Filter and copy data with Power Automate

Note

Microsoft Flow is now Power Automate. For more information, see this blog.

This content will be updated to reflect the branding change in the coming days.

This walkthrough shows you how to create a flow that monitors a source for new or changed items and then copies those changes to a destination. You may create a flow like this one if your users enter data in one location, but your team needs it in a different location or format.

While this walkthrough copies data from a Microsoft SharePoint list (the source) to an Azure SQL Database table (the destination), you can copy data among any of the more than 150 services that Power Automate supports.

Important

Changes you make in the destination aren't copied to the source because two-way syncs aren't supported. If you attempt to set up a two-way sync, you'll create an infinite loop where changes are sent endlessly between the source and destination.

Prerequisites

  • Access to a data source and a destination. This walkthrough doesn’t include steps to create the source and destination.
  • Access to Power Automate.
  • A basic understanding of how your data is stored.
  • Familiarity with the basics of creating flows. You can review how to add actions, triggers, and conditions. The following steps assume that you know how to perform these actions.

Tip

Every column name in the source and destination don't need to match, but you must provide data for all required columns when you insert or update an item. Power Automate identifies the required fields for you.

Quick overview of the steps

If you're comfortable with Power Automate, use these quick steps to copy data from one data source to another:

  1. Identify the source you'll monitor and the destination to which you'll copy changed data. Confirm you've access to both.
  2. Identify at least one column that uniquely identifies items in the source and destination. In the example that follows, we use the Title column, but you could use any column(s) you want.
  3. Set up a trigger that monitors the source for changes.
  4. Search the destination to determine if the changed item exists.
  5. Use a Condition like this:
    • If the new or changed item doesn't exist in the destination, create it.
    • If the new or changed item exists in the destination, update it.
  6. Trigger your flow, and then confirm that new or changed items are being copied from the source to the destination.

Note

If you haven't created a connection to SharePoint or Azure SQL Database previously, follow the instructions when you're prompted to sign in.

Here are the detailed steps to create the flow.

Monitor the source for changes

  1. Sign into Power Automate, select My flows > Create from blank.

  2. Search for SharePoint > select the SharePoint - When an item is created or modified trigger from the list of triggers.

  3. Enter the Site Address and then select the List Name on the When an item is created or modified card.

    Provide the Site Address and List Name for the SharePoint list your flow monitors for new or updated items.

    configure sharepoint trigger

Search the destination for the new or changed item

We use the SQL Server - Get rows action to search the destination for the new or changed item.

  1. Select New step > Add an action.

  2. Search for Get rows, select SQL Server - Get rows, and then select the table you want to monitor from the Table name list.

  3. Select Show advanced options.

  4. In the Filter Query box, enter Title eq ', select the Title token from the dynamic content list, and then enter '.

    The previous step assumes you're matching the Titles of the rows in the source and the destination.

    The Get rows card should now look like this image:

    try to get the item from the destination database

Check if the new or changed item was found

Select New step > Add a condition to open the Condition card.

On the condition card:

  1. Select the box on the left.

    The Add dynamic content from the apps and connectors used in this flow list opens.

  2. Select value from the Get rows category.

    Tip

    Confirm you've selected value from the Get rows category. Don't select value from the When an item is created or modified category.

  3. Select is equal to from the list in the center box.

  4. Enter 0 (zero) in the box on the right side.

    The Condition card now resembles this image:

    configure a condition

  5. Select Edit in advanced mode.

    When advanced mode opens, you see @equals(body('Get_rows')?['value'], 0) expression in the box. Edit this expression by adding length() around the body('Get_items')?['value'] function. The entire expression now appears like this: @equals(length(body('Get_rows')?['value']), 0)

    The Condition card now resembles this image:

    configure a condition

    Tip

    Adding the length() function allows the flow to check the value list and determine if it contains any items.

When your flow "gets" items from the destination, there're two possible outcomes.

Outcome Next step
The item exists Update the item
The item doesn't exist Create a new item

Note

The images of the Insert row and Update row cards shown next may differ from yours because these cards show the names of the columns in the Azure SQL Database table that's being used in the flow.

Create the item in the destination

If the item doesn't exist in the destination, create it using the SQL Server - Insert row action.

On the If yes branch of the Condition:

  1. Select Add an action, search for insert row, and then select SQL Server - Insert row.

    The Insert row card opens.

  2. From the Table name list, select the table into which the new item will be inserted.

    The Insert row card expands and displays all fields in the selected table. Fields with an asterisk (*) are required and must be populated for the row to be valid.

  3. Select each field that you want to populate and enter the data.

    You may enter the data manually, select one or more tokens from the Dynamic content, or enter any combination of text and tokens into the fields.

    The Insert row card now resembles this image:

    configure a condition

Update the item in the destination

If the item exists in the destination, update it with the changes.

  1. Add the SQL Server - Update row action to the If no branch of the Condition.

  2. Follow the steps in the create the item section of this document to populate the fields of the table.

    view environments

  3. At the top of the page, enter a name for your flow in the Flow name box, and then select Create flow to save it.

    name your flow

Now, whenever an item in your SharePoint list (source) changes, your flow triggers and either inserts a new item or updates an existing item in your Azure SQL Database (destination).

Note

Your flow isn't triggered when an item is deleted from the source. If this is an important scenario, consider adding a separate column that indicates when an item is no longer needed.

Learn more

Use data operations in your flows.