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Kudo Kingpin
Kudo Kingpin

Find where a collection is referenced

Hi All,


I have a rather large powerapp with hundreds of objects. With in my app I have collection called "Collection1" which could be created or populated at numerous locations.

I have run into an issue where "Collection1" has been defined wrong somewhere withn my app which causes many of my galleries and buttons to show an error. 

I would like to find all instances of Collection1 so I can remove it. Is there a way to find everywhere where Location 1 have been referenced. This can currently be done with variables but I cannot see a way to do this with collections.

Memorable Member
Memorable Member

Yes, that would be very helpful. If we could have for collections the functionality that exists for the variables.

Community Support
Community Support

Hi @AnthonyPhan,


Do you want to find where the "Collection1" have been referenced as that within Variables in your PowerApps app?


If you want to find where the Collection1 have been referenced as that within Variables in your PowerApps app, I afraid that there is no way to achieve your needs in PowerApps currently.


If you would like this feature to be added in PowerApps, please submit an idea to PowerApps Ideas Forum:



Best regards,


Community Support Team _ Kris Dai
If this post helps, then please consider Accept it as the solution to help the other members find it more quickly.
Kudo Collector
Kudo Collector

@AnthonyPhan ,


If you didn't post your own idea, there is a similar here, if you haven't voted for it already.....


But until the PowerApps team gives us that capability, an alternative "workaround" when you've reached your wits' end is to save the app locally (aka Save as to "This computer") as an .msapp file.  Then change the downloaded file's extension to .zip.  Next unzip the file.  Finally, using the power text editor of your choice (e.g. Notepad++, Visual Studio Code), search against all files in the unzipped folder's contents for the name of your MIA collection.


It's a bit esoteric to dig through the "compressed" JSON and junk in the search results, but with a bit of turning your head sideways and using Google Translate to go from geek-speak to the (human) language of your choice, you can zero in on where the collection shows up in your app.


I can't find the original post of the person who taught me this trick, but credit goes to him/her. Just trying to share the knowledge.


Here is a screenshot of me hunting down a collection I had replaced with a newer collection but couldn't locate to cull.  I.e. I'm using VS Code pointed at the folder that came from the unzipped .msapp file/archive to search for coll_AllQuestions.  And another showing the actual entry in PApps studio...



Hunting Collections and Formula Text with VS Code.png








... and now located in PApps....

Hunting Collections and Formula Text with VS Code pt2.png



@DeeTronSEAM  fantastic solution!  Saved me a mighty headache.  Thanks for sharing.

Kudo Collector
Kudo Collector

In addition to the app as .zip export and hunt method I describe above, I've just come across the "PowerAppps Review Tool" available here: 


It allows you to export an app as an MSApp file and see all your functions, and it highlights what formulas/properties have been changed from the PApps default values.  You can export the report as JSON or HTML.  This is easier than the export as .ZIP and extract method I described.


Do be aware that the tool can APPEAR to hang (e.g. Not Responding) when you open your MSAPP file.   I.e. it can take SEVERAL minutes for the tool to chew through the app and generate the report.


Here (attached) is an example screenshot of a report:


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