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'Save as Draft' in Power Apps: Why you need and how it works

In the world of Power Apps development, creating applications that are both efficient and user-friendly is paramount. A frequent requirement from users is the ability to save their progress in forms or multi-screen applications and return to it later. This is where the 'Save as Draft' functionality becomes essential. In this blog post, I will guide you through the process of implementing the 'Save as Draft' feature in your Power Apps, enhancing your app's usability and user satisfaction.


Video: Save as Draft in Power Apps is available if you would like a walkthrough of all of the app functionality for saving as draft. The screenshots below are from the app built in the video.


Why Implement 'Save as Draft'?

Imagine your users are filling out an inspection form that spans multiple screens. Midway, they are called away for an urgent task. Without a 'Save as Draft' option, they would have to start over, leading to frustration and decreased productivity. Implementing 'Save as Draft' allows users to pause their work and resume later, exactly where they left off.


The Basics:

To begin, you need to understand the core concept behind 'Save as Draft.' It involves storing the user's progress in a table or collection, with a flag indicating the draft status. This allows the user to stop part way through the process and come back later to finish. When you implement it, you can make it as automatic or manual as you would like. Either just saving for them as they move from screen to screen or offering them a button to Save as Draft when they would like too manually do so. A lot of how you implement it depends on the size of your app and the use case.


Step 1: Designing Your Inputs

Design your inputs with user experience in mind. Use multiple screens to segment the data collection logically. Remember, each screen's progress needs to be savable as a draft.


Step 2: Implementing 'Save as Draft'

Here's where the magic happens:

1. Creating the Draft: Use the `Patch` function to create a new record in your data source, marking it as a draft.

2. Saving Progress: As users navigate through screens, use `Patch` to update the draft record with their inputs.

Screenshot of a Patch formula used when saving as Draft

3. Resuming Work: Provide a gallery where they can see draft records, or some apps use OnStart to automatically return the user to where they left off. This requires you to load the draft record and set the defaults of your inputs to pull from that record.

A screenshot of Power Apps gallery for picking the draft record.

Step 4: User Interface Considerations

Provide clear indicators and options for users to save their progress as a draft. A 'Save as Draft' button, visible on each screen, can make this functionality intuitive. Though if you want it seamless you may just make the next arrows do the saving for you.

A screenshot of an input screen where the next arrows save the users progres.

Best Practices:

- Testing: Thoroughly test the 'Save as Draft' feature across different scenarios to ensure reliability.

- Feedback: Implement user feedback mechanisms to refine the draft-saving experience.

- Optimization: Regularly review and optimize the data structure and logic to handle drafts efficiently.


Conclusion:

Implementing a 'Save as Draft' feature in Power Apps can significantly enhance the user experience, making your app more robust and user-friendly. By following this guide, you're well on your way to mastering this essential functionality. Remember, the key to successful implementation is understanding your users' needs and testing thoroughly.


If you need help implementing Save As Draft in your App then scroll down the page below and fill out the Contact form. We can help you with a 30-minute screenshare or with a 30-month project and everything between.


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