Microsoft today announced that it is creating Power Automated Desktop, an enterprise-level tool for creating automated desktop-centric workflows, available free of charge to all Windows 10 users. Power Automated Desktop is what Microsoft calls its “existing robotic process automation” solution but you can think of it as a macro recorder on steroids.
It comes with 370 pre-built actions that help you create streams across a variety of applications but its real strength is allowing you to create your own scripts to automate repetition and time-consuming tasks. The Power Automated Desktop originally launched last September. It based on Microsoft’s acquisition of Softomotive in early 2020, but Microsoft has since expanded Softomotive’s technology and deepened it into its own stack.
Users who want to try using Power Automated Desktop can now download it from Microsoft, but in the coming weeks it will become part of Microsoft’s Insider Builds for Windows 10 and eventually become a built-in part of Windows 10, going to all standard Windows Home versions. Until now, every user license for Power Automated Desktop gives you back at least $15 per month.
“Our goal was to move towards democratic development for everyone with the power platform,” Charles Lamanna, CVP of Microsoft’s Power Platform Engineering, told me. “And that, of course, means creating products that are accessible to anyone – and it’s not just about no-code / low-code, whether it’s creating applications with power applications or automating them with Power Automat. However, a big part of it is fair, how do you expand the imagination of a typical PC user to believe that they can be a developer?”
The move, Lamanna believes, reduces the friction of licensing and sends a message to Windows users that they too can create bots and perform automated tasks. “The way we designed it – and the experience we have, especially around recording skills like macro recorders – makes it so you don’t have to worry about loops or what I’m clicking on this app or it’s text box – you can just record and run it. “He said.