Creating Virtual Tables in Microsoft Dataverse just got easier

Creating Virtual Tables in Microsoft Dataverse just got easier

John PhillipsProduct Updates

For organisations looking to integrate external data sources into Dataverse, Microsoft have released a new setup wizard to ease the process.

What are Virtual Tables?

Previously called Virtual Entities, Virtual Tables enable the integration of data residing in external systems with Microsoft Dataverse, without the need to replicate or export/import the data. This means that if, for instance, you have data residing on SQL servers or SharePoint, you can seamlessly work with that data from within your Dataverse apps, without worrying about data duplication or requiring developer resources. When introduced, Virtual Tables only supported a read-only representation of the external data, but in recent years it has been made possible to also create and edit records in Virtual Tables, making them even more useful.

How do I create a Virtual Table?

With Microsoft’s new creation wizard, it is now much easier to create a new Virtual Table based on SQL and SharePoint data. From within the Power Apps Maker Portal, navigate to Dataverse>Tables and a new New table from external data option will now be available:

Create a Virtual Table
(we would however recommend creating your new table as part of a Solution, to provide portability between environments)

This will launch the Virtual Table creation wizard. During setup, you will be prompted for Connection details (Connection References are also supported) and asked to name your new table and table columns.

What if my external data is not in SQL or SharePoint?

Although the creation wizard currently only supports SQL and SharePoint, it is still possible to build custom connections, although this task would likely require developer resources. For more details on how to build a custom connection for use as a Virtual Table, click here.

Are there any limitations to Virtual Tables?

Virtual Tables provide a very useful way of linking your data sources, but they are not without their limitations and it is important to review them before embarking on a project to implement them in your organisation. For a list of the current limitations, click here.

For a video introduction to Virtual Tables, Microsoft have produced a short video:


Although Virtual Tables have been available for over five years, they are not widely used, perhaps due to a lack of awareness of them and their fiddly initial setup. With Microsoft’s new creation wizard, more organisations will hopefully see how they can provide benefits to them. If you are an existing Strategy 365 client and wish to discuss how Virtual Tables could assist with your data integration needs, please get in touch with one of our experts today.

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