Formula Bar Changes

A while back, we introduced the experimental “Enhanced Formula Bar” for Canvas apps.  It offered a newer version of the Monaco editor under the hood, better Enter and Tab key behavior, and a scrollbar complete with error indicators.  And it was missing a few features, most notably parenthesis matching.

I’m happy to say that many of the experimental features have now been merged into the “standard” formula bar that everyone uses.  It is in production in some regions now and coming to the rest shortly, look for version 3.21033.  In particular:

  1. Enter key adds a newline.  Not only does Enter add a newline, but Shift-Enter does as well (the previous way it was done in Power Apps) as well as Alt-Enter (the way Excel does it).
  2. Tab key adds a tab more often.  In other words, we are less aggressive with suggestions.  Previously, we would show suggestions for a blank line, which would insert the first suggestion on a Tab key press, making it very hard to add a Tab at the front of a line.  No longer.  Suggestions are still there, you just need to type at least one character before we start showing them.  Pressing one of the direction keys or clicking to a new location in the formula bar will also dismiss suggestions so you can type freely.
  3. There is now a scrollbar.

No longer will you need to turn on the experimental switch for each app to get these enhancements.  And it all works with the existing, nifty parenthesis matching.

Here it is in action.  No shift, ctrl, or alt keys were pressed in the making of this video.

Unfortunately, not everything made the transition.  We were not able to move to a newer version of Monaco and so the red error indicators in the scrollbar had to be left behind.  I know that was very useful and a hard loss, but I hope only for a short time.

As part of the Power Fx effort, we are working on a new formula bar that is well separated from any particular version of Monaco.   We’ll use this for our work on Power Virtual Agents, Dataverse calculated columns, and Model-driven commanding.  It may be a while until it has all the functionality of the standard Canvas formula bar and can replace it, but that is our goal: one formula bar across all products.  That includes those nice red error indicators.

The experimental formula bar has now been moved to the “Retired” section of the app settings and will be removed completely in the months ahead.

As always, please let us know what you think here and in the community forum.

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