How to Create Child Flows in Power Automate

Before we jump into how to create child flows in Power Automate, lets get some context. Power Automate is part of Office 365 and it allows users to create automated workflows and automation scenarios without writing code. Formerly known as Microsoft Flow, Power Automate is part of the Microsoft Power Platform and can be used to connect to a wide variety of different data sources and applications. 

With Power Automate, users can automate processes, repetitive or manual tasks and integrate data across different systems, applications, and services. It is a powerful and flexible platform for creating and managing workflows and process automation scenarios. In more complex workflows, we find it may become necessary to build child flows.

In this article, we’ll walk you step by step through how to create child flows in Power Automate.

What is a child flow?

A child flow is a type of automation that runs within another flow. Think of it like a sub-flow – it holds all of the steps necessary for completing a particular task and can be triggered from the parent flow. This makes it easier to manage complex automations and helps you keep your flows organised.

How to create a child flow in Power Automate

Though they address complex scenarios, creating a child flow in Power Automate is quite simple. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Log into your Microsoft 365 account and open Power Automate.
  2. Click on the ‘Flows’ tab at the top of the page and then click on ‘Create from blank’ to create a new flow.
  3. Name your flow and select the trigger you would like to use. This will be the starting point of your child flow.
  4. Add all of the steps necessary for completing the task you want your child flow to carry out.
A screenshot of the steps involved in how to create a child flow in Power Automate.
A screenshot of the steps involved in how to create a child flow in Power Automate.
A screenshot of the steps involved in how to create a child flow in Power Automate.
A screenshot of the steps involved in how to create a child flow in Power Automate.
  1. When you’re finished, click on ‘Save’ and then click on ‘Publish’ to make it available for use in other flows.
  2. Next, open up the parent flow in which you want to include your new child flow and click on ‘+ New Step’ at the bottom of the page.
  3. In the ‘Choose an action’ window, search for ‘Child Flow’ and select it from the list of results.
  4. Choose your newly created child flow from the drop-down menu that appears and click on ‘Add’.
  5. Lastly, click on ‘Save’ to save your changes and then click on ‘Run’ to test out your new child flow.
A screenshot of the steps involved in how to create a child flow in Power Automate.
A screenshot of the steps involved in automating workflows in Power Automate.

The different actions and triggers that can be used in a child flow

The actions and triggers that can be used in a child flow depend on the connectors that are available in Power Automate. However, most connectors support a common set of triggers and actions, which include: 



  • Create an item in a SharePoint list 
  • Send an email 
  • Create a file in OneDrive for Business 
  • Create a new record in Dynamics 365 
  • Update a record in a database 
  • Add a row to an Excel table 

These are just a few examples, and there are many other actions and triggers that can be used in a child flow. It’s important to note that the actions and triggers available in a child flow may be different from those available in a parent flow, depending on the connectors that are being used.

Best practices for using child flows

  • Plan your child flows carefully: Before creating a child flow, take the time to plan out what you want it to do, what inputs it will require, and what outputs it will generate. Having a clear plan in place will increase effectiveness. Your outputs are going to help with troubleshooting issues
  • Design child flows for flexibility: When designing child flows, aim for flexibility and versatility. Try to make your child flows as general-purpose as possible, so they can be used in multiple scenarios.
  • Keep child flows simple and focused: Avoid creating child flows that try to do too much, as this can make them more difficult to use and maintain. 
  • Use input and output parameters to pass data between the parent flow and the child flow: This makes it easier to use the child flow in different contexts and helps to make the flow more modular. 
  • Use error handling: This will catch and handle any errors that may occur. You can use the ‘Scope’ action to create a section of the flow that handles errors and retry logic. 
  • Test thoroughly: Before deploying your child flow, test it thoroughly to ensure that it works as expected. Make sure to test it in different scenarios to catch any edge cases that may not have been accounted for.
  • Document your child flows: Including what they do, what inputs they require, and what outputs they generate. This will make it easier for others to use and understand your flows, and it will also help with maintaining them over time. 
  • Use descriptive names and labels: Use for your child flows and their components to make it easier to understand their purpose and functionality. 
  • Avoid hard-coding values: This can make them less flexible and more difficult to modify later on. Instead, use input parameters to pass in values, or use dynamic values that are generated by other actions in the flow. 
  • Use appropriate authentication: Especially if they access sensitive data or perform actions on behalf of a user. For example, you may need to use a different authentication method for a child flow that accesses a SharePoint site than for one that accesses an external API. 
  • Monitor and maintain your child flows: This ensures that they continue to function properly and to make any necessary updates or modifications. This may include updating connectors or credentials, modifying input parameters, or adding additional error handling or logging.

Need a helping hand to create effective child flows in Power Automate?

Child flows can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of complex workflows. By breaking down large processes into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks, child flows allow for greater flexibility, modularity, and scalability in your automation projects. 

Furthermore, using child flows in Power Automate can help simplify your overall workflow design, improve debugging and troubleshooting, and promote collaboration among team members. To get the most out of child flows, it’s important to follow best practices to ensure that your child flows are easy to understand, maintain, and update over time. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, incorporating child flows into your automation projects can help streamline your processes, save time and effort, and ultimately improve the quality of your work. 

If you’d like assistance building workflows into your organisation, Propelle’s consultants are here to help. As Microsoft 365 specialists, we live and breathe Power Automate and know all the tricks to make sure your business gets the most out of the platform. We look forward to having a chat!