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wskinnermctc
Super User
Super User

Update File Properties - Fields Left Blank with No Value Will Overwrite a Previous Value

Hello, I have a curious issue and I'm hoping someone can help me understand why this issue is happening.

 

I'm using power automate to create document sets for each employee. After a "Create a new document set" action, I have to immediately follow it with an "Update File Properties" in order to update a choice column for the file property because the "Create a new document set" is bugged for filling in choice columns. (I've already posted about this document set choice column problem here.)

 

My issue is not with the choice column.

 

I have other fields that I am leaving empty in the "Update File Properties" step, but the lack of a value in the field is overwriting the value I previously put into the field with the previous "Create a new document set". 

 

For example in the "Create a new document set" step, I fill in a column for Separation Type Description which will identify how an employee left like Retire, Termination, Layoff, etc.

If an employee has "Termination" put into the Separation Type Desc column in the "Create a new document set" step, when the "Update File Properties" is followed and the field is left blank. The SharePoint column will then be updated with a blank "" that is removing the "Termination" from the column.

 

Here I created a new document set for Bob Barker with the Separation type of "Termination":

Create new document setCreate new document setDocument Library New Document Set CreatedDocument Library New Document Set Created

 

The next step in the flow is "Update File Properties" that will correctly populate the EMP_ACT_STATUS choice column. I leave all of the other fields blank other than the ID to identify the file.

 

Update File Properties - Peek CodeUpdate File Properties - Peek Code

 

If I use the Peek Code in the step settings I can see that it is going to fill in the ID column and EMP_ACT_STATUS column as expected. But it is automatically adding the INF_FIRST_NAME column and SeparationTypeDesc column with a blank "" value. 

 

Here is what happens when the Update File Properties runs. The two fields are overwritten with blanks:

Update File Properties ResultsUpdate File Properties Results

 

Neither of the columns INF_FIRST_NAME or SeparationTypeDesc are required to have any value filled in. If these columns were required then it would make sense that they are appearing in the Update File Properties, but these columns are optional.

 

Here are the column settings for these two columns:

Column SettingsColumn Settings

 

 

Even more strange, when I was making this post and getting screenshots, I created a new "Update File Properties" step, and it was different in that it only had the INF_FIRST_NAME as a blank "" value. The SeparationTypeDesc column is correctly not showing because it doesn't have a value.

Peek Code - Update File PropertiesPeek Code - Update File Properties

So why are the two columns INF_FIRST_NAME and SeparationTypeDesc appearing as blank "" values in the Update File Properties when there is no value in the field? Why does the action change to only have INF_FIRST_NAME appearing as a blank "" value when I create a brand new example in another flow? 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

I found a solution, but I don't know why there was a problem to begin with. (And it only explains part of the problem.)

 

I ran an HTTP request to get the properties of the field that was causing an issue which is the "INF_FIRST_NAME" column.

 

HTTP Request for Column Info - FieldsHTTP Request for Column Info - Fields

If you want to get all fields/columns for a SharePoint List or Folder use the Uri:

_api/web/lists/GetbyTitle('MyLibrary')/fields

The Uri for the single column by InternalName is in the format:

_api/web/lists/GetbyTitle('MyLibrary')/fields?$filter= InternalName eq 'INF_FIRST_NAME'

 

Looking at the properties of the column for DefaultValue it is showing a blank "" by having two quotes. Other properties of the column use null if there is nothing, but this DefaultValue is using "" blank. 

I checked other columns and they had null for a DefaultValue. 

 

Below is a screenshot of that HTTP output.

HTTP Request - Column Properties - BeforeHTTP Request - Column Properties - Before

 

I went to edit column settings to check the Default value in the column settings and it was empty as expected. I clicked in the box and there was no text or space or anything. I selected the option for Calculated Value and then selected the option for Text again. Then I clicked OK to save. 

 

Click in Column Settings and Save to Refresh Column SettingsClick in Column Settings and Save to Refresh Column Settings

 

That seemed to refresh the column settings for whatever reason. 

 

When I run an HTTP request on the field, the DefaultValue property now says null and it no longer has "" blank.

 

HTTP Request - Column Properties - After Settings RefreshHTTP Request - Column Properties - After Settings Refresh

 

So now the column doesn't fill in the value as "" blank when updating file properties. 

 

HOWEVER: When I first tested this after updating the column settings, it was still overwriting the value in the column with a blank just like before. I deleted the entire two actions from the flow (Create a new document set & Update File Properties). I then added the steps "Create a new document set" and "Update File Properties" as new steps. I formatted the steps exactly like the previous ones I deleted. 

Ran the flow and they worked perfectly. 👍

 

So this doesn't explain why my issue happened. Furthermore, it doesn't explain why it was happening to the "SeparationTypeDesc" column. When I ran an HTTP request for column properties for the "SeparationTypeDesc" column the DefaultValue property was null just like other fields. It did not have a blank "" in the DefaultValue like the "INF_FIRST_NAME" column.

 

Either way, I just went to the column settings of "SeparationTypeDesc" and in the Default Value clicked from Text to Calculated Value and back to Text. Clicked OK to save. And I have not had the issue.

 

Maybe it is a mystery of using Content Types and Document Sets, but if you have a field that is being overwritten with a blank "" value. Go check the Default Value in the column settings and try to refresh with that field to be null instead of showing "" for a blank value. 

View solution in original post

3 REPLIES 3
annetoal
Super User
Super User

Suggest you put a Get properties step between the Create and Update steps, just to look at the outputs and see what Power Automate thinks are in those fields. You could delete the action after you satisfied yourself where those values were coming from. Or you could use the outputs from Get properties to force the fields in Update to contain the values you want.

 

Anne

 

I found a solution, but I don't know why there was a problem to begin with. (And it only explains part of the problem.)

 

I ran an HTTP request to get the properties of the field that was causing an issue which is the "INF_FIRST_NAME" column.

 

HTTP Request for Column Info - FieldsHTTP Request for Column Info - Fields

If you want to get all fields/columns for a SharePoint List or Folder use the Uri:

_api/web/lists/GetbyTitle('MyLibrary')/fields

The Uri for the single column by InternalName is in the format:

_api/web/lists/GetbyTitle('MyLibrary')/fields?$filter= InternalName eq 'INF_FIRST_NAME'

 

Looking at the properties of the column for DefaultValue it is showing a blank "" by having two quotes. Other properties of the column use null if there is nothing, but this DefaultValue is using "" blank. 

I checked other columns and they had null for a DefaultValue. 

 

Below is a screenshot of that HTTP output.

HTTP Request - Column Properties - BeforeHTTP Request - Column Properties - Before

 

I went to edit column settings to check the Default value in the column settings and it was empty as expected. I clicked in the box and there was no text or space or anything. I selected the option for Calculated Value and then selected the option for Text again. Then I clicked OK to save. 

 

Click in Column Settings and Save to Refresh Column SettingsClick in Column Settings and Save to Refresh Column Settings

 

That seemed to refresh the column settings for whatever reason. 

 

When I run an HTTP request on the field, the DefaultValue property now says null and it no longer has "" blank.

 

HTTP Request - Column Properties - After Settings RefreshHTTP Request - Column Properties - After Settings Refresh

 

So now the column doesn't fill in the value as "" blank when updating file properties. 

 

HOWEVER: When I first tested this after updating the column settings, it was still overwriting the value in the column with a blank just like before. I deleted the entire two actions from the flow (Create a new document set & Update File Properties). I then added the steps "Create a new document set" and "Update File Properties" as new steps. I formatted the steps exactly like the previous ones I deleted. 

Ran the flow and they worked perfectly. 👍

 

So this doesn't explain why my issue happened. Furthermore, it doesn't explain why it was happening to the "SeparationTypeDesc" column. When I ran an HTTP request for column properties for the "SeparationTypeDesc" column the DefaultValue property was null just like other fields. It did not have a blank "" in the DefaultValue like the "INF_FIRST_NAME" column.

 

Either way, I just went to the column settings of "SeparationTypeDesc" and in the Default Value clicked from Text to Calculated Value and back to Text. Clicked OK to save. And I have not had the issue.

 

Maybe it is a mystery of using Content Types and Document Sets, but if you have a field that is being overwritten with a blank "" value. Go check the Default Value in the column settings and try to refresh with that field to be null instead of showing "" for a blank value. 

Beautifully explained. You could make a blog entry out of that.

 

Anne

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