The section explains general operations performed by RPA Recorder, such as creating, editing, and publishing of recordings. Descriptions illustrate how to use a typical robotic automation workflow.
Level of experience required
- Basic knowledge of macro recording in Word and Excel
- Understanding of simple algorithmization concepts, e.g., loops, variables, conditions
Starting RPA Recorder
To start RPA Recorder, open WorkFusion tray menu and select WorkFusion Studio.
On opening WorkFusion Studio, the RPA Express Recorder main window appears.
Step 1: Recording Process
- To start recording your workflow, click the red button (or press CTRL + 6).
- Enter a file name for the recording and click OK.
In the bottom-right corner, the recorder panel with a running timer appears.
- Perform your workflow actions in a natural way. Remember to follow our recommendations.
- If needed, pause and resume the recording by clicking the appropriate buttons.
- On having finished the recording process, click the Stop button (CTRL + ALT + S), or close the RPA Recorder window . As a result, all the steps are displayed in the Actions Flow panel.
Recording Process Recommendations
- Do not be fast during recording process, take small pauses after each action.
- The Mouse Move event (hover) will be recorded after the cursor is not moving for 1 s and more. This can be used to automate navigation through dynamic menus that are collapsed on hovering.
- If one mouse action is located near another (two buttons close to each other), after clicking the first button, move cursor aside and then click the second button.
- Do not perform unnecessary mouse moves, clicks, and scrolls.
- Use keyboard hotkeys where possible.
Step 2: Playing Recording
After finishing the recording, test it and play the recorded flow.
- Click the Play recording button.
The progress bar indicating the bot process, together with the number of executed steps and overall status, appears.
- Pause, resume, or stop the execution, if needed.
- If a step cannot be executed, the progress bar turns red with the Error occurred message and the step number (#3 on the screenshot) shown.
To fix the recording, you have to edit the failed step. See the Editing section for more information.
- After the bot execution is finished or stopped, each step result status is shown in the Actions Flow panel.
You can record your workflow in chunks by appending each new recording to the existing file.
- Create a new recording.
- Perform the required actions.
- Stop the recording.
- (Optionally) Test the recorded chunk by playing it and fixing steps, if needed.
Click the Insert Recording button.
- Repeat steps 2 - 5 as many times as needed.
Playing from Current Step
When creating complex automation flows, it may be useful to run bot execution not from the beginning but from the current step and thus save time and effort.
- Select some action in Actions Flow.
- Click the arrow next to the Play recording button to open the drop-down menu.
- Press Play from current step.
When testing various actions, it might be useful to temporary disable some steps, excluding them from the execution flow though not completely deleting.
To disable a step, uncheck the respective checkbox in the Active column – the step gets grayed out. To enable a step, check the respective checkbox again.
Viewing Recorder Variables Log
When the playback is finished, you can check the recorder variables values. See Recorder Variables Log for more information.
There are cases when you have downloaded a sample recording from WorkFusion Forum or Knowledge Base. To play it, you should add it to your Media Files first. To do this, follow the steps below.
- Unzip a sample.
- Copy unzipped files into your workspace folder (by default C:\Users\%USER_NAME%\workfusion-workspace\rpae_project).
- Go to File and select Refresh (or press F5).
On finishing these actions, you should see a new project (.rpae file) in your Media Files.
Step 3: Editing Recording
Working with Images
Recorder uses surface-based (image-based) and object automation approaches
The image-based approach refers to the bot capturing images of active elements while recording and trying to find the same images and click (hover, drag, scroll) on them during script execution.
In some cases, the screenshots taken by the bot can be too large or small, not unique, or can have some unnecessary elements, e.g., tooltips, pop-up windows from other applications, etc.
|Bad screenshot example|
The situation can be easily solved by capturing a new image manually, or by editing image offsets.
Capturing New Images
Click Capture new image under the action screenshot.
A countdown in the bottom-right corner allows you to get prepared for the screen capturing. Meanwhile, you can switch to another app, open menu items, etc.
Before capturing actually starts, an overlay with the help text appears.
- Select the required region by dragging.
Finally, the captured screenshot is applied to the active action.
The delay before screen capturing can be set in Window > Preferences > WorkFusion Studio > RPA Recorder > Image.
Editing Image Offsets
By default, robot clicks (hovers, scrolls, drags) directly into the center of the captured image. You can set the cross-hair to a custom place by clicking the image.
A pop-up dialog with 100% zoom on image is shown. Here, you have an option to set the offsets
- by clicking on the image – crosshair will be moved to this position, or
- by editing the Offset X and Offset Y fields.
Choosing Another Image
You can choose any image located in the project folder for the active action.
- Select Target > Image and click Choose existing.
- Choose an image in the list and click OK.
The image can be copied from any folder on your machine using drag'n'drop or copy-paste.
Setting Action Delays
In automation workflows, most actions are executed quite quickly, but some actions require a pause before their execution, e.g., page loading, document saving, opening new applications, etc.
To set action delays, proceed as follows.
- Click the Advanced link.
Set a delay type.
Wait up to XX ms – Bot will retry executing the action during specified timeout if the action has been failed. As soon as the action is successfully executed, Bot proceeds to the next one.
Polling interval XX ms – interval between retries.
- Wait XX ms before performing this action – delay before action execution. No retries are done if the action fails.
It is preferred to use retries rather than delays before action.
You can use variables to store initial or run-time values that need to be entered from keyboard or copied to clipboard.
See Recorder Variables for more information.
All variables need to be defined in the Recorder Variables table and can be used in actions' parameters.
As the workflow completes, the variables, which values have been changed during the execution, are reset to their defaults.
Loops can be used:
- to repeat a sequence of actions until some condition is met (While, Retry) or a defined number of times (Repeat)
- to iterate through lists and tables (For Each)
Loops can also contain other actions (clicks, drags, keystrokes) as their children.
To read more, go to Loops.
Step 4: Publishing Recording to Control Tower
When the robotics automation is tested and appears to run smoothly, you can publish it to Control Tower.
- Click the Publish to Control Tower button.
- Enter Business Process Step Name.
- Click the Finish button.
The exported recording is automatically packed into a bot step of a business process and is opened in Control Tower.
Afterwards, you can run this process and watch its execution on your local machine.
Step 5: Importing Recording from Control Tower
RPA Express enables you to import recordings from Control Tower.
- Right-click an appropriate bot step and select Edit in WF Studio.
A prompt window with the URL for import opens.
- To copy the URL, click Copy to clipboard.
- Launch WorkFusion Studio.
- On the Media Files tab, right-click the project folder you import the task to and select Import.
- In the Import dialog, select WorkFusion > Bot Task and click Next.
- Paste the link you copied earlier into the Specify link to the Bot Task field and click Next.
- Enter your credentials and click Finish.
Finally, the recording is shown with Actions Flow opened.