How to Initialize a Variable in Power Automate

Do want to use variables in your flow?

A variable is a container for storing data temporarily during a flow. One of the key aspects of using variables in Power Automate is initializing them.

Initializing a variable is a crucial first step in using them within your flow. This process assigns an initial value to the variable and defines its data type.

Once you have initialized a variable in Power Automate, you can easily update its value as needed.

This post is going to show you how to initialize a variable in Power Automate.

Key Takeaways

  • Initializing a variable in Power Automate is an essential step for creating and using variables within a flow.
  • The Initialize variable action allows you to assign an initial value and define the variable’s data type.

Understanding Variables in Power Automate

In Power Automate, variables are essential components used for storing and managing data within your flows. They allow you to maintain information and perform operations on that data throughout the flow execution.

There are several data types you can use for your variables in Power Automate. You will need to select the correct type depending on what data the variable will hold.

Data TypeDescription
StringA sequence of characters hello world
IntegerA whole number 123
FloatA decimal number 123.45
BooleanA value that is true or false
ArrayA collection of values ["A", "B", "C"]
ObjectA collection of key-value pairs {"A":1, "B":2}

It’s essential to ensure that the variable’s data type matches the data type of the value you want to assign to it. For example, you cannot assign a decimal number value to an integer variable.

Initializing a Variable with the Initialize Variable Action

In Power Automate, you can use the Initialize Variable action to create a new variable and set its initial value. To do this, follow these steps.

  1. Click on the New step button to add a new action to your flow.
  1. Search for Initialize Variable in the search bar.
  2. Select the Initialize variable action from the search list.

Configure the Initialize Variable action by providing the required information.

  1. Name: Enter a name for your variable, which will identify it throughout your flow.
  2. Type: Choose the data type of the variable, such as String, Integer, Float, Boolean, or Object.
  3. Value: Optionally, set an initial value for the variable. If this is left blank, the variable will have a null value.

After completing these steps, your variable is ready for use in your flow. You can now reference it in other actions, modify its value, or use it in expressions.

Remember that initializing a variable is a required step for creating any variable in your flow.

Updating a Variable Value with the Set Variable Action

Once a variable is initialized, you can use the Set Variable action to update the value of the variable during your flow’s execution.

All you need to do is add the Set variable action.

Choose the variable you previously initialized from the Name dropdown list, then add the new value or expression in the Value field.

For instance, you could update your variable to the current date with an expression.

Be mindful of variable types, and ensure the new value is compatible with the initialized variable’s type.

The Increment variable and Decrement variable actions can be a helpful way to update Integer type variables used as counters during a Apply to each loop.

💡 Tip: The Increment variable and Decrement variable actions can be a quick way to update Integer type variables used as counters during an Apply to each loop.


Initializing a variable is an essential step in storing and updating data during flow execution.

The Initialize variable action allows you to create a variable, give it a name, and set its data type and initial value.

You can then use the Set variable action in your flow to update the variable value.

Have you started using variables in your flows? Let me know in the comments!

About the Author

John MacDougall

John MacDougall

John is a Microsoft MVP and freelance consultant and trainer specializing in Excel, Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps and SharePoint. You can find other interesting articles from John on his blog or YouTube channel.

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