How to Speed Up Repetitive Tasks in Office 365 with Test Automation

Maria Homann

Automation Expert

Every day, an array of tasks are performed in and between Microsoft Office 365 tools, such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. Many of these tasks should be tested. But they are often repetitive by nature and when performed manually over and over become not only tedious to perform, but also error-prone.

Oftentimes, these tests are good candidates for automation, and much time and effort can be saved when either part of the test or the entire test is automated.

To automate them isn’t necessarily difficult if the right tool is chosen, and the result to be expected is not only faster performance, but also higher accuracy. This will drive higher productivity, lower risk, and lower costs.

Examples of tests you can automate in Office 365 include testing that data is transferred correctly between applications, and integrating applications and databases.

To give an example of how the different applications can be automated, we’ll zoom in on one of the most widely used technologies within the Office package: Excel.

Example: Data-driven automation with Excel

Excel is used to store, manipulate and organize data in a wide range of business cases across almost all departments and industries. 

Because it is often used as a data source, many processes involve transferring data from Excel into another application, and vice versa. This should be tested to ensure that the data is transferred correctly. If performed manually, this task can be extremely time-consuming and subject to error.

Although analyzing data is a complex task, and for the most part one that requires human intelligence, transferring it is not, and is often performed better by a robot. When robots take over tedious tasks like these, people can spend their brain power on the more analytical tasks that require creative, critical thinking. 

When automating with data, it’s best practice to use Excel as a source rather than hardcoding the data into the test case. This is because data is often subject to change. If the data is coded into the automated test case, the code must be changed with every data change, and it therefore becomes impractical to maintain the test cases.

Using data in Excel as a source in automation is also called data-driven automation.

Tutorial: Drive automation with Excel data

To ease maintenance of data-driven automation, it pays off to use a no-code tool with a visual language that makes it easy to keep an overview of automation flows. 

Read: 9 reasons to use no-code automation tools

Choosing the right automation tool

When looking for a tool to do your data-driven automation, or any other type of Microsoft Office 365 automation, many resort to Microsoft’s own automation tool, Power Automate.

Power Automate allows you to set up simple automation flows via pre-built templates across Microsoft’s applications.

The tool does, however, have it’s limitations. Due to its pre-defined nature, it doesn’t allow you to fully customize automation flows, and it doesn’t integrate easily with external applications and technologies.

If you want to automate across technologies outside the Microsoft tool suite, you’ll want to opt for an alternative to Power Automate.

No-code automation for Microsoft Office 365

With Leapwork’s no-code automation platform, repetitive processes within Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other Microsoft Office 365 applications can be automated with ease.

Leapwork has a no-code UI that allows you to automate any Office 365 task without writing a single line of code. This means fewer bottlenecks as teams won't have to depend on developer resources to automate tests.

Watch the video below to see an example of a data-driven automation flow in Leapwork.

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