What the Heck is a Scope in Microsoft Flow

If you’re reading this, I am assuming you already know that Microsoft Flow is the future and replacement of workflows in SharePoint.  It is an extremely powerful process automation and integration platform helping to bridge the gap between many Microsoft services and many others. 

As you start writing flows and reviewing the interface, you will start creating actions and conditions as those are intuitive.  You want to DO something, use an action.  You want to check IF you should do something, use a condition.  Got it.  But you soon notice this other option called “Add a Scope”.  What does that do?

With workflows in SharePoint 2010/2013/2016/Online via SharePoint Designer, you know that like Flow, there are actions and conditions and what you call a “Step”.  This was basically just a way to organize and group your actions and conditions together. 

SharePoint workflow steps

Guess what, that’s exactly what a Scope is in Microsoft Flow. It’s just a simple way to put similar actions and conditions together like a Stage.  This is helpful because not only does it help make it easier to read, but you can expand and collapse it.

Microsoft Flow what is a scope

This is all great, but there’s one caveat (at least at this time).  In Flow you can group normal conditions and actions into the scope EXCEPT Initialize Variables.  If you do, you get this error:

Microsoft Flow error scope an initialize variable action can only be at the top level

“An initialize variable action can only be at the top level”

I have no idea why they don’t allow this, but you can up vote for this in the Flow Community.  We are hopeful this will change as putting variables in a scope is one of the main set of actions we would like to collapse and group together! 

If you need any help with building Microsoft Flows or PowerApps, reach out to us!