What's New in Appian RPA
This content applies solely to Appian RPA, which must be purchased separately from the Appian base platform.

This page describes what's available in this release of Appian RPA. Some capabilities may not be available if you're using an older version of the Appian platform.

Version 9.1 (Release date: 12 May 2023)

Use RPA to customize spreadsheets with macros and formatting

The Excel: License Required module now comes with the ability to automate Microsoft Excel tasks using predefined macros stored in Excel workbooks. Macros are a great way for you to extend Excel’s capabilities and expand what you can do with RPA. For example, if a function isn't supported, you can create a macro in Excel to perform the task instead. By executing predefined macros, Appian RPA enables you to standardize your processes and manage more data in less time with higher accuracy.

It’s now possible to work with formatted templates and format files with minimal manual effort. Using the new Format cells low-code action, you can use RPA to tailor your spreadsheets to your exact needs and preferences by merging cells and customizing the format of your cells, including alignment and color.

New RPA actions for browser alerts, navigation, and data retrieval

We added some new low-code actions to the Browser module that make it easier to automate some of the most common interactions you have with a browser. If your robotic task is designed to perform tasks in a browser like clicking buttons or entering data into forms, a browser alert may interrupt the robot and prevent it from completing its task. Now, you can set up your robotic task to identify whether there is a browser alert and interact with the alert if one is discovered, preventing unexpected errors that require manual intervention.

In previous RPA versions, robotic tasks could not switch to tabs that did not have titles. With this update, this isn’t an issue. We've introduced a new action that allows you to use a URL to switch to a specific tab in the active browser or a different browser.

Additionally, we’ve added the ability for you to retrieve data out of an HTML formatted table, making it easy to extract information from large tables and tables that span multiple pages. The data you retrieve can then be used in Appian or written into other applications like Excel.

Version 9.0 (Release date: 31 March 2023)

Introducing RPA low-code Microsoft Excel actions

We're excited to announce the release of two low-code Excel modules, which make it easier to handle Microsoft Excel files. The modules are called Excel: License Not Required and Excel: License Required. In addition to the existing Excel capabilities available in Appian, you can now use Appian RPA to read from, write to, and manipulate your Excel files.

These new low-code actions improve productivity and streamline processes that interact with Excel. Learn more about the many ways to use Excel with Appian, based on your goals.

You don’t need a licensed version of Excel on your host machine to use these Excel: License Not Required actions:

  • Open or Create Workbook
  • Close Workbook
  • Find Range End
  • Get Value
  • Get Worksheet Names
  • Save Workbook As
  • Select Worksheet
  • Write into Worksheet

The Excel: License Required module includes these same actions and provides additional actions for more advanced operations in Excel. You can't mix actions from both modules together in the same robotic task. If you need to complete more advanced actions in Excel and have a licensed version of Excel on your host machine, use the Excel: License Required actions instead. Be sure to check out the documentation for tips on how to properly use these low-code Excel actions.

RPA credentials encryption update

We upgraded the encryption level of RPA credentials from AES-128 to AES-256, making it even more secure than before. The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a widely recognized encryption algorithm that is used to protect sensitive information. This change further enhances the confidentiality and integrity of how credentials are encrypted and stored in the database.

Version 8.9 (Release date: 17 February 2023)

Terminology Updates

We made some changes to the terms we use in our RPA Console and RPA documentation to make things easier for everyone to understand. These terms are easier to understand because they're more common in the automation industry. Additionally, these terms more clearly indicate how and when to use RPA elements in your applications. This means you can learn about Appian RPA faster and new users can get started with Appian RPA more quickly.

You’ll notice that robotic processes are now called robotic tasks. As part of this change, robotic subprocesses are now called robotic subtasks. The way things work and what they mean has stayed the same.

We’ve also replaced the word resource with these two words: robot and host machine. This change separates the robot from its workspace which makes it easier to talk about these pieces separately. A robot is a digital worker that has two parts: a host machine and an agent. The host machine is a physical computer or a virtual machine on a cloud server where the robot does its tasks.

rpa-8.9-newterms-dashboard.png

Skip interactive logon screen with automatic sign-in

In the 8.7 release, we added the ability for Appian to sign in to your virtual machine (VM) on demand and automatically so it can execute a robotic task. With this release, Appian's automatic sign-in service can now bypass Windows interactive logon screens, enabling you to meet your automation needs without compromising security.

To do this, we added a checkbox called Skip interactive logon message to the configuration options. You can find the configuration options on the Robot detail page in the RPA console. When you mark the checkbox, Appian acknowledges and moves past the message when signing in to start a robotic task.

Version 8.8 (Release date: 20 January 2023)

Set up resources more quickly

Speed is top of mind in any automation practice. Not just in the design or execution of robotic processes, but also in the setup and configuration of your systems.

In this release, we've made it faster and simpler to set up your resources. After you create a resource in the RPA console and complete a few prerequisites, you'll download a bundle of the relevant installation files, such as the agent and automatic sign-in service. A guided wizard walks you through the installation process and takes care of the rest of the configurations in the background.

rpa-8.8-installer.png

You'll save time and effort by installing both items at once in the location of your choice. After just a few clicks, you're ready to start running robotic processes.

Version 8.7 (Release date: 9 December 2022)

Sign in automatically to run robotic processes

With this release, you can now allow Appian to sign in to your virtual machine (VM) on demand and automatically so it can execute a robotic process. This is an extension of the capability we first released in RPA 8.6.

If your business uses unattended automation, you may have been challenged to maintain a set of resources that remain available for when a robotic process needs to execute. On top of these scalability concerns, you may have had to consider the privileges associated with the account used to sign in to the resource.

This feature helps you address those challenges with ease. When you enable this option, Appian uses designated credentials to sign in to your resource and launch the agent as the designated user. Once the agent is online, the robotic process begins. And once it’s done and determines there’s no other work to do, Appian will sign out as well, keeping your resources secure and responsive to your automation needs.

rpa-8.7-auto-sign-in

View simple resource statuses

In a well-run automation practice, clear information is vital to quick action. If a resource isn’t available to run a robotic process, you need to know why and how to get it back to where you want it to be.

In this release, we’ve updated resource statuses with clarity and action in mind. Now, when you look at the list of RPA resources, you’ll see a clear indicator of what each resource is doing (or not doing).

Additionally, we’ve added helpful tooltips to explain statuses that you may not have encountered before. This way, you’ll know just what to do to resolve a status that’s not what you want it to be.

Open in Github Built: Tue, May 23, 2023 (06:12:33 PM)

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