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Allow self reference on action 'SetVariable'

Selfreference is a very common feature when working with variables, i.e.:


myString = concat(myString,'blablabla');

myArray = skip (myArray,1);


However, current Flow "Set variable" action block implementation does not support it, so you are forced to duplicate variables and declare an auxiliar one everytime you need selfreference. The only exception I've found so far is with int variables, as there is already an "Increment variable" action block.


Do any other Flow users also miss this feature?



Status: Under Review

This would be a very useful fix, thank you for your feedback.

Frequent Visitor

I use this all the time for scripting in other areas besides Flow. Not sure why this isn't implented especially for string manipulation and other things. Would be great to see this enabled instead of having to create multiple variables to modify strings ect.

Not applicable

Basic and simple requirement. Makes the tooling look stupid TBH.

Power Automate
Status changed to: Under Review

This would be a very useful fix, thank you for your feedback.

New Member


Frequent Visitor

come on man... the variable itself is even available in the picker, how can you not allow this?  PLEASE.

New Member

It's really strange that Flow doesn't support self reference.

Frequent Visitor

use the "append to a string" action

Regular Visitor

The fact, this is not currently in place is an embarassment and huge blemish on Microsoft.  How can you release a solution around string manipulation, that cannot self reference?  It has been a normal activity with programing languages since the dawn of programming.  I could do this on my C64 (yes i still have one that is operational) in basic.  Not only does this need to happen, it needs to happen yesterday please.

Not applicable

Has there been any progress on this? We're coming up on two years.

Advocate I

Crazy! Instead of doing thing in one block you have to use at least 2 blocks. Please, please, please: MS consider abandoning the Flow system altogether and **buy** some product that has a proven track record and incorporate that. Reinventing the wheel and doing it poorly is just crazy.


Functionality: Poor (there are so many much better tools out there)

User Interface (Designer): Poor (the designer just hurts my eyes and I get a mouse arm, it even logs me out without prompting...)

User Interface (User): Innovative! (Yes, there is some positive note, I like the buttons...)

Reusability: Poor (ever tried traversing a flow through DTAP...)

Manageability: Poor (tying a flow to a user (license), whether its a 'team' flow or not is just idiotic)

Reliability: Poor (ever tried using two flows tied to one list with the same trigger... mayhem. That's 'Async' for you)

Licensing: Out Of Control! (categorizing truely helpful actions (like Queues to Azure) as premium... it's just the first step)

Standardisation: Poor (I really still prefer InfoPath to Flow, because at least you had the (relatively speaking) full power of a standardised community language (XML and XSLT) at your disposal. So why are we not seeing any flow actions that allow Javascript manipulation or running Powershell?)