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Helper III
Helper III

Changing trigger details of complex flow breaks everything downstream. 'When email is received...'

I have a working flow. It's exceptionally long and complex and has 70 parallel branches for filing email attachments into an existing directory tree based on subject line syntax. The branches fork off after 20 steps for variable initialisation and string manipulation.

Point being, it's too complex to change.

What I'm struggling with now is that, as it's in production and I need to make small changes, I'd conceived to set the email inbox trigger to a sandbox email such that I could allow the production version to keep working while I developed the updates.


Changing the trigger invalidates every dynamic dependency downstream.

This is untenable as re-linking would take a full day (sadly tested already) and in 'real' coding this would never occur as all variables would simply be containers for data and references would remain contiguous. I'm trying to understand if this is a limitation in Power Automate or whether there's a workaround or perhaps I've missed a crucial item of information about how to manage this in a complex flow?


Certainly appreciative of any community wisdom on the topic!

Community Support
Community Support

Hello Hydrogenutility,


You have a great point here!  It can be somewhat of a pain to adjust one Connection early on in a Flow and then have to follow through on that many times over later on in the Flow.  There is currently a new functionality in Preview that could potentially help you solve for this called "Connection References".

The high-level view of Connection References being that when you build a solution (even in another environment), you can include specific connections (like non-Sandbox O365 Connections) into the solution so that when you Import, you don't have to re-establish.  While this is more of a pre-deployment step you would go through, perhaps it could save you some post-deployment efforts in having to go through and re-establish on every single action.


There's not a ton of information out there on this (it is still in Preview, after all), but maybe these can point you in the right direction:

Using Connection References with Power Automate and Common Data Service - Microsoft Dynamics CRM Com...

Move flows across environments without resetting connections! | Power Automate Blog (

Thanks for the tip on "Connection References" @stephankline, I'll certainly investigate that as it sounds like a solution to a different issue I also face when I 'save a copy' of flows for re-use (after changes) and need to re-connect everything.

It did occur to me that a best-practice change I can make to my design steps when implementing these long flows is to capture all trigger references in variables as the very next step, theoretically then eliminating the need for trigger references all the way down stream.

A significant improvement to Power Automate would be that this happened automatically, but I wonder whether this as a best practice has been documented anywhere in Power Automate literature....


Thanks for input.

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