Previously, we learned how to configure steps and actions. In this article, we’ll be going over how you can reuse the user inputs that you collected in the steps in your process.

The collected information from previous steps can be displayed in other steps and also be sent to databases or systems within your organization.

The mechanism for achieving that is called "data references"!

How does it work

When we say data reference, we’re referring to a dynamic placeholder* in your process. When a step in the process is activated, the data reference will come from the information given in a previous step and be provided as a value.

For example, if someone enters their name in step one, step two might use a data reference in an email where the name that was provided in step one is used.

You can use data references in many ways:

  • in an action step to display data in an instruction

  • in an integration, step to send data to a third-party system

  • in a decision step

How to use data references

You can use a reference by first including the data that needs to be referenced in a previous step, for example as a text input action. This will be visible in later steps when you see the curly brackets in an action or integration step configuration:

This will open a dropdown menu where all available references from previous steps are displayed. This dropdown is also searchable, which is helpful when you have longer processes with many possible data references.

💡 you can also open the dropdown by typing the curly bracket symbol in the text box

Formatting Options

When selecting references you will have the choice between 2 options: JSON and plain

This is useful for integration steps when sending data to other tools. Please refer to the documentation of the target system to understand how your data should be formatted.

Below you can find a list of how the JSON option looks and how the plain option looks.

For Inputs that are not listed here, both options look exactly the same.

Text and String Inputs

The JSON option yields a properly formatted JSON string including properly formatted line breaks and special characters. The target system will understand this formatting and translate it into a human-readable format

This is an example text with linebreaks\n\nand \"double quotes\"

The plain option results in a human-readable text and should not be used in integration steps

This is an example text with linebreaks

and "double quotes"

Multi-Value Dropdown and Checklists

The examples are based on the "itemsSelected" and "itemsChecked" reference. All other references for these inputs look equivalent.


["Option A", "Option B"]


Option A, Option B

File and Image Uploads

The examples are based on the "files" and "images" reference. For the "firstFile" reference there is no difference between JSON and plain.


["", ""]

plain", "

User Response Variables

You can also define your own data references based on response values from an Integration Step.

Learn more here

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