Power Automate – The new cloud flow designer explained and how to switch back to classic

Microsoft recently launched its new and modernized (AI-powered) cloud flows designer. While it seems nice at first glance, there are still some issues with it. At least to my experience. Unfortunately, Microsoft has started to push this designer as default for every tenant, which means we have to cope with these issues. Or don’t we?

In this blog, I will explain what the new cloud flow designer offers and how to revert back to the classic cloud flow designer and enjoy the old-school way of working.

Classic vs. Modern

First of all, let’s sum up some of the things that have changed in the modern designer, so you know what you can’t use when reverting back to classic:


Of course, there is Copilot. With the Copilot panel, you can tell what you want to do and Copilot will try to do that for you.


The look-and-feel has also changed. Not only on the canvas itself, but also in the way actions and triggers are selected and configured.

For those of you familiar with Nintex; it looks a bit similar to Nintex’s designer. I can’t really tell if that’s a modernization or not. I guess it’s just a bit of getting used to.

Renaming actions

In the modern designer, you can rename your action from the configuration panel. Simply select the name from there and start typing. The good thing here is that it won’t allow you to type more than the maximum amount of characters. In the classic designer, you could type in as many as you wanted, but if there were too many you got an error message and you had to start over.

Dynamic content

They way that Dynamic content is being called has been put into the configuration panel on the left. When you add a new or select an existing action, this panel will show. Using the lightning icon, you can call on your Dynamic content. You can also type a slash (‘/’) and you will be provided with the choice for Dynamic content or an Expression.

Expression builder

The modern designer also comes with the new expression builder that Microsoft has announced a while ago. It is now multiline, which is nice. But when you select an expression (e.g. concat), it still won’t show explanation by default (the classic designer didn’t do this either). You will have to type in a comma (if supported by the expression) and remove it to show what it expects.

When you’re done writing your expression, simply click Add (or Update for an existing expression) and it will be added/updated to your action.

I hope Microsoft fixed the annoying issue in the classic designer that when you updated your expression and clicked the Update button, the expression sometimes didn’t get updated. I haven’t used it that much to provide any feedback on this.

There is also (still) no auto indent functionality available. So even though the editor is now multiline, it still is just one big chunk of text that will be hard to read for more complex expressions.

Current issues

At the time of writing, I’ve experienced some issues with this new cloud flow designer that doesn’t want me to (fully) make use of it:

  • It is slower, both in loading times and saving times, which seems to vary over the day. But not as much as the classic designer.
  • I think the look-and-feel isn’t that great, but maybe that’s just a matter of getting used to
  • Exiting the configuration panel can only be done by clicking the collapse icon (or by selecting another action/trigger). I would assume clicking anywhere in the canvas would collapse it too.
  • The Copy to clipboard functionality seems to be gone (at least, in my tenant), which is a huge loss for those who want to re-use actions.
  • The recipient lookup for the Send an email actions doesn’t seem to be working, so you will have to manually type in the email address
  • The HTML editor for the Send an email actions is missing, so you cannot define your own styling attributes into the body of your email
  • The differentiation between seeded (free) and premium (additional license needed) connectors isn’t visible, which makes it harder to identify from out the designer whether the flow needs an additional license or not.
  • Up until a week ago, you had the option to use the classic or modern designer from the Power Automate portal itself. But this option has now disappeared, sending you directly to the modern designer.

Revert to classic

If you are also not really satisfied (yet) with the modern designer (even though, there are some advantages) and want to use the classic designer instead, you can still simply do this for both creating and editing flows.

A new flow will always be created in the modern designer, just like editing a flow will open up in the modern designer. But there are two ways of reverting back to the classic designer:

  • Click the 3 dots in the top right and select Switch to classic designer

  • Look for the &v3=true suffix in the URL and change that to &v3=false, hit ENTER and you’re good to go

4 Replies to “Power Automate – The new cloud flow designer explained and how to switch back to classic”

  1. This new UI is NOT READY for primetime. Microsoft is dumb for forcing this new UI when there are plenty of issues with it.

    1. That’s quite a direct way to say it 🤗 I agree that it was not yet ready for GA and should’ve stayed in preview a while longer, but at the current time, they have fixed some of the bugs and improved the overall experience. Although I still use the classic editor because I like it better

  2. Thank you for this article! I was trying to finish a project this weekend and the new experience definitely slowed me down a bit as I tried to adjust to the new look. I too miss the “Copy to Clipboard” feature. I also didn’t see the symbol in the send an email step for customizing emails with html which is another feature I often use. Hopefully, MSFT will bring those back at some point. In the meantime, I prefer the classic experience. On a positive note, I think the extra space in the Expression editor is a plus.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I hadn’t tried the email actions yet, but I can see your point. No option for custom styling with custom HTML in the modern designer. I also noticed the recipient lookup isn’t working in the modern designer. I’ve updated my post. Thanks again!


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