Can you resolve the column limitation of Microsoft Flow in SharePoint Online?

by | Oct 4, 2017 | Collaboration | 0 comments

Microsoft Flow is a SaaS application for automating workflows across the growing number of applications and SaaS services that business users rely on. Flow provides different templates to develop business applications that allow you to get notifications, synchronize files, collect data, and more. Microsoft even provides featured template collections for business areas such as marketing, human resources, or software development.

A process can be created to be triggered when a new item is created in SharePoint list or any item is updated. Currently there is a limitation with Flow when the list has 12 or more lookup columns.  The check will fail and you will receive the following error: “The query cannot be completed because the number of lookup columns it contains exceeds the lookup column threshold enforced by the administrator.” This threshold has been set by Microsoft and unfortunately cannot be changed at the time of this blog posting.

What classifies as lookup columns? Standard lookup columns, single-value managed metadata, multiple-value managed metadata, single-value people and group columns, multiple-value people and group columns, workflow status, created by, modified by (people).

Another important note – If the list was created before the SharePoint 2013 post June 2013 CU update then the threshold limit is 8 columns.

At this time, the only resolution is to use SharePoint Designer workflow to create the business application instead. We are hoping as the product continues to evolve, they will quickly work to resolve this limitation so you can leverage Flow to create these automated workflows between your favorite apps and services!  In the meantime, if you need assistance in creating workflows send us an email at or call 630.832.0075 to start the conversation.