elsewhere in the flow. (This is different from the way screen components like Text work, where the screen component can be used directly as a resource.)

9. New Trailhead content is live!

All of the Trailhead modules and projects that previously referred to Cloud Flow Designer have been rewritten with instructions on how to use Flow Builder. If you’ve previously completed these modules and projects, maybe you’d like a refresher! Otherwise, hold tight until March – brand new flow content will be coming your way soon.

10. There are 2 hours of fresh video tutorials that you can watch

All the Trailhead content related to flows is now up to date with the latest on Flow Builder. In addition, Alex Edelstein ‘s Get Started with the New Flow Builder post on the Salesforce Admins blog has two hours of video tutorial content to help both new and old school flow users get up to speed. From sending an email to building a screen to working with multiple records, these tutorials have you covered!

3 replies
  1. Marc Bourlon
    Marc Bourlon says:

    Hi there. Flow Buider is a much welcome, and huge improvement over the outdated Flash version, congratulations.
    Here are some tiny suggestions to make it even better, devil being in the details:
    – in many apps, sliding two fingers moves the canvas (what is done with space+click here, like in Photoshop): because of that, on Mac OS, two finger slide left from right is the browser shortcut to “back”… and boom, you just lost your work because the browser went to the previous page, without notice, without alert, without realtime saving in the background!! Quick solution: please alert “Are you sure you want to leave the page without saving your changes?”. Better solution: save changes as they come in the background in a draft, and allow to restart from the draft
    – when you click “Back”, instead of coming back to the Flow page, you are brought back to the list of Flows page. The Flash version was properly keeping track of which page you had hit “Open” from, and was bringing you back there.
    – would be nice to be able to activate the Flow you are working on, instead of leaving, activating… that’s a waste of time and productivity, especially when you try many things
    – on large flows, and this comes faster than you think, dragging a connection does not scroll the canvas. You have to unzoom, and drag again. But what if, even unzoomed, the nodes you want to link are more than a screen apart? Please scroll the canvas while dragging the mouse close to the edge of the screen when drawing a connection. And do it smoothly and smartly, not brutally so that you’re lost! 😉
    As said, that’s tiny usability details.

    Reply
  2. Liron Cohen
    Liron Cohen says:

    Thanks for the update!
    This is really huge improvement for the old UI. +The new elements names + their grouping is much better.

    If you considering the next improvements, I lookup field inside flow screen will be very useful for many customers. It can be done with LX component or app exchange, but seems like basic functionality that should be built in.

    Reply
    • Shannon Hale
      Shannon Hale says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Liron. A lookup component is on my list for a near-term release (not for Summer ’19, but within the next few). Safe harbour, of course.

      Reply

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