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Rename your Power Apps action-based data sources

We are happy to announce that Power Apps action-based data sources can be renamed. This feature can help customers avoid an extensive rename of formula referenced data sources in a Power App.  The feature will reach all regions by the end of this week June 18, 2021

How are data source names generated?

Data source names are generated from the display name of the connection they are based on. The first instance of a data source name in an app is typically exactly the same as the connection name. For instance, if I used an “AzureDevOps” connection as the basis for my data source it would be named “AzureDevOps”. And, if I add another “AzureDevOps” based data source to my same application the second data source will be named “AzureDevOps_1”.

Renamed connectors

Occasionally, a connector author will change the display name of the connector.  For instance, the author may change the display name from “OldConnector” to “NewConnector”. Your existing Power Apps will continue to work fine even though your data source names say “OldConnector” since your data sources still point (under the covers) to the correct connector type.

However, if for some reason you drop your existing data source and re-add it, the new data source will be named “NewConnector” and your formulas will still reference “OldConnector”.  This will cause formula errors where ever these data source names exist.

Fixing broken formula references to data source names

Using the new “Rename” feature, you can rename your action-based connectors and fix up your formulas automatically.

To fix this kind of problem you:

  1. Rename the data source from the new display name back to the old display name.  For example, you would rename the data source display name from “New Connector” back to “Old Connector”.  Once you do this, all of your formula references will re-connect and work as they did previously.  Your application should now work correctly and you could stop at this step and be done.
  2. (Optional)  Rename your data source names back to the new name.  Once your data source name and your formulas are in sync you can then rename your data source again to bring it in line with the new connector name.  For example, you can rename your data source to be “NewConnector” and the data source name and all of the formula references will be updated to be “NewConnector”.   It’s a good idea to do this because if you ever have to drop your data source again, then re-adding the data source will be based on the newer connector display name.  Performing this step will help you avoid future issues.

This works because the data source display name and the formula referenced data sources are in sync (i.e., have exactly the same display name.)   This rename of the data sources in the formulas cannot work before you rename your data source back because the data source display name and the formula referenced data sources are not the same.

Limitation: action-based connectors, not tabular connectors

This rename capability is limited to action-based connectors.  It does not work for tabular data sources.  Tabular data sources use the name of the table or entity they are pointing at not the general name of the service hosting them.