Category Archives: Power Platform

Power BI Buttons with Pop ✨ – Aka Unicode and Unichar

Did you know that the human brain processes images up to 60,000 times quicker than text? I haven’t been using Power BI for a little, but it occured to me that it would be nice to have Buttons that were a little more visually appealing. Maybe the πŸ“Œor πŸ“† icons could come in handy? This post shows you how simply you can do this using unicode.

Whilst the above statistic can be disputed it is undoubtedly the case that it’s quicker and the investement of companies into logos of all shapes and sizes suggests that there is an economic value to logos. Check out some stats here

Best Brand Logos Images With Names Collections | Logo images, Logo ...

Unicode provides us with a massive catalogue of 1600 or so images that we can use in our Power BI reports AND our apps. So let’s consider the steps required for them to work in Power BI and apply it to a button

  1. Create a Measure
  2. Add the following to the measure
Txt Filters Navigation = "Filters "&Unichar("128505") --This is a checkbox

3. Create a button
4. Go to the text properties of the button

5. Hit the fx
6. Select the measure you just created

7. Save and close
8. Go to the Action property of the visual, Select Page Navigation and Select the page required
8. That’s it – you’re done!

The image portfolio is very significant and well worth a review. I have catalogued them at the end of this post and down below is another example, this time showing a colour version

Good luckπŸ˜ƒ

Power Apps, Dataflex and Project Oakdale

Did you know that Project Oakdale is the temporary name for what was until a week or so ago Dataflex for Teams? This is the one where we get a Database plus Power Apps rolled into our Teams licensing. It’s going to be BIG.

It feels like when Prince started calling himself a symbol and so everybody else started saying “The Artist formerly known as Prince”.

Clearly, it’s not ideal, but we will be getting a new name before too long, so watch this space.

In the meantime, please refer yourself to this post here to remind yourself of all the goodness that we are expecting using the product in the future. Every time you read Dataflex, you’ll need to think Oakdale, and in the not too distant future something completely different πŸ™‚

You can also take a look about what we know about the project as it currently stands.

There actually quite a useful post by Mar Mercuri on the Microsoft site setting out a little detail on the product. You can find this here.

Geospatial Maps using Power Apps

Did you know you can create Geospatial Maps using Power Apps? You have to twiddle a few settings, but It’s a lot easier that you think.

It has all the usual things we would expect such as zoom control and satellite versus road view and there’s also an option to cluster the pins.

To follow through the video you’ll need to get hold of the spreasheet I’ve made available at

Other than that, sit back and watch the fireworks start!

In order to have full control of the environment you’ll need to be an environment admin. Personally, I would recommend anyone serious about the power platform to get their own tenant. Microsoft don’t ask me to say this, it’s just that I did it a few years ago and it changed my life.

To get your own tenant you can follow through the following video on PowerApps4Kids. This means that you’re a global admin (super user) and you won’t be restricted in any way.

If this isn’t to your liking you can get a Power Apps community plan, which ironically means you are the only person that can ever use the plan – it’s a personal enviroment. To do that all you need to do is click the button below.

Power Apps If and Switch functions

If and Switch are two closely related formulas. As they are fundamental to creating conditional behaviour, they are also fundamental to being successful with Power Apps. Basically, you need to learn them!

Roughly speaking you’ll use if in the following circumstances:-

  • There are 2 outcomes
  • The if condition is based on a number of factors such as if(ThisItem.Title = “Hello” && ThisItem.Value>10,Red,Blue)

Switch is helpful if you are just looking at 1 field but would like to do different things based on the value in the field.

In the example if the formula was placed on a button inside a gallery we could use the button to navigate to different screens. “Hello” takes us to the Hello Screen, and “World” navigates us to the World screen


In the video below I demonstrate how to use If and Switch

You can head over to the Microsoft Docs to take a detailed look by clicking below.

Good luck – and keep Power Apping!

Microsoft Dataflex and Dataflex Pro

Today, to coincide Microsoft Inspire 2020 a fundamental development of the “Common Data Service” was announced. Firstly the Common Data Service is being renamed as Dataflex Pro, and and a NEW product has been created called Dataflex.

An Introduction to Dataflex and Dataflex Pro

So what is Dataflex?

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is just a ploy to address some of the confusion that has surrounded the original naming of the Common Data Service, but in this case there is quite a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Firstly, the Common Data Service is coming to Teams. Under the hood this means each Team has the right to 1 Dataflex Environment. An environment is essentially a container for both Data, Data Model, Apps and Power Automate Flows.

The integration within Teams is fundamental as you can author your apps within Teams, and deploy them directly to your team without leaving the teams experience. On one level this might seem trivial, however it does create a very streamlined process for creating productivity tools.

Why is this important?

Because up until now the only “free” data source for Teams members has been Sharepoint, which for all that it has been successful, is based on some quite old technology, born on-premise nearly 20 years ago.

When building apps we feel sharepoint pain in the following ways:-

  • Our ability to filter large datasets is limited
  • Sharepoint is not a relational database, which can be problematic when linked to the above
  • There are only a limited number of field types available to us
  • The security model can be cumbersome, and frankly unable to provide the necessary permissions
  • Sharepoint does not include simple Development, Test and Production scenarios.
  • The “grow up” story to move an application from Sharepoint onto other data platforms is problematic
  • Sharepoint does not contain the same trigger types for Power Automate as does Dataflex

How do I create an App?

Well – whilst Dataflex is in private preview the best I can offer at this stage is a look at the Dataflex Pro experience (I’ll be calling it the Common Data Service). Dataflex is a much more sanitised and cleaner version of what I’m demonstrating below.

For a much more trivial app, you can take a look here – in this app we don’t use any data at all.

Do I get anything else?

Actually yes. Surprisingly you have access to Bots, essentially virtual agents that you program in a low-code way that enable people IN YOUR TEAM ONLY (in this case) to get answers to the questions that they have.

We are also expecting to get Power BI integration in due course.

Is there a catch?

I’m afraid so, you’re limited to 1m rows of data and 2 GB of storage.

To get this into perspective, the entire works of Shakespeare fit onto an app that weighs only 10mb, the size of a medium to large photo. So for many teams they will never feel any ill effects from these limitations.

Additionally, the teams environment is limited to Teams members. By all accounts guest access does exist, but we need to learn more about this.

You get 1 environment per team, so no scope for Dev, Test and Prod.

You may not get ALL data types, but this remains to be seen.

Why bother upgrading to Dataflex Pro

The easiest way of explaining this is that Dataflex pro is just a renamed version of the Common Data Service, which is in turn Dynamics Customer Engagement, which has been around for many years and is used by organisation such as Coca Cola. What this means is you get a tried and tested ENTERPRISE GRADE platform with all the complex security measures, multiple clients, full Application Management Lifecycle, all data types, virtual entities, business rules and business logic and full integration with the Azure stack.

You should also bear in mind that you can upgrade directly from Dataflex to Dataflex pro.

In many respects the aim of the product is to enable the data platforms available to Teams grow up significantly. Sharepoint lists have been for many years data repositories for organisations, in spite of all their limitations, however Sharepoint was never made to have been extended to the extent that has been the case.

It’s worth noting that there are some instances where DataFlex pro licensing is seeded to users by virtue of some arrangements such as Dynamics 365, so this feature is worth bearing in mind.

So how does old Common Data Service fit into all of this?

The Common Data Service lives on, and is subject to a name change and the licensing has not been altered, so keep doing what you are doing in that space.

I’ve heard about Microsoft Lists – what’s all that about?

Essentially Microsoft Lists are Sharepoint Lists repackaged with quite a nice front end with Microsoft App on Mobile and tablet that sits in alongside Excel and friends. Ultimately, they will always be Sharepoint lists for good or ill, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be effective with them. You can find out more below:-

Where can I find out more?

Sign up for the blog here – I’ll be keeping on top of this.

Also – go and check out the Power Apps Blog post here.

Good Luck – and keep Power Apping.

Power Apps Component Framework Gallery

Did you know that there’s a place you can go to download PCF creations made by the community? It’s called the PCF Gallery.

To get there you need to click on the button below:-


I’ll be honest with you that our ability to filter the controls available are limited, notably it’s not that easy to filter between model driven and canvas app controls.

It’s also worth noting that there are some icons that offer guidance as to the type of control under review.


Typically, when you try and download a control you are sent to github, to the repository of the author and, depending on the control there are a range of ways of downloading the item.

They actually do a good job of having videos to sell the value of the control. This one is quite a nice one.

Interestingly they don’t show you anywhere how to install the apps however these resources is at least helpful for installing them from the site.

Good luck with your PCF journey – let me know how you get on.

Should Accountants become Microsoft Power App Developers or Lion Tamers?

Accountants as Power App Developers

Microsoft have recently started badging PowerApps plus Power BI plus Power Automate as the Power Platform. As an ex-accountant turned Power Platform developer I have started to consider the skills that my accounting life has given me, how they apply to the accounting profession generally and also the areas accountants might actually find difficult when it comes to solution development. A word of warning – I probably won’t go into the Lion taming bit very much in this article. I’m sure that there’s a self help group out there for you…

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