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Ashers82
Frequent Visitor

Selecting data source in powerapps - Excel, different folders etc

Dear All,

 

I'm sure I'm not the first to ask so I am sorry in advance but I can't locate an answer.

 

I have hundreds of customers that we provide annual maintenance check with, we currently have individual excel documents in individual folders on sharepoint.  The excel docs contain all the information from the previous visit like Model and Serial numbers etc.

 

I'd like to have a power app whereby an engineer can select the customer and the access their details so that they can be edited, viewed or added.

 

Can anyone please advise if this is possible OR if there's a slightly different approach that I can take to make this possible?

 

Kind Regards

Steve

1 REPLY 1
GarethPrisk
Super User II
Super User II

Canvas Power Apps will be limited for this approach, as you've likely seen.

  • Can reference an Excel file (via OneDrive) directly
  • Can reference SharePoint locations directly, but not necessarily use the files (such as Excel) within them as a data source for the PowerApp
  • Cannot reference Excel workbooks dynamically
  • Cannot read Excel files as data sources, directly

While you can technically leverage Power Automate to retrieve a file, convert it to into JSON, and then return that to the canvas app for read-only operations, that is a bit involved. Additionally, writing rows back (updating/adding) to the Excel file will be even more complicated.

This is compounded further because Excel is not a database, and should not be treated as one. It's extremely difficult to maintain integrity, consistency, and access to Excel files. Therefore, I would recommend that you consider moving the data into a true database.

  1. Dataverse (Common Data Service)
    • Best option, but there are licensing considerations
    • If you already have licenses and/or capacity, then use this
  2. SharePoint
    • Can create Lists for the appropriate tables
    • Security and data integrity is still a bit tricky, but possible
    • Included with most customer licenses already
  3. Other systems
    • Salesforce
    • SQL
    • etc.

You would just need to derive a basic data model, such as

  • Customer (Table)
    • Name (Column)
    • Phone (Column)
    • ...
  • Maintenance Check (Table)
    • Customer (Relationship)
    • Date
    • Model (could be a table itself, if needed)
    • Serial (could be a table itself, if needed)
    • ...

Once you've planned this out, then you can think about leveraging Power Automate to parse out your Excel files into the database (as designed). This way, you could run the Flow in-bulk and have it load the tables for you.

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