Flow: Working around the lookup column threshold limit

Microsoft Flow is a very powerful and useful tool. Flow provides reliable solutions for automating processes and supporting business solutions. Flow can synchronize, collect and create data and much more. When creating a Flow that is connected to a SharePoint List you might encounter one of the limits of Flow. In this blog post I will explain how to work with the lookup column threshold limit.

What is the lookup column threshold limit?

The lookup column threshold limit it the maximum number (12) of lookup columns you can collect using an action or trigger in Flow. When you go over this limit you will receive the following error.

“The query cannot be completed because the number of lookup columns it contains exceeds the lookup column threshold enforced by the administrator.”

The threshold limit is set by Microsoft and cannot be changed. The reason this limit exists is to make sure the performance of the Flow is up to standards. You can also encounter this limit in PowerBI, but this post only focus on Flow.

The Lookup columns are

  • Lookup
  • Managed metadata (single and multi-value)
  • People and group (single and multi-value)
  • Workflow status
  • Created by (people and group)
  • Modified by (people and group)

Working around the limit

When using an action to collect data from a SharePoint list you can limit the gathered columns by selecting a view in the action.

  • Add the Get Items action.
  • Click on Show advanced options.
  • Select the view with the required columns (less than 12 lookup columns).
  • For certain SharePoint triggers you can also do this.

Microsoft Flow: Advanced Conditions

The interface for building Microsoft Flow is great and an incredible amount of configuration can be done through the interface without coding. If the required configuration is not available through the interface you can always try the advanced mode. For a flow solution I needed to create a few advanced conditions, I was able to create them using the advanced mode. In this blog post I will explain how to create custom conditions and show where you can find all the available functions.

  • Check if a field is empty.
  • Check if multiple fields are not empty.
  • Check if multiple fields are equal to Yes and a field is not empty.

More information about the functions can be found here and here.

Check if field is empty

  • Create a Flow that is connected to a SharePoint list.
  • Add the condition action.
  • Rename the condition to Condition – If Field name is empty.
  • Select the field and click on Edit in advanced mode.
  • The code for the selected condition is now visible.
  • Change the equals function empty and remove  the ‘ and ” at the end.
  • The condition should now look as follows.
    @empty(triggerBody()?['MediaServiceAutoTags'])

Check if fields are not empty

It’s also possible to compare multiple fields, for example if multiple fields are not empty. For my solution I needed to make sure all the required formation was provided by the user before sending an email notification. In this example the condition checks if SupplierName and VendorNumber are not empty.

  • Create a Flow that is connected to a SharePoint list.
  • Add the condition action.
  • Rename the condition to Condition – If Field name is not empty.
  • Select the field and click on Edit in advanced mode.
  • The code for the selected condition is now visible.
  • Copy the code to your favorite editor.
  • We will use the functions not and empty to find out if the fields contains data.
    @not(empty(triggerBody()?['SupplierName']))
    
  • Then combine the code for both fields with the and function.
    @and(not(empty(triggerBody()?['SupplierName'])),not(empty(triggerBody()?['VendorNumber'])))

Check on multiple fields

In this example the condition checks if the fields InfoCompleteNotificaction and VenderFilledNotificaction are equal to Yes and if VendorNumber is not empty.

  • Create a Flow that is connected to a SharePoint list.
  • Add the condition action.
  • Rename the condition to Condition – If Fields are Yes and VendorNumber is not empty.
  • Select the field and click on Edit in advanced mode.
  • The code for the selected condition is now visible.
  • Copy the code to your favorite editor.
  • We will be using the function and, equals, not and empty.
  • The condition should now look as follows.
    @and(equals(triggerBody()?['InfoCompleteNotificaction'], 'Yes'),equals(triggerBody()?['VenderFilledNotificaction'], 'Yes'),not(empty(triggerBody()?['VendorNumber'])))
    

PowerApp Search and Filters

In PowerApps we often show lots of information and a good PowerApp will provide the user with the ability to find the relevant data quickly. We can do this by providing the user with search and filter capabilities. Therefore it not a surprise to me that I get many questions about searching in PowerApps. In this blog I will show various examples of search and filter solutions. I created a small PowerApp to support all the examples.

Small PowerApp

  • Create a SharePoint list called FAQ with the columns Title and Priority as a single line of text.
  • Create a Canvas PowerApp.
  • Connect the PowerApp to the FAQ list.
  • Add a gallery and connect it to the FAQ list.
  • Create a dropdown control for the filter.
  • Create a text input control for the search box.
  • Create the PrioFilterOptions on the OnStart of the Home_Screen.
    ClearCollect(PrioFilterOptions, "", "1", "2","3")
    
  • Connect the PrioFilterOptions to the dropdown control.
  • Add the following items to the FAQ list.
    • Title: Question 1, Priority: 1
    • Title: Question 2, Priority: 2
    • Title: Question 3, Priority: 3

Filter using contains

The most frequently  asked question is; How can I search using contains? It’s possible to search like this by using the in operator. In all my examples I will be using the in operator.

Filter( Table, value in Field )

Filter with a search box

A search box is a text input control, we can use this control as a search box.

Filter(FAQ, Home_Search_Inputbox_SearchBox.Text in Title)

Filter with a dropdown

Filter(FAQ, Home_Search_DropDown_FilterPrio.Selected.Value in Priority)

Filter with a searchbox and a dropdown

This example has a little issue, after selecting a dropdown value you can no longer filter only by using the search box. If you select the empty value then the filter will use that as a filter value.

Filter(FAQ, Home_Search_DropDown_FilterPrio.Selected.Value in Priority && Home_Search_Inputbox_SearchBox.Text in Title)

Filter with a searchbox and a dropdown (when not empty)

In this example the user is able to ‘deselect’ the chosen option from the dropdown. I recommend always using this example when using a dropdown filter.

If(IsBlank(Home_Search_DropDown_FilterPrio.Selected.Value),
Filter(FAQ, Home_Search_Inputbox_SearchBox.Text in Title),
Filter(FAQ, Home_Search_DropDown_FilterPrio.Selected.Value in Priority && Home_Search_Inputbox_SearchBox.Text in Title))

 

Office 2016: Outlook My Templates

Today I want to briefly talk about the My Template feature in Outlook. This  great add-in makes it very easy to create simple templates for emails. I used the old way (see below) but this was not very user-friendly. With the new feature you can create and use simple templates with a very user-friendly  interface. The major difference is that we cannot add images in these templates, perhaps this well be added in the future.

Create a template

  1. Create a new email.
  2. Click on View templates
  3. Click on + Template
  4. Type the information for the template and save the template

Use a Template

  1. Create a new email.
  2. Click on View templates and select the template
  3. If needed add more information and send the email

Old way: Create a Template

  1. Create a new email.
  2. Type the information for the template (e.g., all the standard information).
  3. Click File and choose Save as.  Specify the template File name and Save as file type Outlook Template (.oft).  Be sure to save it in the default location for Microsoft Templates.
  4. Close the email and do not save it when prompted.

Old way: Use a Template

  1. Choose New Items | More Items | Choose Form.
  2. In the Look In: box, select User Templates in File System
  3. Select the form you wish to use and click Open
  4. You can now type the needed information and click Send.

Office 365: PowerApps Examples of often used formula

Microsoft PowerApps is part of Office 365 and provides users the ability to create and use mobile apps that are connect to data within and even outside of Office 365. PowerApps is a very powerful tool to help users on a day by day basis to do more, faster and easier. Every user can create basic PowerApps that can be used within in minutes, but the best Apps need a bit of customization.

PowerApps uses formulas, similar to Excel formulas, to create the desired behavior, design and interactions. In this blogpost I will share a couple of very useful customization, which we will be using quick often.

Search in a gallery

The default solution for search is that the value entered in the search box will search in the title field of the data in the gallery. This will already work when you created the PowerApp based on a SharePoint list

  1. Insert a Text input element
  2. Set the hint text to Search for items
  3. Set the default value to blank
  4. Set the Items property of the gallery to
    Filter([Name of datasource], StartsWith(Title, TextSearchBox1.Text)
    
  5. The complete default code with sort funtion on the title field is as follows. You can use this if you have a button called SortDescending1.
    SortByColumns(Filter([Name of datasource], StartsWith(Title, TextSearchBox2.Text)), “Title”, If(SortDescending1, Descending, Ascending))

Search on multiple fields

For searching on multiple fields it is easier to use the search function than the filter function. It is possible to do it with the filter function but it will become a very long and complicated formula.

  1. Insert a Text input element
  2. Set the hint text to Search for items
  3. Set the default value to blank
  4. The syntax of searching on multiple field is as follows
    Search( Table, SearchString, Column1 , Column2, … )
  5. Set the Items property of the gallery to
     Search(Tabel1_1, TextSearchBox1.Text, Title, Description)

Filter a gallery

Many PowerApp will use filters to provide users with a fast way to find the required data.

  1. Insert a Drop down control
  2. Name the drop down ddStatusFilters
  3. Connect the drop down to the status options, I will connect it to a collection called StatusFilters
  4. Create a collection called StatusFilters, that will be created on the Onvisible property of the screen
    ClearCollect(StatusFilters,{Status:”New”},{Status:”Approved”},{Status:”Rejected”})
  5. Set the Items property of the drop down to
    StatusFilters
  6. Set the Items property of the gallery to
    Filter([Name of datasource], ddStatusFilters.Selected.Value = Status)

Filter and search combined

  1. Create a search control and a filter control, see examples Search in a gallery and Filter a gallery
  2. Change the Items property of the gallery to
    Filter(SpecialistRequests, ddStatusFilters.Selected.Value in Status || TextSearchBox1.Text in Title)
  3. This will filter the status field on the selected filter in the drop down and filter the title field on the text in the search box.

Hide fields based on a condition

Field can be hidden based on a condition, this will help you make the form of a app more dynamic and easier to use. In this example we will hide the comment field if the status is new.

  1. Open the EditForm
  2. Change the Visible property of the Comment field to
    StatusDataCardValue.Text<>”New”
  3. StatusDataCardValue is the name my DataCardValue assosiated with the Status field.

Office 365: Microsoft StaffHub

Microsoft StaffHub is a tool within Office 365 and you can start using it for your planning. Microsoft StaffHub is a cloud-based platform that works across all your devices. It enables firstline workers and their managers to manage time, communicate with their teams, and share content. The tool give you an easy and straight forward solution to created shifts for different groups and inform them what to do. You can create shift, request vacation or request shift swaps, communcate with the team and all by using the mobile phone!

Create shifts

Export to PFD or Excel

Requests

Communicate

Assign tasks

Add file or URL