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Check for a Change in a SharePoint List Column Value

I've seen frequent posts in the Flow Forums from users asking how they can check for a change is a specific column in a SharePoint list,  If the value has changed, they want to take some type of action.  I have usually answered these questions by saying that this is not an "out of the box" Flow feature.  There actually is a way to check for a change in a SharePoint list column value and it isn't very difficult to implement.  It does involve calling a SharePoint web service, but I'll show you exactly what you need to do.

 

First, let me set some parameters:

  • I am assuming that you have versioning turned on and set to major versions.
  • I am assuming that you are checking values in a list and not a library
    • This Flow would need to be slightly altered to use with a library

Step one is to create a Flow that uses the SharePoint "when an item is created or modified" trigger.  Since this Flow checks for changes in a column value, it doesn't make sense to run the Flow on a new entry.  The first part of my Flow checks to see if the created date and time is the same a the modified date and time.  If they are the same, then this is a new item and the Flow exits with a Control Terminate action.

 

VersionNewChange.jpg 

Please note that the Terminate action status is set to Succeeded - the default is Failed.  If you don't change the status to Succeeded, your Flow will show as failed when a new item is created even though it ran as designed.

 

Next, I set a variable that holds the list item ID.  I'll use this variable when I call the SharePoint web service.   

 

VersionVariable1.jpg 

 

Now for the good stuff - next I call the SharePoint Web service.  I use a "Send an HTTP Request to SharePoint" action.  The particular API that I'm calling returns all versions of a list item along with all columns and data in those columns.  Configure your "Send an HTTP Request to SharePoint" action in exactly the same way as I have in the screen shot below except:

  • select your own site collection
  • replace VersionTest (the name of my list) with the name of your list inside of single quotes

 Note that I am inserting the variable where we stored the item ID in the web service call.

VersionHTTP.jpg 

At this point, when creating your own Flow, save it and run it by making a change to an item in your list.  Remember that you'll need to have at least 2 versions of an item for your Flow to make it all the way to the HTTP call and we will need information returned by the HTTP call in the next step.

 

After the Flow runs, take a look at the run history and do the following:

  1.  Scroll down to the Send an HTTP request to SharePoint action
  2. Click on Body at the bottom of the action.  Select everything in the Body area and copy it to your clipboard.

 

VersionHTTPCopy.jpg

 

Now, I add a Parse JSON action.  This action enables us to easily use all the data returned by the HTTP action.  

 

ParseJSON1.jpg 

 

In the Parse JSON action content section, select Body from the Send an HTTP request to SharePoint section in Dynamic properties.  Now, click on "Use sample payload to generate schema".   In the dialogue box the appears, paste the data on your clipboard (copied form the HTTP Body section) and click on Done.  This will automatically configure this action to interpret the data provided by the HTTP action.

 

When complete, the Parse JSON action should look like this:

 

ParseJSON3.jpg  

Almost done - all we need to do now is to retrieve the value we are comparing from the previous version of the list item and compare it to the value in the current version. 

 

Next, I create a string variable and initialize it to the value of the column in which we are interested from the previous version of the list item.

 

VersionCompare1.jpg

 

Here's what I have in the expression:

GetData.jpg

Referencing the column name requires a little more explanation.  If there are no spaces in the column name you can probably just enter the column name.  If there are spaces in the column name or you just want to be sure you are using the right name,  go to the Parse JSON action and scroll down in the schema section until you see something that looks like your column name.  Here is a section from my schema that refers to a few columns:

 

VersionColumns.jpg

 

I have a column called MyChoice with no spaces which I can refer to as MyChoice.  I also have a column called My Date.  I need to refer to this column as My_x005f_x0020_x005f_Date.

 

All I need to do now is to compare the current value in the column to value from the previous version (stored in the variable).

 

VersionCompare2.jpg

 

That's it - we have now compared the value currently in a SharePoint column to the value in the previous version of that list item
 
Here is screen shot of my complete Flow:
Complete.jpg
 
Let me add a few final points:
  • When you Flow runs, you might see error messages about data types in the HTTP or Parse JSON actions. If this happens, edit the schema and remove the data type designation from the area where the column is defined
  • I tested this Flow with string, number, choice, person or group, yes/no and text columns
  • To see what data is returned and how it is formatted, refer to the output of the Parse JSON action in the run history
  • Remember to turn on versioning in your list - it is not on by default

I found the following blog post extremely helpful when creating my solution

 

Please comment and let me know what you think.

 

Scott

Comments

Hi Sir,

 

I need to hide a column in the SharePoint list (when new item is clicked), and we need to use that column only to be updated using Microsoft flow, is there a way to do that ?

@AhmedSSB :

Not all columns can be easily hidden. 

  • Got to list settings.
  • Click on advanced and set Allow Management of Content Types to yes.
  • Go back to list settings and click on the content type
  • Click on the column name and select Hidden

If you can't hide the column, consider replace the out of the box forms with PowerApps forms.

 

Hi All,

Thank you for helping me and it was an excellent solution

I have a new query which is:
How can I hide the Content Type from the request box See attachment.

 

 

Hidden content type.PNG

 

 

@AhmedSSB :

To hide the content type control, set "Allow Management of Content Types" back to no - it will no impact the chnage that you made.

 

Scott

 

 

I thank you for your cooperation sir Smiley Tongue


The operation succeeded

Anonymous

Thank you @ScottShearer !!! This is exactly what I needed and it was very well written.

 

My only dilemma is that I have an email notification sent if a variance is found and the results are sending me all version history and not just the most current changes. But I'll take what I can get! Thanks again.

@Anonymous :

 

Can you post your question along with screen shots in one of the Forums?  I'll take a look and I'm sure we can get it working the way you want.

 

 

Hi 

 

@Viral77 

If I understand your question correctly, all you need to do is to run the run I outline above on ListB.  If you find that the status column has been updated, simply do an update item for the matching entry in List A and set the value of the Status column.  You might want to store the ID of the item from ListA in ListB to make it easy to do the update.

Hi @ScottShearer, thanks for your reponse, let me put the clear scenario so you can assist me better.  my item IDs in Site1-ListA are not the same as Item IDs in Site2-ListB. So what i have done is i have created UniqueID e.g. ABC147 in ListA using  concat('Title', triggerBody()?['ID']) .

 

I am able to send all new items from Site1-ListA Items to Site2-ListB using Flow where status column is 'Pending' including UniqueID ABC147.

 

Now requirement is when the Site2-ListB is modified with status 'Allocated' the flow should trigger to change the status column to be 'Allocated' of Site1-ListA.

 

I have been trying few Flow options but i am getting error as "item does not exist". I just need to match if UniqueID of ListB compared with ListA to change the status column. 

Thanks again and let me know if you need more details.

 

 

 

I have a different issue.

I dont want the flow to run when a new item is created. But i cant use Created by is equal to Modified by because the user will edit the item later on and i do need the flow to run then.

Anonymous

@ScottShearer 

I followed these instructions with success in isolating and identifying the modification made (thank you!). Additionally, I added a "Send an email" step at the end to display the particular modification made. I made 11 separate flows to account for modification that could be made in 11 different columns. The problem I'm running into is when I change 1 particular item in 1 column, I receive 11 separate e-mail (all flows are running at the same time to track and notify of any change at any given moment) even when no change was made in those columns. Is there a way to ensure that only the items being changed are sent in an e-mail (and not the items not being modified)? In looking through this blog, the step that should eliminate this is when the item compares to the previous version and is the same, the process should terminate. This isn't occuring properly for me, I wonder what I'm doing wrong?

 

Thank you for your time with this!

 

UPDATE:   For one of the compare variables instead of "string" I now set it as "integer" and for me this fixed my issue for one column. But the other columns with compare variables type "String" still send an email when no change has been made.

 

At the very beginning of this very helpful article you mention that using this for a Libary requires a slight modification but I don't see what that modification is anywhere in the article.  I would love to use this with a Library, please advise what the modification is.  Thank youl

Hello Scott

Thanks for providing the information.  I will try them and I appreciate your time.

I have a much better way to check to see if the trigger fired on a new or modified item.  Using the Created and Modified dates/times is not reliable.

See my bog post on this topic please.

Hi Scott,

 

This is extremely useful but i do have a questions when i try to retrieve the field Employee name.

 

I added below as a variable and get trying to get the employee name,

body('Parse_JSON')?['d']?['results'][1]['EmployeeName']
 
However, the email show a string value like below.
{"__metadata":{"type":"SP.FieldUserValue"},"LookupId":24,"LookupValue":"George, Miller","Email":"GeorgeM@blabla.com"}
 
Below as the Parse Json Schema for the field employee name.  Actually i just want the email to display the name which is the above "George,Miller" right after the lookupvalue.
Can you please guide me through how i can just call the Name instead of the entire string? 
 
Thank you for your help.

                            "EmployeeName": {

                                "type": "object",

                                "properties": {

                                    "__metadata": {

                                        "type": "object",

                                        "properties": {

                                            "type": {

                                                "type": "string"

                                            }

                                        }

                                    },

                                    "LookupId": {

                                        "type": "integer"

                                    },

                                    "LookupValue": {

                                        "type": "string"

                                    },

                                    "Email": {

                                        "type": "string"

                                    }

                                }

                            },

Hi bbastro,
you can manage that string using compose action.
 
For example-
last(split(variables('Your Variable'),'"LookupValue":'))
 
After that you can use replace function to get clean name.
 
Thanks
Hardesh

Thank you, this has been incredibly helpful!  

 

I have the flow working now, in partnership with another flow, summarised as follows:

Flow 1: Trigger: new item added to SharePoint List "Leave Applications"

  • Starts approval to nominated Manager
  • Once approved, various emails are sent, an event created in a Group Calendar and the list updated for column "Status" = approved
  • If rejected, various emails are sent and the list updated for column "Status" = Rejected

Flow 2: Trigger: item is created or modified in SharePoint List "Leave Applications, based on your post above:

  • Initialize variable to hold item ID
  • Check for new item (terminate if created = modified)
  • Parse JSON
  • Initialize variable 'varItemCompare' to hold value to be compared - body('Parse_JSON')?['d]?['results'][1]['ManagerFullName']
  • Condition comparing 'varItemCompare' equal to Managers Name
  • If yes, terminate; if no, re-send updated application for approval

My problem is - 

 

Flow 1 works perfectly & has done for some time.  

Flow 2 works perfectly for a change in Managers Name. 

BUT 

If you update another field in the Leave Applications List, Flow 2 shows as failed at the 'Parse JSON' step.  

 

Why?  And how do I fix?  Am I missing anything else obvious?

 

Thank you!

@ScottShearer 

 

Thanks for providing the solution as above. I have a similar problem that I am looking for a solution for however, I have to compare all the columns (70) of my sharepoint list. Could I achieve so incorporating the above solution, if yes, could you please suggest how that could be done. Thanks

Hi @ScottShearer I am having issue when trying to initialize variable to hold item ID. When I add "ID" from "Dynamic cotent" my flow is automatically adding "Apply to each". After adding it I am not able to save flow because of an error:

 

2020-08-04_135653.png

 

Can I directly insert "ID" in "Uri" section of "Send an HTTP request to SharePoint"?

 

In "Body" which I get by running "Send an HTTP request to SharePoint" I should get whole content of my list (all rows) in Json format?

 

Thanks

Thanks for this, Scott, just what I was looking for. I'm having a problem, however. The column I am trying to focus on is a Person type that was originally titled "AssignedTo" but I later changed to "Assignee". When I try to compare varItemCompare to the current item in the condition step, I do not see an option for "Assignee Value" but rather "Assignee" and the items shown in the screen shot. I've also sent the two values to an email notification so I could see why they aren't matching which is the second screen shot.choosing assignee.png

 

trace.png

I can supply screen shots of all steps, if needed but I can't figure out why this thinks there are two different values which causes the final action to fire even when I DON'T change the Assignee field but change another column value.

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