Data Operations
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Power Automate is part of the Microsoft Power Platform and is a powerful tool to create automation flows for workflow processes. In this course, we cover the capabilities of the Power Automate service. You will learn how to identify common components such as flow types, connectors, conditions, expressions, and approvals.

You'll also learn how to build basic flows that can be started immediately with a button, based on an automated trigger, or on a set schedule. We'll explore how to update your flows and correct any issues that might interfere with your flow running successfully.

Furthermore, this course will help you in preparing for the Microsoft PL-900 certification for the Power Platform.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the different types of flows
  • Identify and choose the proper type of flow trigger
  • Find and use templates to run or modify a flow
  • Use and change data connectors
  • Be able to describe templates, connectors, loops and conditions, expressions, and approvals

Intended Audience

  • IT professionals who are interested in obtaining the Microsoft PL-900 certification
  • Those tasked with automating tasks from Microsoft 365 applications and external application integration


  • Basic knowledge of the Microsoft 365 applications and a license to create Power Automate Flows (a trial of an Enterprise version would work as a temporary testbed)

Let’s talk about data operations. Data operations are a way to manipulate our data in flows. We will look at three different data operations. The Compose data operation, Join, and the Filter Array.

I’m going to show you these by creating a flow that watches for changes to our SharePoint list. When the amount in stock reaches below 5 items, we want to change the status to “Reorder”, and get an email telling us to reorder the item in any or all cities affected. Let’s see what that might look like. 

First of all we create an automated cloud flow. We search for triggers by SharePoint And find the trigger for when an item is created or modified. Make sure that you choose the one that says item instead of file. Files that are modified refer to document libraries not lists. And we give this flow a name. We then click on create.

We go ahead and add our site address and our list name to the trigger. We are going to add a new step and we will search for connectors and actions with word data. Choose data operation and you will see the different data operation actions available. Let's go ahead and choose the Compose data operation.

Compose lets us put in an array of items that we can use in a dynamic content called, output at a later step. So, I'm going to add an array of cities. Next, we will add a new step and this time we'll add the data operations action for Join. We have two boxes to fill in here first, it wants to know where we are bringing the information from and we're going to bring that from our Compose action that we already did.

We do that by choosing the dynamic content that's called outputs right under the Compose item. We then put in the formatting that we want to Join each of those items with so remember in our Compose we have a list of cities. They only have a comma between them. When I finally output these, I want them to come out as the name of the city, and then the word “city” after them, followed by a comma. Don't forget to lead off with a space. Anything you type we'll end up here even if it's a hidden character like a space. 

Our next step is to add a condition control which we worked with earlier on. We're going to put in the condition control with a condition of the amount in stock being less than five. Going down the yes path we will put in an update item. We must put in our site address our list name an ID and a title. Everything else should be left empty except for the thing that you want to update. I'm going to update my status value to “Reorder”.

I then add an action to send an email with the subject of reorder items. In the body, using dynamic content, we say the following locations need manufacturers name and then model reordered. Underneath that I'm going to put the output from the Join command. Make sure you're using the right output and not using the one from the Compose like we did earlier.

Now the way we've written this it would cause a loop that would continue because it would go an update an item to say reorder if the stock amount was under 5. Power Automate notices that something was modified when the flow changed the status, so it starts again. So, we're going to use another data operation to limit how the trigger will work. Remember from an earlier lecture we put a condition on the trigger. At that time, we used an expression and I told you that I would tell you later an easy way to get those expressions.

We click on the menu for our trigger, and we go to settings. We then go down to the trigger conditions and click on add. Now you can type in an expression right here if you know how to do it. Let me show you how I find these expressions. Click on the + to add a new step and add the data operation of Filter Array. Using the Filter Array click on choose a value and put in our status value then click on is "not equal to” and enter in the word “Reorder”. Now here's where the magic happens just simply click on edit in advanced mode and copy the expression that you see there.

We go back into our trigger settings, and we paste that expression. Now this trigger will not fire if it finds that the status is already at reorder which will stop our loop from happening. You can now get rid of the Filter Array. We could also use the Filter Array somewhere down below if we wanted to filter out the output that we had from the Compose data operation where we wanted to just find the city of Tokyo for instance.

We then save our flow, and we go into our list. When we change any of these items to an amount less than five, and its status does not equal reorder, our flow will start. 

Let's look at the email that comes from our flow.

It looks like it was very successful it put the word city in a comma and a space for each one of the items that was in our array in the Compose data operation.

So, to sum it up, data operations are a great way to manipulate our data. Compose can take an array of terms and create an output item we can use later on. Join can take an array item and join them together with a different character, symbol, or words. And a Filter Array is not only a secret weapon that helps us to write expressions, but it can also filter items out of a whole array of information. 

Our next lecture will cover modifying your flow. 


About the Author

Ron is an experienced professional with in-depth expertise in SharePoint, Power Automate, Power BI, and Microsoft 365. He enjoys involvement in corporate presentations, training, change management, communications, marketing, and facilitation.

Ron brings this experience together to design SharePoint solutions that meet his client’s business, training, and collaboration needs. His skillset includes: Program Management, Change Management, SharePoint Site Administration and Architecture, Project Management, Graphic Design, and Technology Infrastructure Expertise. Ron is an expert skier and speaks Japanese as a second language.