PowerApp customizations

In my last blog post, you learned how easy it is to quickly create your first app. In this follow-up blog I want to show you how you can make some basic customizations to the app that was created in the previous post.

You can find my previous blog here:

What’s covered

In this post we are going to quickly cover the following customizations:

  • Renaming
  • Currency Formatting
  • Default properties

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In this first image we can see that the name of the title on the screen has an underscore instead of a space. Secondly, we see that the default value of the expense amount is not consistent. We are going to quickly update each of these items.

Renaming controls:

  • First, select the title. This can be done by either clicking the title directly or by finding the text input control from the left navigation bar.
  • Secondly, select text from the drop down list of properties on the control selected, this may be the default property.
  • Finally, update the text value in the formula bar. Replace the underscore with a space.

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Customizing currency formatting

Now we are going to update the currency formatting. To update formatting we are going to use the Text function and we will once again be working in the formula bar.

  • Select the control currently displaying the expense amount. Once again, you can select this control directly from the app or select the control from the Left Navigation bar.
  • Make sure Text is selected from the drop down properties box, this should be the default selection.
  • Update the formula bar to format the output text, see code below image.

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The formula is Text(ThisItem.Total, “$#,###.00”), see image below:

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Setting Default Values

The final customization we will make is to set default values, this will make working and interacting with the app a much better experience. For example, the date will always default to the current date when adding new expenses.

I’m going navigate to appropriate screen by selecting the EditScreen1 from the Left Navigation bar, this will take me to the edit screen where we can edit existing records or create new records. This behavior of being able to edit or create new records is done through the Edit Form control. The form control is slightly unique because the controls inside the edit form are stored in cards and those cards are Locked! Let’s unlock the card so we can customize it:

  • First, select the card control from the Left Navigation bar.

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    • Next, navigate to the properties window found on the right side of the screen and select Advanced, in the advanced properties click Unlock to change properties. This will now unlock the card so that we can edit the controls.

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  • Next, select the date picker control.

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  • Finally, update the formula for DefaultDate to simply Now(). As you can see in the screenshot below, the date of the date picker control will now default to the current date whenever a new record is being added in the app!

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As always, thanks for reading my blog.

Creating your first PowerApp in 10 minutes!

Microsoft PowerApps is a canvas based application for creating line of business applications. In other words, you can create an app for your organization by using a drag an drop interface! Personally, I love the capabilities and ease of use of PowerApps. What makes PowerApps even cooler is the fact that you can build apps really really quickly!

In this first blog post of many on working with PowerApps I want to focus on creating an app that has little to no customizations. This post will focus on a step by step approach to creating your first app. We are going to use an option in PowerApps that will build an app for us, using our data. Yes! Build the app for us! We could customize this and make it our own and there is a lot we can do but I want to get you started so we want to keep this first post simple.

To build our app we need a data source. For this example I am going to use a SharePoint list to keep it simple. If you want to use data stored on-prem this requires slightly more work, not much, but slightly more and so I will come back to this in a future blog post.

Let’s discuss the steps we will take to build our first app:

  1. Create the data source and populate it with sample data.
  2. Log into web.powerapps.com and create a connection to our data.
  3. Create a new app using the option: Create from data.
  4. SAVE APP!

It’s really that simple! Now let’s take a look at the data source.

Using SharePoint as a data source for PowerApps

In the below image you can see I have created a SharePoint list called Expense_Blog and I have added five columns. I then populated the list with a single row of data so I would have some sample data to preview my app with. I prefer to always start with sample data as I have found this makes building and customizing the app easier.

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Creating a Data Connection in PowerApps

Open up your browser and connect to www.powerapps.com. From the left navigation pane, expand data and the click connections.

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This will open up a window with all the connections you have already created. To create a connection to SharePoint, click + New Connection.

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Select SharePoint from the list of available connections:

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Once you select SharePoint you will be prompted to enter your credentials, and this will create the connection to SharePoint. Next, navigate to the home tab, then hover over Start from data and click Make this app.

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Clicking Make this app will launch create.powerapps.com. Once launched you will be asked to connect to your data. Select SharePoint.

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Now you need to connect to the specific SharePoint site where your list has been stored. My list has been stored in my PowerApps99 site.

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Select your list from the options available and then click CONNECT. After you click connect your app will be created. You will get a pop up screen, you can just click SKIP for now.

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The created app comes with three screens.  A display screen, a details screen, and an edit screen. As you can see below the display screen will show all of our current expenses, unfortunately it’s not showing the columns we want to see. I’m going to show you how to use the GUI to customize the display screen to show the correct columns.

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To customize the display gallery, take a look at the below animated gif. Essentially I select the gallery, then go into the properties and update the columns.

ExpenseApp

Now let’s test our our new app by previewing it. Click on the play icon at the top right to preview the app. Take a look at the animated gif below:

ExpenseApp_Play

The last step is to save the app. Click File –> Save as –> The Cloud –> Blog Expense App –> Save!

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Thanks for reading.

PowerApps–Getting Started

WHOOAAA! PowerApps are awesome! Welcome to this new series I’m starting on PowerApps, this first blog will be a quick one to introduce you to PowerApps and help get you started.

Have you ever wanted to design your own app? Your options with PowerApps are literally endless… maybe you want to build a budget app, a shopping list, a game, or even a checklist. Buildings these apps are not only possible,  it’s also much easier than you can imagine. In no time you will be building your own apps from scratch using Microsoft PowerApps! Here is an example of a really nifty app I built in less than an hour to help score a board game we like to play called Ticket to Ride. Take a quick look at the screenshots below (Animated GIF provided at end of this blog):

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The “low-code” canvas app

Microsoft PowerApps is a “low-code” canvas based application that requires minimal coding. The coding that you do write is very basic and shares a lot of similarities with excel functions! That’s right, if you have written an expression in excel then you are half way to writing code in PowerApps.

What do you need to get started?

So what do you need to get started? First , you need a license to access Power Apps, fortunately if you have Office 365 you may already have a license! If not, you can sign up for a free trial of an E3 Microsoft Office Account.

  • Sign up for a new trial account here:
  • Enter your required information and then select Create my account.
  • Once you complete setting up your account you will receive a signin, this will be used for logging into Power Apps and Flow.

Next, you need to sign up for PowerApps

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  • Use the signin from your E3 Office 365 account here.

Finally, you need to create a test environment

  • Navigate to the admin center. Click the settings cog and then select Admin Center:

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  • Next, click new environment
  • Give your environment a name, select a region, and environment type
  • Select the Join preview program box.
  • Create environment
  • Create database – > Choose currency and language options.
  • Select Include sample apps and data and then create the database by clicking Create Database.

Congratulations! You’re ready to start creating your own apps!

Thanks for checking out my blog, in future blog posts in this series I will show you how to quickly build apps so check back often!

Here is the animated GIF of the Ticket to Ride scoring app I created using PowerApps:

Ticket to Ride