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How 'Set Variable' can be used as a replacement for 'Set Field in Current Item'



Anyone who has used SharePoint Designer to build 2010 or 2013 workflows is familiar with the 'Set Field in Current Item' action. You might also know that this action is currently not available in Flow. Update item is the only action close enough to achieve the task, however, for every Update Item step in Flow a version is created for that list item. Hence if you do need a 'Set Field in Current Item' action, especially while migrating your SharePoint Designer workflows to Flow then you can consider using the Set Variable action instead. This blog walks you how you can use this action using a demo.




Brief overview video

This video demonstrates how the Set Field in Current Item works. It also demonstrates how extra versions are created if you only use Flow's Update Item SharePoint action.



SharePoint list

For this blog, two separate SharePoint lists have been created. One to run the SharePoint Designer workflows and the other for Flow.
Here are some screenshots of the SharePoint list and columnspicture2.png










SharePoint Designer workflow


Even though this blog primarily focuses on building the Flow, here is a screenshot of the workflow using SharePoint Designer. As you will see in the video, this workflow will create two versions for a list item. Our goal is to create a Flow which will also have only two versions.





In Flow look for the 'When an item is created' SharePoint Flow template.



 Then populate the SharePoint site URL after which select your list name.




Now we'll initialize the variable. Initialize simple means assign i.e. prior to using a variable we need to create one. In this demo we will assign two variables, one for the 'Registration Date' and the other for 'Status'.


Click on 'Add an action'




Type in 'variable' and select 'Variables - Initialize variable'.  For this demo we'll have to do this twice.




 Following are the two variables created. For the Date and time type format we have used the String format




The remaining actions can be set however you see fit for your Flow. In this demo, we're testing to see if the Registration Date and the Status fields are blank. If they are then fill them with values. The Registration date variable is filled using the utcNow() expression which returns the current timestamp as a string. The Status var is filled with a manual text entry 'Registered'. Here are some screenshots






Finally, you can add the Update Item action. As you can see below, the variables are used to updated the list item.





Adding Update Items steps can be laborious since you have fill in your SharePoint Site URL and select the List name every single time. With the instructions provided in the blog you have to do this only once. If you still think the 'Set Field in Current Item' is required then feel free to vote for my request I had submitted in the Flow community. Here's the link.


Nice, for clear this Microsoft Flow tips.

by Blog with Movie. 

Meet Our Blog Authors
  • Experienced Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Office 365, Azure, SharePoint Online, PowerShell, Nintex, K2, SharePoint Designer workflow automation, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, PowerShell, Active Directory, Operating Systems, Networking, and JavaScript. Strong consulting professional with a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) focused in Information Technology from Mumbai University.
  • I am a Microsoft Business Applications MVP and a Senior Manager at EY. I am a technology enthusiast and problem solver. I work/speak/blog/Vlog on Microsoft technology, including Office 365, Power Apps, Power Automate, SharePoint, and Teams Etc. I am helping global clients on Power Platform adoption and empowering them with Power Platform possibilities, capabilities, and easiness. I am a leader of the Houston Power Platform User Group and Power Automate community superuser. I love traveling , exploring new places, and meeting people from different cultures.
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