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Set and Change Variable Values

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Change the value of a flow variable.
  • Use a variable to accept data from multiple sources.
  • Create multiple paths with individual Assignment elements.

This badge is one stop along the way to Flow Builder proficiency. From start to finish, the Build Flows with Flow Builder trail guides you through learning all about Flow Builder. Follow this recommended sequence of badges to build strong process automation skills and become a Flow Builder expert.

The Power of Change

Every time you store data in a flow, it’s practically perfect and never ever needs to be changed in any way, right? No, that’s pretty rare. Often, you retrieve record data in a flow, add to it, delete from it, or change it in other ways, and then send it back to the record it came from.

Pyroclastic’s Marketing and Enablement teams want to start using the shipping address for communications. Many accounts have the required billing address but no shipping address. Flo asks you to create a flow that asks users if they want to copy the billing address or enter a shipping address manually, and then updates the shipping address fields accordingly.

Diagram corresponding to the preceding flow description

It could be a simple record-triggered flow with a single Update Records element, but there’s a hitch. Remember when you updated case priority by setting the value of the Priority field? You had just one value for the Priority field.

Priority field value set to Severity 0.

In the shipping address scenario, the shipping address could come from the billing address or it could come from user input. Theoretically, the Update Records element would look like this:

Diagram showing the Shipping Address Value field with “Billing Address or user input, based on user’s choice” in a speech bubble

That won’t work. The Value field requires a single data source. It can’t use either the billing address or user input; it must be one or the other.

Instead, you need an intermediate holding place—a variable—that can accept a shipping address from either the billing address or user input.

Diagram showing a variable that accepts a billing address or user input and fills the Shipping Address Value field with it

And you need a way to determine whether the user chose to copy the billing address or manually enter an address, and act accordingly. You can use a Decision element for that. 

Then you can configure the Update Records element to set the Shipping Address values from the variable. But how do you set the value of the variable?

That’s where the Assignment element comes in. The Assignment element assigns the user’s desired address to the variable, so that the variable value can be used to update the Shipping Address fields.

The Assignment Element

To assign a value to a variable, you use the Assignment element. In the shipping address scenario, you change the value of a variable to update one field in one record, but the Assignment element can do much more.

A variable is like a lunchbox. While a lunchbox can store a variety of foods, a variable can store a variety of values. 

A clear food storage container, with a sandwich inside and a strip of tape on the side with the text My Lunch.

To set the value of a variable, you assign a value to it. For example: Priority equals Sev 0.

In the Assignment element, you set the value of a variable by specifying the variable and its value. Each assignment statement also includes an operator, which controls how the variable is updated. Consider this example.

An assignment statement in which the variable is priority, the operator is equals, and the value is Sev 0.

In this example, the Equals operator replaces the variable’s current value with the specified value. As a result, the Priority variable stores Sev 0 as its value.


In many elements (including the Assignment element), the Value field allows you to enter your own text, select existing resources in the flow, or mix the two together. For example, if you enter The color is {!colorFormula} in the Value field, and colorFormula is a formula that returns a value of “red”, the variable receives the value “The color is red”.

Build a Flow with Assignment Elements

Looking back at the shipping address flow that Flo requested, let’s build a screen flow that Flo can embed on the Account Lightning page and hide if the Shipping Address fields are filled in. 


You might not have learned about screen flows yet. For this example, we keep the screen simple, but if you want to know more, check out the Screen Flows badge.

Start by using what you learned in this badge and the Data and Actions in Flows badge to create a screen flow.

Create a Screen Flow and a Text Variable

  1. Create a flow and select the Screen Flow type.
  2. Create a text variable to receive the current record’s ID:
    1. API Name: recordId
    2. Data Type: Text
    3. Available for input: checked

In this exercise, we name the variable recordId for a specific reason. When a user runs a flow from an action button, Salesforce automatically looks for a variable in that flow called recordId and, if it finds one, gives the current record's ID to that variable. This special setup allows flows running from an action button to know which record the user is looking at when they click the button.

We aren't creating the action button in this exercise, but feel free to create one at the end. Check out the Add a Flow as an Action on a Record unit of the Screen Flow Distribution badge for more information.

Create Get Records, Screen, and Decision Elements

  1. Add a Get Records element to retrieve the current record’s details and store them in a record variable.
    1. Label: Get Account Data
    2. Object: Account
    3. Filter Condition Requirement: Id, Equals, recordId
    4. How Many Records to Store: Only the first record
    5. How to Store Record Data: Automatically store all fields
  2. Add a Screen element that prompts the user to copy the billing address or enter a shipping address.
    1. On the canvas, after the Get Account Data element, hover over Add Element  and click Add Element.
    2. Select Screen.
    3. For Label, enter Enter Address.
    4. From the Components panel, drag a Checkbox to the screen canvas.
      • For Label, enter Use the billing address for the shipping address.
      • For API Name, shorten the default name to Use_the_billing_address.
    5. Drag an Address component to the screen canvas below the checkbox.
      • For API Name, enter ScreenShipping.
      • For Label, enter Shipping Address.
        The screen canvas should look like this.

        The screen canvas corresponding to the preceding steps.
  3. Click Done.
  4. Add a Decision element to create different paths based on the user’s choice.
    1. Label: Use Billing Address?
    2. Outcome 1 Label: Selected
    3. Outcome 1 Condition Requirement: Use_the_Billing_Address, Equals, and {!$GlobalConstant.True}
    4. Default Outcome Label: Not Selected
    5. Click Close to close the side panel.
  5. Save the flow. For Flow Label, enter Set Shipping Address.

Your flow should look like this:

The Flow Builder canvas displaying the flow corresponding to the preceding steps.

Now you have a screen flow that allows the user to either copy the billing address or enter it manually. From whichever source the user chose, you need to copy the shipping address to the Get_Account_Data record variable. 

  • If the user chose to use the billing address, the flow assigns the values from the record variable’s billing address fields to its shipping address fields.
  • If the user chose to enter the shipping address manually, the flow assigns the values entered into the Enter Address screen to the record variable’s shipping address fields.

Next, you update the data in the Get Account Data element’s record variable (Account from Get_Account_Data). You’ll create two Assignment elements to set field values in that record variable: one to copy the billing address (in the Selected path), and one to copy data from the Enter Address screen element (in the Not Selected path).

Add an Assignment Element to the Selected Path

  1. In the Selected path, hover over Add Element  and click Add Element.
  2. Scroll to the Logic section and select Assignment.
  3. For Label, enter Copy Billing Address.
  4. For Variable, select Account from Get_Account_Data and then select ShippingCity.
  5. For Value, select Account from Get_Account_Data and then select BillingCity.
  6. Click +Add Assignment four times, so you have a total of five rows.
    You have to set each Address field individually, so you need one assignment row for each of the five address fields.
  7. Select these values in the added assignment rows:
    • Account from Get_Account_Data > ShippingCountry equals Account from Get_Account_Data > BillingCountry
    • Account from Get_Account_Data > ShippingPostalCode equals Account from Get_Account_Data > BillingPostalCode
    • Account from Get_Account_Data > ShippingState equals Account from Get_Account_Data > BillingState
    • Account from Get_Account_Data > ShippingStreet equals Account from Get_Account_DataBillingStreet

      Note: When an element has multiple rows, its assignments are performed in order.
  8. Click Close to close the side panel.
  9. Save the flow.

Add an Assignment Element to the Not Selected Path

  1. In the Not Selected path, hover over Add Element  and click Add Element.
  2. Scroll to the Logic section and select Assignment.
  3. For Label, enter Set Address from Screen.
  4. Click +Add Assignment four times, so you have a total of five rows.
  5. Select these values in the assignment rows:
    • Account from Get_Account_Data > ShippingCity equals ScreenShipping > city
    • Account from Get_Account_Data > ShippingCountry equals ScreenShipping > country
    • Account from Get_Account_Data > ShippingPostalCode equals ScreenShipping > postalCode
    • Account from Get_Account_Data > ShippingState equals ScreenShipping > province
    • Account from Get_Account_Data > ShippingStreet equals ScreenShipping > street
  6. Click Close to close the side panel.
  7. Save the flow.

Now the flow assigns values to the record variable’s shipping address fields. But you still need to get that shipping address back into the account record. The Assignment element doesn’t actually save the new values to the record. You need an Update Records element to do that. Create an Update Records element after the Selected and Not Selected paths merge back into one path.

Update the Account Record

  1. After the two Assignment elements on the flow canvas, add an Update Records element.
  2. For Label, enter Update Account.
  3. For How to Find Records to Update and Set Their Values, keep Use the IDs and all field values from a record or record collection.
    On the Update Records element, this setting updates the record from a record variable. The element uses the record variable’s ID field to determine which record to update, and updates that record’s fields to match the variable’s fields.
  4. For Record or Record Collection, select Account from Get Account Data.
  5. Save the flow.

That’s it! You built a flow that uses five types of elements. 

  1. The Get Records element (Get Account Data) gets the current account record’s field values.
  2. The Screen element (Enter Address) prompts the user to either enter a shipping address or copy the billing address.
  3. The Decision element (Use Billing Address?) determines what the user chose and creates a path for each possibility.
  4. The two Assignment elements make changes to the shipping address fields in the Get Account Data record variable, either copying the billing address to the shipping address (Copy Billing Address) or copying the manually entered information to the shipping address (Set Address from Screen).
  5. And finally, the Update Records element (Update Account) commits the changed values in the record variable back to the current account record.

The Flow Builder canvas displaying the flow corresponding to the preceding steps.

You may be wondering what else Assignment elements can do. Well, read on.


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