Power Virtual Agents empowers anybody to easily create powerful chatbots for an endless variety of purposes. With its novel, intuitive, code-free graphical interface, there is no need to utilize professional developers to create the bots.

With Power Virtual Agents, organizations have created customer support chatbots, sales chatbots, and much more. In addition to creating chatbots for customers, you can use Power Virtual Agents to empower your team by creating internal chatbots, such as onboarding bots and HR bots.

This guide will take you through the process of creating, testing, and publishing your first Power Virtual Agents chatbot. In this example we will be walking through the first steps of creating an HR Chatbot, but you can use the steps identified in this guide to create any kind of chatbot.

To begin, navigate to the Power Virtual Agents app and log in with your work email address. You will need to have access to a Power Virtual Agents license. However, if you do not have a license, you can try out Power Virtual Agents for free.

Next, choose a name for your bot, select a language, and specify the Power Apps environment.

Create a new Power Virtual Agents bot screen

Then, select “Create.” Your first bot will take about 10-15 minutes to process.

Once your bot has finished processing; you can now create your first topic. A topic is a dialog tree that determines how your bot will respond to a user’s inquiry.

Begin by selecting Topics on the sidebar and Selecting “New Topic”.

Topic creation pane in Power Virtual Agents

Next, name your topic and create some trigger phrases for the topic. Trigger phrases are examples of potential questions or phrases that users may say. This teaches the bot different ways that users may communicate with it.

In this instance, we will create a topic called “Bot Greeting” and add the phrases “Hi!” “Hello” and “Hello HR Bot” as the trigger phrases.

Power Virtual Agents trigger phrases

Select “Save Topic”.

Next, select “Go to authoring canvas.” This is the editor that will allow you to define and customize bot responses and actions.

Power Virtual Agents go to authoring canvas

Type the message that you want the bot to respond to the trigger phrase with. In this example, we will be using the message “Hello! I am ready to assist you.”

Power Virtual Agents Topic Trigger Phrase Response Authoring Canvas

From here, select the “+” below the node. You can begin to customize how your bot behaves in many ways. We will prompt the bot to ask a follow-up question. Select the “Ask a question” option and choose “Multiple choice options”. In this example, we will add the two options “Request time-off” and “Review benefits.”

Power Virtual Agents ask a question bot response.

The authoring canvas will automatically create paths in the conversation depending on which option the user selects. Click the “+” below each of the Condition nodes to add a node in response to each selection. For the purposes of this demonstration, we will follow the “Request time-off” condition.

Add the node “Ask a question”, and type the question “What day would you like to take off?” In the “Identify” selection box, select “Date and time.”

Power Virtual Agents identify date and time

Next, select the “+” again and choose “Send a message” to enter the bot’s response when the user types a date. Type, “Okay! I will send a request to your supervisor for approval.”

Finally, you can add a “Call an action” node that triggers a Power Automate flow to notify the user’s supervisor of the time-off request. You will need to create this flow separately. For information on this process, check out our simple tutorial on how to create a Power Automate flow.

Power Virtual Agents and Power Automate pairing

Select “Save.”

You have created a simple dialogue tree! As you experiment more, you can begin to create more complex and branching dialogue trees by adding different entities, variables, and flows.

Let’s make sure that your bot is running as intended. Select the “Test your bot” button at the bottom of the sidebar.

Power Virtual Agents Test Bot Sidebar

From here, you can try out the dialog tree that you created by typing in the test bot window. Enter one of the trigger phrases that you created in the beginning and follow the prompts as intended.

Power Virtual Agents Bot Test

If you want to make edits while testing the bot, turn on “Track between topics” to open the authoring canvas alongside the test conversation to see the details of the conversation and make quick changes.

Once you have built the bot to your satisfaction, you can publish your bot. Select “Publish” on the sidebar and then select the “Publish” button.

Once your Publish request has been processed, you can add the bot to various channels and locations. Select “Manage” and “Channels” on the sidebar to pull up a list of potential channels.

Power Virtual Agents Channels

Try adding your HR chatbot to Microsoft Teams, embedding it to a page on your website, or even adding it to your employee portal’s mobile app!


You have created and published your first chatbot! This was a basic tutorial— try experimenting with more advanced functions with your chatbot to further empower your employees and customers.

At Apex Digital Solutions, we are Modern Workplace experts. Our Ready for Microsoft 365  service offering will empower your organization be more secure, productive, and engaged with Microsoft solutions. Contact us at hello@apexdigital.com to get started with driving successful change in your organization.

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