Announcing availability of PowerApps custom visual for Power BI (preview)

Power BI empowers everyone to get deep insights from their data, and make better business decisions while PowerApps enables everyone to build and use business apps which can connect to your data. I am happy to announce the availability of PowerApps custom visual for Power BI in preview which enables you to use these products even better together.

Using the PowerApps custom visual, you will be able to pass context aware data to a PowerApps app which updates in real time as you make changes to your report. Now, your users can derive business insights and take actions from right within their Power BI reports and dashboards. No need to switch tabs to open the separate apps, copy paste data from one window to another or worry about fat fingering the wrong customer id or invoice amount.

Using the PowerApps custom visual

Let’s look at the steps required to use the PowerApps custom visual in your Power BI report.

  1. You can get the custom visual from AppSource or directly import it in Power BI desktop or service.

  2. Next, add the PowerApps visual to your report and set the data fields associated with it.

  3. Now, we have the option to create a new app or use an existing app you have.

    • If you choose to use an existing app, the visual will prompt you to open the app in PowerApps which will setup the required components in your app to enable Power BI to send data to PowerApps.
    • If you create a new app, PowerApps will create a simple app with the required components already setup.
  4. Once in PowerApps studio, you can use the data fields you set in step 2 above using the PowerBIIntegration.Data object in PowerApps. The PowerBIIntegration object will act like any other PowerApps read-only data source or collection which can be used to populate any control, or join and filter with other data sources.

    Note: ​The formula I used here to join Power BI data with my Customer data source is: LookUp(Customer,Customer_x0020_Name=First(PowerBIIntegration.Data).Customer_Name)

    • While your Power BI report and the launched PowerApps studio are open, you can filter or change the data in your report to see the updated data reflect immediately in your app in PowerApps studio.
  5. After you have completed building or making changes to your app, Save and Publish the app in PowerApps to see your app in Power BI visual.
    Note: If you are editing an existing app, the current version of visual will not reload the app when a newer version in published from PowerApps. You will have to save your report and reload the browser page to see the latest version of the app.
  6. Once you are satisfied with your changes, make sure to share the PowerApps app with users of your report and then save your report. 
    Note: If you want to again edit the app, click on ‘More options’ and then select Edit from the PowerApps visual.
  7. And with that, you have created a report in which your users can take actions as they gain insights from your data.

Note: If you need to makes changes to an app, opening the report in edit more, click ‘More options’ (…) on the PowerApps visual and select ‘Edit’.

You can also learn more about the PowerApps custom visual in this video:

Limitations of the PowerApps custom visual

The PowerApps custom visual is currently available in preview and has some limitations as listed below. We want to gather your feedback and solve some of the known issues before we make it generally available.

  • You cannot create or modify apps when using the PowerApps custom visual in Power BI desktop, Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. We recommend to publish your report to Power BI service and then use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome to create new apps or make changes to apps.
  • If your PowerApps visual has been configured with an app, and you publish newer version of the app from PowerApps studio, the open report will not reload the app automatically. You will have to reload your report to get the latest version of the app.
  • If you change the data fields associated with the visual, you will need to edit the app from Power BI service to make sure that the changes are propagated to PowerApps. You will observe unexpected behavior if the app is not edited from Power BI service to make sure that the new fields from Power BI reflect in the app.
  • There is no mechanism available in PowerApps custom visual to trigger a refresh of the Power BI report or Power BI data source. Writing back to same data source as the report using an app will not reflect the changes in your report immediately, your reports will continue to refresh as per your set schedule.
  • PowerApps custom visual cannot filter the data or send out any data back to the report.
  • You will need to share the PowerApps app separately from your report. Learn about sharing apps in PowerApps.
  • PowerApps custom visual is currently not supported on Power BI mobile app.

Please join the conversation in the PowerApps community as we would love to hear from you about how you are using this capability and what you would like to see added in the future.