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Experimental formula bar provides speed and usability improvements

One of the most used items in the canvas authoring experience is the formula bar where everyone crafts their expressions. We are excited to introduce an experimental setting where you can try a new formula bar experience with improved speed and usability features informed by some of the requested improvements from the community. It will roll out to production over the next week. Try it out, and give some feedback on the experience.

How to try out the enhanced formula bar

To try out this authoring experience, navigate to File> Settings> Advanced Settings. Select the toggle reading “Enhanced formula bar” to turn it on.

This setting requires you to save, and refresh your page so we can swap out the formula bars for you to use the new one. It will only be enabled for that app. Repeat: You need to save and refresh the page for it to be enabled for that app.

Key improvements

A common theme of requests was to improve the editing of long formulas. So we finally introduced a scroll bar, as well as indications on where there are errors in long formulas in the scroll bar. There is also a change in appearance of the suggestions to appear inline where you are typing as opposed to below the text area. We will continue to work on some performance improvements for the editing of longer formulas that should come shortly after.

One of the biggest complaints was the keyboard and interaction patterns for working with the formulas. We heard you. We have introduced the ability to use Enter for a new line (while still maintaining Shift+Enter) as well as enabling Tab to create an indent. You can also use CTRL+ Space to bring up suggestions on demand.

The property dropdown has now been categorized into Action, Data and Design properties to help improve discoverability, but also to help scanning for Action and Data properties which tend to be more frequently edited.

There are some key items for the formula bar we are still working on such as drag to expand, replacing the Fx dropdown with a searchable list of functions and descriptions among other interaction improvements for opening and closing. We will also work on some refinements for the intellisense and suggestions, as there are some scenarios in this experimental formula bar where it needs improvement.

How to give the team feedback

This is an experimental feature, and we want to hear from you! Was this a step in the right direction and made editing easier? Got some suggestions for us? Do you prefer the current formula bar after giving this one a try?

We will be looking for your feedback in the PowerApps community forum. It will help us find the feedback if you include #FormulaBar.

Happy app building, and happy blog reading for the week of Microsoft Ignite!

Emma Cooper, @PowerEmmz