How to link SharePoint lists using a lookup field in PowerApps
This tutorial shows how you can connect two SharePoint lists with a lookup field in a canvas app.
SharePoint provides two types of lookup fields:
- Lookup: links to another list: for example an Orders list may have a lookup field that links to customers in a Customer list;
- Choice: clicking or tapping the field displays a small menu of items that you choose from.
In this tutorial, you build an app that uses these kinds of lookup fields.
Why use a lookup field
Data in an enterprise is large and complex. Data in one SharePoint list often relates to data in another list. Lookup fields are the primary way such business data comes together.
For example, you might have an Orders list which has a lookup field that links to a Customers list, to show which customer placed the order. The lookup field in the Orders list lets you get other data from the Customers list as well. You might also use a lookup field to connect the Orders list to a Product list, and bring in information you need about the product ordered, such as product pictures, specifications, manufacturer details, etc.
What are Choice fields used for?
Choice fields are used for very short lists, but instead of actually creating a separate list, you include the list values in a small menu, which appears when you click or tap on the Choice field, and you select one of the values.
Examples include data like Customer Status Code, Product Availability, State Codes; basically any fixed list that is relatively short. This data could in fact be implemented as separate lists, and then you would use a Lookup field to link to them, but it is usually easier and quicker to implement them as Choice fields.
Create the lists in SharePoint
In this tutorial, you link two SharePoint custom lists together, Assets and RepairShop. The Assets list is used to track hardware equipment in a team. Since hardware gets broken from time to time, we use the RepairShop list to track the local shops which can fix it.
The lookup fields used in this example
The RepairShop list uses the ContactEmail field to identify the shop. This list is defined first so that each row in the Assets list has something to point to.
The Assets list has two lookup fields:
- one called RepairShop, of type Lookup, which uses email addresses to point to entries in the RepairShop list;
- one called AssetType, of type Choice, which lists the kinds of hardware that this asset might be.
You most likely would define additional fields, depending on the information you need to track.
Define the RepairShop list and add data
You do this first, so that when you add data to the Assets list, RepairShop entries are available for you to choose from the Assets.RepairShop lookup field.
On your SharePoint site, create a new RepairShop list.
Add a ContactEmail field of type Single line of text.
Add any other fields you need.
Click or tap + New to enter sample data into the list, at least 3 rows with different ContactEmail values. When an asset needs to be repaired, you choose one of these.
Define the Assets list
On your SharePoint site, create a new Assets list.
Click or tap the plus sign and choose More.
Add an AssetType field of type Choice, and in the Type each choice on a separate line text box, fill in the values you want to appear in the choice menu. Then click or tap OK.
Start to add another field, just like in step 2: click or tap the plus sign and choose More.
Add a RepairShop field of type Lookup, choose RepairShop from the Get information from text box, and choose ContactEmail from the In this column text box. Then click or tap OK.
Add any additional fields you want.
Create an app from the Assets list
You use this app to add data to the Assets list.
In the File menu (along the left edge), click or tap New, and then click or tap SharePoint.
Choose your SharePoint site from the Recent sites list or enter your site's url directly into the text box. Click or tap GO.
Choose the main list from your SharePoint site, in this example, Assets. Click or tap the Connect button in the lower-right corner.
Add data to the Assets list
Now you can run the app and see how the view details screen looks for the lookup fields.
Press F5 or select Preview ( ).
Click or tap the + symbol in the upper right corner to add an entry.
Enter a Title for this asset.
Click or tap the AssetType dropdown arrow. The values displayed are those you entered when you created this field. Choose one of the entries.
Click or tap the RepairShop dropdown arrow. Choose one of the entries.
In the upper-right corner, click or tap the check mark to save the new entry.
(optional) Repeat this procedure to add as many items to the list as you want.
Press Esc to return to the default workspace.
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