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Clarify difference between key and primary field

I'm trying to load some data into CDS and am not quite sure about the difference between the key field and the primary name field. E.g., I have a simple table with ID, First_name, Last_name. Would ID (whole number) be the key field and Last_name (text) be the primary name field? Does the primary name field have to be unique?



Super User
Super User

Re: Clarify difference between key and primary field

Hi @kman42 

The key should be unique.  Every entity must have a primary name field but does not have to be unique and it doesn't have to be required.  However, PowerApps will create a unique field (GUID) automatically when data is added. to an entity.  It uses this field for enforcing relationships.  

Community Support Team
Community Support Team

Re: Clarify difference between key and primary field

Hi @kman42 ,


To learn about alternate keys:


And about primary field:

By default, every entity contains a Primary Field, which is used by lookup fields when establishing relationships with other entities. Typically the primary field stores the name or primary description of the data stored in the entity. You may update the name and display name of the primary field before saving the entity for the first time.

Also, observe that the primary field also has its own Name box, which functions similarly to the entity name described above. The primary field name is autopopulated when a display name is entered, uses the same prefix as the entity, and cannot be changed after the entity is created.


More information about how to integration in CDS, please refer to:




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

Re: Clarify difference between key and primary field

To add to the previous answers.

The primary key field will be a guid, and will be auto-generated by CDS (though it is possible to specify the value if you create the data programmatically), it must be unique, and can't be changed

The primary name field is a text field. By default this is a required field, but can be changed to non-required. Values do not need to be unique, though you can create duplicate detection rules to warn of duplicate values. If you want to generate a full name for the primary name, see

If you have a numeric field for an ID, you can create an autonumber field in CDS to give equivalent functionality to generate IDs, though note that autonumber fields in CDS are text fields, which allow you to apply formatting

Level: Powered On

Re: Clarify difference between key and primary field

Is there a way to assign the GUID on import to CDS (using dataflows) to link tables that are related in the source? I can't figure out how to import related tables and maintain the relationships in a way that can be refreshed regularly (daily).



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