Dataverse lookup columns

Copper Contributor

I have a question about using lookup fields in Dataverse. I have been developing in Access using Dataverse as the data tables. In Access, using Lookup fields is not a good practice. Does the same apply for using Lookup fields in Dataverse? 

4 Replies

Hi @Rexter,

Using lookup fields in Dataverse is generally considered to be a good practice. In fact, it is one of the key features of Dataverse that allows you to create relationships between tables. This can help you to reduce data duplication and improve the accuracy of your data.

But, there are a few things to keep in mind when using lookup fields:

  • Make sure that you create the correct type of relationship between the tables. Dataverse supports three types of relationships: one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many.
  • Make sure that you filter the lookup field to only show the values that are relevant to the table that you are using it in. This will help to improve the performance of your applications and make it easier for users to find the information they need.
  • Be careful not to create circular references between tables. This can lead to performance problems and other errors.

If you are following these best practices, then using lookup fields in Dataverse should be a good way to improve the design and performance of your applications.

Here are some useful links that you may find helpful:

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Kindest regards,

Leon Pavesic

Lookup fields in Dataverse appear to introduce some of the same complicating factors that we battle in Access tables. In reading the "gotchas" listed, an old saying comes to mind from my childhood days. It refers to the days when general stores sold commodities like sugar, flour and beans from open barrels. Customers could serve themselves by putting some of the commodity in a "penny sack". The saying goes, "that's too much sugar for a cent." Meaning the appearance of Lookup columns in tables promises sweets, but they cost more than the supposed price.

Use them at your discretion.

@George Hepworth 


I got two differing opinions here, so I am not sure which way to go. Should I create relations using the Relationship Tool in Dataverse table? 

It's really up to you, in the final analysis. IMO, the interface for Dataverse tables is overly complicated because it tries to wrap the underlying realities of tables in structures like the Lookup tables and so on. After some initial attempts to incorporate Dataverse tables, I went back to the tried and true, i.e. SQL Azure or SQL Server.

Performance is not as impressive either. But ultimately, if Dataverse provides you something unavailable elsewhere, then it's okay.

Don't let others, who are either enthusiasts or skeptics, override your own experience.