Power Platform – Creating Entities in Common Data Service(CDS)

Hi everyone,

This article is a part of my previous article Introduction to Common Data Service https://knowledge-junction.com/2020/06/26/power-platform-introduction-to-common-data-servicecds/ . Now we will look at entities in the Common Data Service.

What is mean by Entities?

  1. Entities are set of records this are used to manage and model business data.
  2. Create entities for anything that describes data objects or data structures that as different from any other already existing entities for Ex. Account, Address or Department.
  3. Some entities which we want will already exist called “Standard Entities” and other entities which is more specific to your business or solution may have to be created called “Custom Entities”. You can used both or anyone.
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Fig.1 Power Platform – Power Apps – Entities

4. There are lots of entities in Common Data Service with many fields.

Now let’s get started.

Creating an Entity

1. Go to https://make.powerapps.com

2. In navigation pane expand “Data” and select “Entities”.

3. Now list of entities shown below. First check entity fields if they suits to your organization needs then use it otherwise create new by clicking on “New entities”.

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Fig.2 Power Platform – Power Apps – Creating Entity
  • Display name* – This is required field and the singular name for the entity that will be shown in the app. This can be changed later.
  • Plural display name* – This is required field and plural name for the entity that will be shown in the app. This can be changed later.
  • Name* – This is required field and is pre-populated based on the Display name you enter. You cannot change this after the entity is saved. 
  • Display name
    • By default, every entity contains a Primary Field, which is used by lookup fields when establishing relationships with other entities.
    • Typically the primary field stores the name or primary description of the data stored in the entity.
    • You may update the name and display name of the primary field before saving the entity for the first time. Also, observe that the primary field also has its own Name box, which functions similarly to the entity name described above.
    • The primary field name is auto populated when a display name is entered, uses the same prefix as the entity, and cannot be changed after the entity is created.
  • Expand “More settings” <- Description. You can enter a description for your entity if you wish. Descriptions are helpful if other people will use this entity.
  • Entity type and ownership
    • Switch the entity type to Activity Entity to create entities that can manage tasks.
    • The type of ownership defines who can perform operations on a record. User or team ownership allows the entity records to contain data that relates to customers, such as accounts or contacts.
    • Security can be defined according to the business unit for the user or team. 
    • Organization ownership entity records contain data involving something that belongs to or that can be viewed by the whole organization. 
    • Organization-owned entity records can’t be assigned or shared.
  • Collaboration
    • Allow feedback – let customers write feedback for any entity record, or rate entity records within a defined rating range. Once enabled this setting can’t be disabled.
    • Enable for activities – Associate activities to records for this entity. Once enabled this setting can’t be disabled.
    • Enable connections – Use the connections feature to show how records for this entity have connections to records of other entities that also have connections enabled. Once enabled this setting can’t be disabled.
    • Send emails to entities – Send emails using an email address stored in one of the fields for this entity. Once enabled this setting can’t be disabled.
    • Support mail merge – Allows people to use this entity with mail merge.
    • Enabled SharePoint document management – After other tasks have been performed to enable document management for your organization, enabling this feature allows for this entity to participate in integration with SharePoint.
    • Auto create access teams – Create team templates for this entity.
    • Enable queues – Use the entity with queues. Queues improve routing and sharing of work by making records for this entity available in a central place that everyone can access.
    • Once enabled this setting can’t be disabled.
  • Create and update settings
    1. Enable quick create forms –
      • After you have created and published a quick create form for this entity, people will have the option to create a new record using the Create button in the navigation pane. 
      • When this is enabled for a custom activity entity, the custom activity will be visible in the group of activity entities when people use the Create button. However, because activities don’t support quick create forms, the main form will be used when the custom entity icon is selected.
    2. Duplicate detection – Enabling this allows you to create duplicate detection rules for this entity.
    3. . Enabled change tracking – Enables data synchronization in a performant way by detecting what data has changed since the data was initially extracted or last synchronized.
  • Offline -Enabled Dynamics 365 for outlook offline capabilities – Enables record data for this entity to be available while the Dynamics 365 for Outlook application is not connected to the network.

4. Now select “Create”.

5. On the entity details page, your entity will be saved and available for use. Fields, relationships, and keys can be added to your entity at any time but views, forms, charts, dashboards, and business rules can only be added to the entity after completed.

Adding and customising fields

  1. As shown in fig.2 we created custom entity.
  2. Select your created entity and click on “+Add field” and add Display Name -> “Address”, Data type ->”Text” and select Required -> “Required” click on “Done”.
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Fig.3 Power Platform – Power Apps – Creating Fields

3. Select “+Add field” and add Display Name -> “MobileNo”, Data type – > “Phone” and select Required -> “Required” click on “Done”

4. Again Select “+Add field “ and add Display name -> “Designation” , Data type -> “Option Set”, Option set -> “+New option set”.

5. Select View more -> “Local option set”.

6. Create the Option set – 1. Replace “New option” with “ASM”. 2. Select “Add new item” replace “New option” with TSO and again add Sales person option and select Required -> “Required” click on “Save”.

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Fig 4. Power Platform – Power Apps – Setting options for Designation Fields

Adding and customising views

  1. Select the Views tab, and then select the Active Employees view. If you don’t see it change the filter on the command bar from  Default  to All.
  2. Select Add Columns, select the Address, MobileNo and Designation columns, and select OK.
  3. Select Created On column, and then select Remove.
  4. For arranging the columns, select the column you want to move and then use Move Left and Move Right or drag or drop.
  5. Select Save.
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Fig 5. Power Platform – Power Apps – Adding columns in to views

We will discussed about Relationship and Create Canvas app using Common Data Service in next article.

Thanks for reading. If it’s worth at least reading once, kindly like and share. STAY SAFE STAY HEALTHY.

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