Variable datatypes

When you create variables in your flows, Power Automate converts them to a specific type based on their content.

Some of these data types are widely used throughout the application, such as numbers, while others, such as browser instances, require explicit actions or groups of actions.

Simple data types

Simple data types represent single values, such as texts and numbers. You can use these data types independently or utilize them to create more complex data structures, such as lists and datatables.

Text value

Any kind of text, from email addresses to the text contents of a .txt file.

Text data type properties

To create a Text value variable, use the Set variable action and populate the input parameter with the desired text without any notation.

Screenshot of a Set variable action that creates a Text value variable.

Numeric value

This is the type applied to numbers. Only this data type can be used in mathematical operations.

Τo create a Numeric value variable, use the Set variable action and populate the input parameter with a number without any notation.

Except for hardcoded numeric values, you can use mathematical expressions with variables within percentage signs. You can find more information about the mathematical expressions in the Use variables and the % notation article.

Screenshot of a Set variable action that creates a Numeric value variable.

Boolean value

The value can be either True or False.

Τo create a Boolean value variable, use the Set variable action and populate the input parameter with the expressions %True% or %False%.

Additionally, you can create complex expressions using logical operators, variables and the percentage notation. You can find more information about the logical expressions in the Use variables and the % notation article.

Screenshot of a Set variable action that creates a Boolean value variable.

Advanced data types

Advanced data types represent complex data structures. They function as collections of other data types that you can access as one entity.

List

Lists are collections of items. Depending on the types of the individual list items, there can be lists of text values, lists of numerical values, and so on. The list data type is the equivalent of a single-dimension array in programming terms.

You can create a list through the Create new list action and add an item to that list through the Add item to list action.

Screenshot of a flow that creates a list.

You can also create a list through actions that generate lists as output. For example, the Read text from file action can return a list of text values and the Get files in folder action returns a list of files.

To retrieve a specific item of a list, use the following notation: %VariableName[ItemNumber]%

In the example below, the flow stores the first number of the previously displayed list to a new variable. Keep in mind that the index should be 0 for the first item of the list.

Screenshot of an expression that accesses the first item of a list.

A common practice is to use a For each action to iterate through the items of a list.

List data type properties

Datatable

A datatable contains data in a tabular form. Datatables are the equivalent of two-dimensional arrays in programming terms.

A datatable contains rows and columns that describe the position of each item uniquely. Datatables can be considered as lists that contain datarows as items.

Screenshot of the contents of a datatable variable.

Power Automate provides three actions to generate datatables: the Read from Excel worksheet action, the Execute SQL statement action and the Extract data from web page action.

Alternatively, while Power Automate doesn't provide an action to form your own datatables, you can create a datatable using the Set variable action and the programming array notation.

This notation consists of multiple single-dimension arrays separated by commas and enclosed in curly brackets. The final expression must have the following form: %{['Product1', '10 USD'], ['Product2', '20 USD']}%.

Screenshot of Set variable action that creates a datatable.

If you want to add column headers while creating a new datatable, use the ^['ColumnName1', 'ColumnName2'] expression for the first row.

Screenshot of a Set variable action that creates a new datatable with column headers.

To add a new row to an existing table, create an expression containing the variable name of the datatable, a plus character (+), and the values you want to add in brackets.

Screenshot of a Set variable action that adds a new row to a datatable.

To retrieve a specific item of a datatable, use the following notation: %VariableName[RowNumber][ColumnNumber]%. Keep in mind that the RowNumber and the ColumnNumber should be 0 for the first item (row or column).

For example, suppose that a flow retrieves the content of an Excel worksheet and stores it in the ExcelData variable. To access the first cell on the second row of the retrieved table, use the expression displayed below.

Screenshot of an expression that accesses the first row's second cell of a read Excel file.

Note

The ExcelData variable contains a table of values extracted from an Excel worksheet using the Read from Excel worksheet action. It contains some values of a specific worksheet and not the whole Excel file.

If you want to access a specific column in a datable that contains column headers, use the %ExcelData[rowNumber]['ColumnName']% notation.

If you loop through a datatable with a For Each action, the variable that will contain the current iteration’s data is considered to be a datarow.

Datatable data type properties

Datarow

A datarow contains the values of a single row of a datatable. When you loop through a datatable with a For Each action, the variable that contains the current iteration’s data is a datarow.

To retrieve a specific item of a datarow, use the following notation: %VariableName[ItemNumber]%

Alternatively, you can use the %VariableName['ColumnName']% notation. The name of each column is defined by the datatable from which you retrieved the datarow.

Datarow data type properties

Screenshot of the contents of a datarow variable.

Custom object

Contains pairs of properties and values, which can be easily converted to JSON format.

To create a new empty Custom object, use the Set variable action and populate the following expression %{{ }}%. To create a new Custom object and initialize it with properties and values, use an epxression of the following structure: %{ 'Property1': 'Value1', 'Property2': 'Value2', 'Property3': 'Value2' }%.

Screenshot of Set variable action that creates a new custom object.

To update the value of an existing property or add a new one, deploy a Set variable action, populate the property's name in the Set field, and enter its value in the To field.

Screenshot of a Set variable action that add a new property to a custom object.

Apart from literal values, you can use variables to dynamically set the properties and values of custom objects. For example, the following flow uses two variables to add a new property to a new empty custom object.

Screenshot of a flow that uses variables to add a new property to a custom object.

List of PDF table info

A variable of this data type can be produced only through the Extract tables from PDF action.

Each item on the list describes an extracted table and provides all the essential information about it. To access a specific datatable info item, use the %VariableName[ItemNumber]% notation.

Screenshot of a List of PDF table info.

Every list item provides four properties that allow you to get a specific detail independently. The available properties are the following:

  • DataTable - Returns the extracted table.
  • TableStartingPage - Returns the index of the file page that contains the start of the table.
  • TableEndingPage - Returns the index of the file page that contains the end of the table.
  • TableOrderInPage - Returns the order of the table on the page.

You can find more information regarding the properties of this data type in Variables datatype properties.

Screenshot of the properties of a list of PDF table info.

To access the value of a specific property, use the %VariableName[ItemNumber].PropertyName% notation. For example, the following expression returns the datatable value of the first item of the ExtractedPDFTables variable.

Screenshot of the data table contained in a list of PDF table info vatiable.

Known issues and limitations

  • Issue: When a datatable or datarow cell contains a multi-line entry, the variable viewer displays only the first line of it.
  • Workarounds: None.

Instances

Connections

Others

General value

  • General value - This data type is used during design time when Power Automate can't define the data type of a variable or an input parameter. General values get converted to other data types during run time based on their data.

Active Directory

  • Active Directory entry - Contains a connection to an Active Directory server established through the Connect to server action.
  • Group info - Contains the name, the display name, a description, and the members of a specified Active Directory group.
  • Group member - Represents a member of a specified Active Directory group.
  • User info - Contains information about a specified Active Directory user, such as first and last name, initials and a distinguished name, work details (company, department and title), contact information (telephone number, extension and email), and location (country, city, state, street address and postal code).

Active Directory data type properties

AWS

  • EC2 client - Contains an EC2 session created through the Create EC2 session action.
  • EC2 instance - Represents a retrieved EC2 instance.
  • EC2 instances info - Contains information about an EC2 instance.
  • Instance state change - Contains information about an EC2 instance that was started or stopped.
  • EBS snapshot - Represents an EBS snapshot.
  • EBS volume - Represents an EBS volume.

AWS data type properties

Azure

  • Azure client - Contains an Azure session created through the Create session action.
  • Azure resource group - Represents a retrieved Azure resource group.
  • Azure managed disk - Represents a retrieved Azure disk.
  • Azure snapshot - Represents an Azure snapshot.
  • Azure virtual machine - Represents a retrieved Azure virtual machine.
  • Azure virtual machine info - Contains information about an Azure virtual machine.
  • Azure subscription - Represents a retrieved Azure subscription.

Azure data type properties

CMD

  • CMD session - Contains a CMD session created through the Open CMD session action.

CMD data type properties

Dates and time

  • Datetime - Contains date and time information. To create a datetime variable through the Set Variable action, populate the input parameter with the expressions %d"yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss.ff+zzz"%, where:

    Notation Description
    yyyy Year
    MM Month
    dd Day
    HH Hour
    mm Minutes
    ss Seconds
    ff Milliseconds
    zzz UTC Offset

    For example, %d"2022-03-25"% assigns the 25th of March 2022 date to the target variable.

Dates and time data type properties

Email

  • Mail message - Represents an email message. The Retrieve emails action populates these variables.

Email data type properties

Exchange

  • Exchange mail message - Represents an email message retrieved from an Exchange server. The Retrieve Exchange email messages action populates these variables.

Exchange data type properties

Files and folders

  • File - Represents a file.
  • Folder - Represents a folder.
  • FileSystemObject - Represents either a folder or a file. This data type is used in input parameters that accept folders and files.

Files and folders data type properties

FTP

  • FTP file - Represents an FTP file.
  • FTP directory - Represents an FTP directory

FTP data type properties

OCR

  • OCR Engine – Contains an OCR engine created through the Create OCR engine action.

Outlook

  • Outlook mail message - Represents an email Outlook message. The Retrieve email messages from Outlook action populates these variables.

Outlook data type properties

Terminal

  • Terminal session - Contains a terminal session created through the Open terminal session action.

Terminal data type properties

XML

  • XML node - Contains the content of an XML document. The Read XML from file action populates these variables.

XML data type properties

Error

  • Error - Contains information about the last occurred error in the desktop flow. The Get last error action creates this type of variables.

Error properties