Everything You Need to Know about Power Platform – April 2021

Greetings true believers! April has everything from Power Apps printing to spiffy new connectors, and even smarter AI. Sorry, I am a day late but thankfully not a dollar short. My kids had soccer (football for the rest of world) tournaments all weekend and…. I am just behind. It happens.

 Power Apps: 1 – Paperless Office: 0

Power Apps officially has a Print() function in yet another blow to the paperless office dream. Printing is something that folks have asked for since I started with Power Apps. Now you can give your users the option to print their Power App screen. For those that cringe at the thought of more trees converting to paper, you can also use this as a handy way to export to pdf using the Windows 10 PDF printer driver. Because I love you I even made a video on how to get started with Power Apps Print.

 Better living through AI

Have you ever found yourself stuck doing tedious data entry using purchase orders, application forms, delivery orders, tax forms, or any other document you’ve received in email? With AI Builder you train forms processing models to read the documents and extract the information, so you don’t have to. With the new update, AI Builder can now read more complex tables in documents with nested data or merged cells, making it even more helpful. Find out more here. Then cross your fingers that Skynet doesn’t see the “Power” in the Power Platform.

Trigger Flows from Power BI Report

My Power BI users should be happy with this announcement. They tell me that the best reports are ones that can tell you what action you need to take next.  Well, now you trigger Power Automate Flows from Power BI Reports.

Technical things you should know

Connector Roundup

Updates to Azure File Storage and Excel Online connectors – Now you can access files in Azure File Storage without jumping through an Excel connector. Speaking of Excel, the Excel Online (Business) connector has made a few welcome improvements. Now more than one flow can access the Excel file at the same time, and wait for it, read Excel files from SharePoint. Seems like something that should have been there from the start, eh? I still don’t want you all building apps with Excel as the data source, but if you do at least it isn’t terrible anymore.

Turned up to 11 – Man, it’s been a while since I’ve seen “This is Spinal Tap.” I haven’t used any of these new connectors, but more connectors are always welcomed. It makes me happy when working on a new project and discovering a connector to make my life easier.