How do you keep track of Microsoft Docs page updates?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could be notified when your favourite Microsoft Docs pages are updated rather than having to go to Microsoft Docs pages daily or relying on social media?
Read on and I will explain how you can create an RSS feed from Microsoft Search results to create a task in Microsoft To Do every time one of your favourite Microsoft Docs pages is updated.
Step 1 – Decide which area of Microsoft Docs you are interested in.
RSS feeds are created from Microsoft Search, so it is important to focus your search. The Microsoft Docs database is extensive, covering technical documentation, Microsoft Learn, Q&A, code samples, shows, and events from across all of Microsoft’s products. Searching in the right area is crucial to ensure the correct results are returned.
On the Microsoft Docs home page select the product area you wish to search. If you wish to track pages across a variety of product areas, you will need to perform multiple searches.
In this scenario, I am interested in tracking changes to pages related to Microsoft Teams, so I select Microsoft Teams.
Now my search is limited to Microsoft Teams documents within Microsoft Docs.
Step 2 – Create your RSS feeds
The Microsoft Docs search will create the RSS feed necessary to keep track of page updates. By subscribing to this RSS feed, you will be informed when any of the pages in the search results have been updated.
For this reason, it is important to create a search that only returns pages that you want to track. Therefore it may be necessary to create several searches to track all your pages.
As an example, if I wanted to create an RSS feed for changes related to Teams meetings, I can search for the words Teams meetings.
However this would return a lot of results as it is looking for each word independently.
Because of the large number of results I need to use advanced search criteria (shown below) to reduce the number of results.
|+||Finds webpages that contain all the terms that are preceded by the + symbol. Also allows you to include terms that are usually ignored.|
|” “||Finds the exact words in a phrase.|
|()||Finds or excludes webpages that contain a group of words.|
|AND or &||Finds webpages that contain all the terms or phrases.|
|NOT or –||Excludes webpages that contain a term or phrase.|
|OR or |||Finds webpages that contain either of the terms or phrases.|
Firstly I recommend using the exact words in a phrase (double quotes)
This still returns over 100 results. This is OK if you want to track all pages related to Microsoft Teams meetings.
For best results, you may need to refine your search further. For example focus on Teams meetings policies. Which returns 18 results.
"Manage meetings policies"
In order to track a specific page, you should use the full title shown in the search results as your search criteria. For example the page Microsoft Teams content updates is called Microsoft Teams content updates – Microsoft Teams in the search results. So search for the full name.
"Microsoft Teams content updates - Microsoft Teams"
When your search has returned the specific pages you want to track, scroll to the bottom of the search results and click on the RSS feed icon to display the RSS feed URL. Copy the URL and save it.
This is your RSS feed that you will use in the next step when you build your Power Automate flow.
For example the search:
"Manage meetings policies"
Will create the following RSS feed URL.
Step 3 – Build your Power Automate flow to create a To-Do Task each time there is an RSS notification
Finally, build your Power Automate flow to create a new Microsoft To-Do Task every time your favourite Microsoft Docs page is updated.
From Power Automate create an Automated Cloud Flow and select RSS: When a feed item is published as the trigger.
Paste in the search result RSS feed URL. Note this the same as the URL of the web page. It should look like the example below which is the RSS feed for the search for all Microsoft Teams related pages.
Add an Action Add a To-Do (V3) (This will create the new To-Do Task)
- To-do list = Tasks (Creates task in your personal To-Do list)
- Title = Include the Feed Title and the Feed Published date. I also like to include hashtag such as #MSFTDOCS so I can quickly filter my tasks
- Body Content = Feed summary and Primary feed link (links to the updated web page)
If one of the Microsoft Docs pages in your RSS feed is published then the flow is triggered, and a new To-Do task will be created in your Task list.
By including a specific hashtag you can easily search for all tasks created by your RSS feed.
Testing your flow
Flows triggered by an RSS feed can’t be tested. You need to wait until one of the tracked pages changes, so your flow may take several days to trigger.
The best way to test your RSS feed is to create a manually triggered Instant flow. With this flow you can list RSS feed items for a specific period, for example the last week, the last month, etc. This should return some results so you can test that the feed URL works as expected and a task is created. An example Instant trigger flow is shown below.
Alternative RSS notifications
In addition to creating To-Do tasks, you can also set up RSS feeds in:
- Outlook. See Subscribe to an RSS Feed (microsoft.com) for details on how to set this up.
- Microsoft Teams channel . See Add or remove app notifications in a channel (Connectors) (microsoft.com) for details on how to set this up.
- Use a Power Automate RSS template to post a notification to your favourite Microsoft or third party app. See RSS | Microsoft Power Automate for details on how to set this up.
Example RSS feed in Outlook.
The RSS notification in Outlook shows:
- Microsoft Docs page title
- Date when page was updated
- First lines of the page
- The View article link opens the Microsoft Docs page.
Example RSS feed in a Teams channel
The RSS notification in Teams is slightly different. It shows:
- Microsoft Docs page title. Links to the Microsoft Docs page
- First lines of the page
Using RSS with Power Automate
There are multiple predesigned Power Automate templates that can be triggered by an RSS feed.
For example, you can use Power Automate templates to send your RSS notifications to Microsoft Teams or Outlook, or even to 3rd party applications.
In addition, you can use Power Automate templates to send your RSS notifications to Excel spreadsheet, or a SharePoint list, or to other 3rd party applications.
By completing these three steps you can create an RSS feed to monitor any Microsoft Docs page(s). You just need to decide what pages you want to track.