3 Minute Features : Episode 1 : Entities

My hiatus from blogging is due to my lack of creativity around thinking about problems and how to solve them and this got me thinking about a ready source of material that which would give me a infinite number of things to write about.

As I always want to learn, and envy those that do these things, rather than a blog, I have started a video series which does a show and tell on a subject, in a set time frame.

Welcome to 3 Minute Feature Thursdays

Episode 1 : Entities



Hi and welcome to the first of a hopefully weekly topic on the fundamentals of the Common Data Service.

There are a lot of blogs and videos out there that are documenting all the changes that are forever coming into the platform, so I thought we should take some time to ensure everyone knows the fundamentals.

I will be diving into a topic each week in some depth, but trying to do it in 2 minutes. This gives me a timeframe to work to, reduces unnecessary words and hopefully gives a refresher or introduction to the topic in a bite sized portion.

The first topic is Entities, so here we go

Firstly, go to make.powerapps.com. Once there, check that you are in the correct environment. This is essential to ensure you are adding components to the right place.

As with all development, it should start with a solution, so using the menu on the left, select Solutions, and new Solution.

Give it a name and a publisher, both allow for the ability to differentiate our solutions and to patch solutions as we move the solution between environments for testing etc.

The default version is

Now hit publish, you can see that the solution is empty, so the next step is to create an entity using the menu top left

The display and plural names are used by default in lists and records. The Name is the physical table name in SQL, so can not be changed after the entity is created. The name is prefixed with the publisher prefix.

The primary field is what is selected when the user chooses a record to link 2 records together, like Contact name or company name. You can choose to change the default name and the field name.

As we go down the properties, those with a little cross next to them can not be changed after you set it. You can set it if it is not set, but once it is set, there is no going back

A key checkbox is the “Enable attachments”. This enables the entity for attachments, basically links the notes entity to your new one.

Description allows your entity to be found later on and should describe it’s useage. More documentation the better

If you change the Entity type to Activity, it will be allowed to be treated as an activity, such as email, tasks or call. Great if your entity is a new version of these things.

If you want to restrict access to certain records in your entity, like opportunities typically, then ownership needs to be User or Team. Organisation level is used for data shared across your whole system, such as products.

In the Collaboration section, Allow Feedback links your entity to the Feedback entity, allowing users, external or internal, to feedback and rate a record. Typically used for case or survey scenarios

In the out of the box, meetings can have followup tasks that are associated with them, if your entity fits into this scenario, then enable this.

Connections allow a user to link 2 disparate records together, typically used between employees / contacts / accounts to denote relationships.

If you think that you want to be able to link your entity to incoming emails, then check Send email to Entity. The entity needs at least 1 email field. Leads and contacts are examples of this out of the box.

Mail merge and sharepoint checkboxes enable the corresponding functionality too. Sharepoint needs more configuration, but here is where you enable each entity.

Access teams complement the security via ownership. If you enable this checkbox, and set up a template, an access team for each record is automatically created when via code you add your first user to the team.

Queues are typically used in a service scenario, but allows assignment of your record to a queue to be managed by a helpdesk or group of users.

Quick create forms are useful in a lot of scenarios, where you want the user to easily create a new record with a subset of all the fields.

Duplicate detection is common on most records. This setting enables it, but you will have to configure the rules to prevent duplicates.

Flow change tracking allows Flow to subscribe to “When a record is updated” triggers on your entity. Essential in most scenarios.

The final option is enabling your entity for offline outlook. There is a lot more to consider on this, but here is where you start the journey

Once configured, hit Create and wait. You can go ahead and add fields and other stuff as you wait. Eventually you will be displayed with a nice green banner and a list of the default fields.

So that’s it.

Next time, I will dig into Fields, continuing on our journey.

Please subscribe if you find these useful and provide feedback either via Twitter, LinkedIn or my blog.

Cheers, see you next week.

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