Using Expand Query in Power Automate with CDS

Power Automate plus Common Data Service

Before We Dive In

If you use Power Automate (Flow) and model-driven Power Apps, then (hopefully) you are aware of the “Common Data Service (current environment)” (CDS-ce) connector. Within this connector, there is an “Expand Query” option. This blog post will help explain how to use this.

Note: Check out Sara Lagerquist’s excellent blog called “CDS vs CDS: What Connector should I use in Power Automate?“. This will help you understand the difference between the Common Data Service connectors.

Let’s Dive In

Power Apps Solution

To get started, I have already created a solution within the Power Apps maker site called “PA Flows” (for “Power Automate Flows”). The next step would be to create a new flow within the solution.

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Generating Dynamic Documents for Dynamics 365 using Power Automate

Setting the Stage

So, you may asking, “Why don’t you just use the Word Templates already in Dynamics 365?” That’s a great question. But, here is the scenario:

I needed a way to generate a dynamic Word document using a template, but I wanted the generated document converted to PDF, stored in SharePoint and accessible within Dynamics 365.

Note: The out-of-the-box Word Templates in Dynamics 365 don’t store the generated document anywhere. When you use the Word Template, it just pulls in the dynamic data from Dynamics 365, generates the Word document, and opens Microsoft Word.

Got all that? Ok. Good.

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User Group Summit Recap

First of all, I need to apologize for the long delay between posts. I have been recovering from surgery and prior to that was the User Group Summit.

The 2019 North America User Group Summit is now behind us, and it’s impact is still being felt throughout the community. Many folks left empowered with information and hands-on learning. Others made valuable connections that will foster growth personally and professionally.

For me, there were a couple of things that stood out during the conference.

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Join me at User Group Summit 2019

User Group Summit 2019 is almost here! Each year Summit brings together people from all walks of life, backgrounds, experiences, industries, and countries.

Summit is THE opportunity to learn, network, step out and speak/present, share and have fun! All of this is centered around #MicrosoftDynamics and the #PowerPlatform.

What makes Summit event even more valuable is that the majority of the sessions are from peers – people who are in your role, or industry, or background. They know about the pros and cons, failures and successes, multiple versions, projects galore…and made out it the other side!

This year marks my 7th Summit. Not quite the milestone of other Summit veterans, but something that I’m proud of. The reason? Being able to contribute to a wonderful community, and, in turn, learn from other awesome contributors.

So, I’m excited to be presenting again for Summit 2019 for 2 sessions. If haven’t marked these on your Summit 2019 session agenda, now is your chance!

  • The Triple Threat – Microsoft Flow, Dynamics 365, and You
    • This session will answer the “What” and “How” of Microsoft Flow. > What is Microsoft Flow? > How do I get and use Microsoft Flow? We will help you understand what the different Microsoft Flow options and connectors are, how to connect to Dynamics 365 CE/CRM and the Common Data Service (CDS), and run through different live demonstrations. You will leave the session with a better understanding of Microsoft Flow and the abundant capabilities available. With this knowledge, you will the be “The Triple Threat” in your organization. Your next update or project will be a knock-out!
  • Controlling the Controls
    • Are you aware of the controls options within Dynamics 365? The Unified Interface for Dynamics 365 has provided new field options in the form of controls. Controls are a great way to enhance the user interaction with the forms and records in Dynamics 365. This session will provide an overview and demonstration of the various controls available, and when and where to use them. You will leave with a better understanding of controls so that you can “control the controls”.

I look forward to meeting you at Summit 2019!