December 5, 2017

Moving from InfoPath to Power Apps? FAQs on Making the Switch

SharePoint discussion forms have always been difficult. After Microsoft announced that InfoPath wouldn’t be supported after 2026, many professionals looked for a replacement to their InfoPath Forms. But when Microsoft announced Power Apps as the InfoPath replacement in mid-2016, the InfoPath-faithful and I tried out Power Apps and realized a lot still needed to be done before this could replace InfoPath.

Since then, Microsoft has made a lot of updates to Power Apps to make it easier to use and expand its capabilities. Still, questions remain. Here are answers to common questions clients have asked, as well as answers to questions I had about switching from InfoPath to Power Apps.

Can I use Power Apps if I have SharePoint on premises?

Yes. Power Apps is a cloud-based tool, so you would need to have your AD connected into Office 365 to assign licenses and use Power Apps. After your users have a license to use Power Apps, you can install an “On-Prem Gateway” on your SharePoint Server and then register it to your Office 365 tenant. You can then use that gateway to access all your information in SharePoint like you normally would in Power Apps.

Can I add conditional logic to a form? (Show and hide columns)

Yes. One of the biggest things with InfoPath was the ability to show and hide columns based on rules in the form. Power Apps allows you to add logic to your controls within your forms so you can not only show/hide, but you can also change colors, disabled/enabled, spacing, etc. It’s not the same controls as InfoPath, but Power Apps has been working on their logic within forms to make it easier. After you learn how to add conditional logic into a Power App, it is very repeatable and simple.

Can I have a Power App replace the normal SharePoint list form?

Yes. This feature was announced at Ignite 2017 and will be coming out soon to first release users. This feature will only be available in the modern experience so classic users will not be able to change their forms with Power Apps. If you are using the modern experience for lists, you can go into List Settings->Form Settings-> “Use a custom form in Power Apps”, customize the Power App form, and it will automatically save back to the list. Doing this will allow you to have a new and customized view/edit form, just like you would have with InfoPath.

Can I migrate my InfoPath forms to Power Apps?

No. Your custom InfoPath forms would have to be remade in Power Apps. It sounds daunting, but with Power Apps’ new tools, you can transform your basic InfoPath form into an efficient Power App to streamline your processes.

What if Power Apps is not perfect for you?

Just like with InfoPath, Power Apps fits many needs, but sometimes companies cannot use Power Apps or it might not be the best tool for the job. If you are looking for a very similar user experience to InfoPath on both the frontend and backend, I suggest a third-party tool like Nintex. Nintex not only gives you an InfoPath-like interface that some might be used to, but it also allows you to easily create mobile and complex forms.

Summary

Overall, Power Apps is a more powerful tool than InfoPath, but it isn’t exactly like it. However, Power Apps has advanced enough that it is the go-to form solution over InfoPath. For those still in classic mode or would like a different form experience, Nintex is a great solution that has additional features and a more “classic” type of look and feel.

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