Helper Functions

This topic contains a number of helper functions commonly used in M extensions. These functions may eventually be moved to the official M library, but for now can be copied into your extension file code. You shouldn't mark any of these functions as shared within your extension code.


This function adds the table type metadata needed for your extension to return a table value that Power Query can recognize as a Navigation Tree. See Navigation Tables for more information.

Table.ToNavigationTable = (
    table as table,
    keyColumns as list,
    nameColumn as text,
    dataColumn as text,
    itemKindColumn as text,
    itemNameColumn as text,
    isLeafColumn as text
) as table =>
        tableType = Value.Type(table),
        newTableType = Type.AddTableKey(tableType, keyColumns, true) meta 
            NavigationTable.NameColumn = nameColumn, 
            NavigationTable.DataColumn = dataColumn,
            NavigationTable.ItemKindColumn = itemKindColumn, 
            Preview.DelayColumn = itemNameColumn, 
            NavigationTable.IsLeafColumn = isLeafColumn
        navigationTable = Value.ReplaceType(table, newTableType)
Parameter Details
table Your navigation table.
keyColumns List of column names that act as the primary key for your navigation table.
nameColumn The name of the column that should be used as the display name in the navigator.
dataColumn The name of the column that contains the Table or Function to display.
itemKindColumn The name of the column to use to determine the type of icon to display. Valid values for the column are listed in the Handling Navigation article.
itemNameColumn The name of the column to use to determine the type of tooltip to display. Valid values for the column are Table and Function.
isLeafColumn The name of the column used to determine if this is a leaf node, or if the node can be expanded to contain another navigation table.

Example usage:

shared MyExtension.Contents = () =>
        objects = #table(
            {"Name",       "Key",        "Data",                           "ItemKind", "ItemName", "IsLeaf"},{
            {"Item1",      "item1",      #table({"Column1"}, {{"Item1"}}), "Table",    "Table",    true},
            {"Item2",      "item2",      #table({"Column1"}, {{"Item2"}}), "Table",    "Table",    true},
            {"Item3",      "item3",      FunctionCallThatReturnsATable(),  "Table",    "Table",    true},            
            {"MyFunction", "myfunction", AnotherFunction.Contents(),       "Function", "Function", true}
        NavTable = Table.ToNavigationTable(objects, {"Key"}, "Name", "Data", "ItemKind", "ItemName", "IsLeaf")

URI Manipulation


This function constructs a full URL based on individual fields in the record. It acts as the reverse of Uri.Parts.

Uri.FromParts = (parts) =>
        port = if (parts[Scheme] = "https" and parts[Port] = 443) or (parts[Scheme] = "http" and parts[Port] = 80) then "" else ":" & Text.From(parts[Port]),
        div1 = if Record.FieldCount(parts[Query]) > 0 then "?" else "",
        div2 = if Text.Length(parts[Fragment]) > 0 then "#" else "",
        uri = Text.Combine({parts[Scheme], "://", parts[Host], port, parts[Path], div1, Uri.BuildQueryString(parts[Query]), div2, parts[Fragment]})


This function returns the scheme, host, and default port (for HTTP/HTTPS) for a given URL. For example, would become

This is particularly useful for building ResourcePath.

Uri.GetHost = (url) =>
        parts = Uri.Parts(url),
        port = if (parts[Scheme] = "https" and parts[Port] = 443) or (parts[Scheme] = "http" and parts[Port] = 80) then "" else ":" & Text.From(parts[Port])
        parts[Scheme] & "://" & parts[Host] & port;


This function checks if the user entered an HTTPS URL and raises an error if they don't. This is required for user entered URLs for certified connectors.

ValidateUrlScheme = (url as text) as text => if (Uri.Parts(url)[Scheme] <> "https") then error "Url scheme must be HTTPS" else url;

To apply it, just wrap your url parameter in your data access function.

DataAccessFunction = (url as text) as table =>
        _url = ValidateUrlScheme(url),
        source = Web.Contents(_url)

Retrieving Data


This function is useful when making an asynchronous HTTP request and you need to poll the server until the request is complete.

Value.WaitFor = (producer as function, interval as function, optional count as number) as any =>
        list = List.Generate(
            () => {0, null},
            (state) => state{0} <> null and (count = null or state{0} < count),
            (state) => if state{1} <> null then {null, state{1}} else {1 + state{0}, Function.InvokeAfter(() => producer(state{0}), interval(state{0}))},
            (state) => state{1})


This function is used when an API returns data in an incremental/paged format, which is common for many REST APIs. The getNextPage argument is a function that takes in a single parameter, which will be the result of the previous call to getNextPage, and should return a nullable table.

getNextPage = (lastPage) as nullable table => ...`

getNextPage is called repeatedly until it returns null. The function will collate all pages into a single table. When the result of the first call to getNextPage is null, an empty table is returned.

// The getNextPage function takes a single argument and is expected to return a nullable table
Table.GenerateByPage = (getNextPage as function) as table =>
        listOfPages = List.Generate(
            () => getNextPage(null),            // get the first page of data
            (lastPage) => lastPage <> null,     // stop when the function returns null
            (lastPage) => getNextPage(lastPage) // pass the previous page to the next function call
        // concatenate the pages together
        tableOfPages = Table.FromList(listOfPages, Splitter.SplitByNothing(), {"Column1"}),
        firstRow = tableOfPages{0}?
        // if we didn't get back any pages of data, return an empty table
        // otherwise set the table type based on the columns of the first page
        if (firstRow = null) then
    // check for empty first table
        else if (Table.IsEmpty(firstRow[Column1])) then
                Table.ExpandTableColumn(tableOfPages, "Column1", Table.ColumnNames(firstRow[Column1])),

Additional notes:

  • The getNextPage function will need to retrieve the next page URL (or page number, or whatever other values are used to implement the paging logic). This is generally done by adding meta values to the page before returning it.
  • The columns and table type of the combined table (that is, all pages together) are derived from the first page of data. The getNextPage function should normalize each page of data.
  • The first call to getNextPage receives a null parameter.
  • getNextPage must return null when there are no pages left.

An example of using this function can be found in the Github sample, and the TripPin paging sample.

Github.PagedTable = (url as text) => Table.GenerateByPage((previous) =>
        // If we have a previous page, get its Next link from metadata on the page.
        next = if (previous <> null) then Value.Metadata(previous)[Next] else null,
        // If we have a next link, use it, otherwise use the original URL that was passed in.
        urlToUse = if (next <> null) then next else url,
        // If we have a previous page, but don't have a next link, then we're done paging.
        // Otherwise retrieve the next page.
        current = if (previous <> null and next = null) then null else Github.Contents(urlToUse),
        // If we got data back from the current page, get the link for the next page
        link = if (current <> null) then Value.Metadata(current)[Next] else null
        current meta [Next=link]);


EnforceSchema.Strict = 1;               // Add any missing columns, remove extra columns, set table type
EnforceSchema.IgnoreExtraColumns = 2;   // Add missing columns, do not remove extra columns
EnforceSchema.IgnoreMissingColumns = 3; // Do not add or remove columns

SchemaTransformTable = (table as table, schema as table, optional enforceSchema as number) as table =>
        // Default to EnforceSchema.Strict
        _enforceSchema = if (enforceSchema <> null) then enforceSchema else EnforceSchema.Strict,

        // Applies type transforms to a given table
        EnforceTypes = (table as table, schema as table) as table =>
                map = (t) => if Type.Is(t, type list) or Type.Is(t, type record) or t = type any then null else t,
                mapped = Table.TransformColumns(schema, {"Type", map}),
                omitted = Table.SelectRows(mapped, each [Type] <> null),
                existingColumns = Table.ColumnNames(table),
                removeMissing = Table.SelectRows(omitted, each List.Contains(existingColumns, [Name])),
                primativeTransforms = Table.ToRows(removeMissing),
                changedPrimatives = Table.TransformColumnTypes(table, primativeTransforms)

        // Returns the table type for a given schema
        SchemaToTableType = (schema as table) as type =>
                toList = List.Transform(schema[Type], (t) => [Type=t, Optional=false]),
                toRecord = Record.FromList(toList, schema[Name]),
                toType = Type.ForRecord(toRecord, false)
                type table (toType),

        // Determine if we have extra/missing columns.
        // The enforceSchema parameter determines what we do about them.
        schemaNames = schema[Name],
        foundNames = Table.ColumnNames(table),
        addNames = List.RemoveItems(schemaNames, foundNames),
        extraNames = List.RemoveItems(foundNames, schemaNames),
        tmp = Text.NewGuid(),
        added = Table.AddColumn(table, tmp, each []),
        expanded = Table.ExpandRecordColumn(added, tmp, addNames),
        result = if List.IsEmpty(addNames) then table else expanded,
        fullList =
            if (_enforceSchema = EnforceSchema.Strict) then
            else if (_enforceSchema = EnforceSchema.IgnoreMissingColumns) then
                schemaNames & extraNames,

        // Select the final list of columns.
        // These will be ordered according to the schema table.
        reordered = Table.SelectColumns(result, fullList, MissingField.Ignore),
        enforcedTypes = EnforceTypes(reordered, schema),
        withType = if (_enforceSchema = EnforceSchema.Strict) then Value.ReplaceType(enforcedTypes, SchemaToTableType(schema)) else enforcedTypes


    // table should be an actual Table.Type, or a List.Type of Records
    Table.ChangeType = (table, tableType as type) as nullable table =>
        // we only operate on table types
        if (not Type.Is(tableType, type table)) then error "type argument should be a table type" else
        // if we have a null value, just return it
        if (table = null) then table else
            columnsForType = Type.RecordFields(Type.TableRow(tableType)),
            columnsAsTable = Record.ToTable(columnsForType),
            schema = Table.ExpandRecordColumn(columnsAsTable, "Value", {"Type"}, {"Type"}),
            previousMeta = Value.Metadata(tableType),

            // make sure we have a table
            parameterType = Value.Type(table),
            _table =
                if (Type.Is(parameterType, type table)) then table
                else if (Type.Is(parameterType, type list)) then
                        asTable = Table.FromList(table, Splitter.SplitByNothing(), {"Column1"}),
                        firstValueType = Value.Type(Table.FirstValue(asTable, null)),
                        result =
                            // if the member is a record (as expected), then expand it. 
                            if (Type.Is(firstValueType, type record)) then
                                Table.ExpandRecordColumn(asTable, "Column1", schema[Name])
                                error Error.Record("Error.Parameter", "table argument is a list, but not a list of records", [ ValueType = firstValueType ])
                        if (List.IsEmpty(table)) then
                            #table({"a"}, {})
                        else result
                    error Error.Record("Error.Parameter", "table argument should be a table or list of records", [ValueType = parameterType]),

            reordered = Table.SelectColumns(_table, schema[Name], MissingField.UseNull),

            // process primitive values - this will call Table.TransformColumnTypes
            map = (t) => if Type.Is(t, type table) or Type.Is(t, type list) or Type.Is(t, type record) or t = type any then null else t,        
            mapped = Table.TransformColumns(schema, {"Type", map}),
            omitted = Table.SelectRows(mapped, each [Type] <> null),
            existingColumns = Table.ColumnNames(reordered),
            removeMissing = Table.SelectRows(omitted, each List.Contains(existingColumns, [Name])),
            primativeTransforms = Table.ToRows(removeMissing),
            changedPrimatives = Table.TransformColumnTypes(reordered, primativeTransforms),
            // Get the list of transforms we'll use for Record types
            recordColumns = Table.SelectRows(schema, each Type.Is([Type], type record)),
            recordTypeTransformations = Table.AddColumn(recordColumns, "RecordTransformations", each (r) => Record.ChangeType(r, [Type]), type function),
            recordChanges = Table.ToRows(Table.SelectColumns(recordTypeTransformations, {"Name", "RecordTransformations"})),

            // Get the list of transforms we'll use for List types
            listColumns = Table.SelectRows(schema, each Type.Is([Type], type list)),
            listTransforms = Table.AddColumn(listColumns, "ListTransformations", each (t) => List.ChangeType(t, [Type]), Function.Type),
            listChanges = Table.ToRows(Table.SelectColumns(listTransforms, {"Name", "ListTransformations"})),

            // Get the list of transforms we'll use for Table types
            tableColumns = Table.SelectRows(schema, each Type.Is([Type], type table)),
            tableTransforms = Table.AddColumn(tableColumns, "TableTransformations", each (t) => @Table.ChangeType(t, [Type]), Function.Type),
            tableChanges = Table.ToRows(Table.SelectColumns(tableTransforms, {"Name", "TableTransformations"})),

            // Perform all of our transformations
            allColumnTransforms = recordChanges & listChanges & tableChanges,
            changedRecordTypes = if (List.IsEmpty(allColumnTransforms)) then changedPrimatives else Table.TransformColumns(changedPrimatives, allColumnTransforms, null, MissingField.Ignore),

            // set final type
            withType = Value.ReplaceType(changedRecordTypes, tableType)
            if (List.IsEmpty(Record.FieldNames(columnsForType))) then table else withType meta previousMeta,

    // If given a generic record type (no predefined fields), the original record is returned
    Record.ChangeType = (record as record, recordType as type) =>
            // record field format is [ fieldName = [ Type = type, Optional = logical], ... ]
            fields = try Type.RecordFields(recordType) otherwise error "Record.ChangeType: failed to get record fields. Is this a record type?",
            fieldNames = Record.FieldNames(fields),
            fieldTable = Record.ToTable(fields),
            optionalFields = Table.SelectRows(fieldTable, each [Value][Optional])[Name],
            requiredFields = List.Difference(fieldNames, optionalFields),
            // make sure all required fields exist
            withRequired = Record.SelectFields(record, requiredFields, MissingField.UseNull),
            // append optional fields
            withOptional = withRequired & Record.SelectFields(record, optionalFields, MissingField.Ignore),
            // set types
            transforms = GetTransformsForType(recordType),
            withTypes = Record.TransformFields(withOptional, transforms, MissingField.Ignore),
            // order the same as the record type
            reorder = Record.ReorderFields(withTypes, fieldNames, MissingField.Ignore)
            if (List.IsEmpty(fieldNames)) then record else reorder,

    List.ChangeType = (list as list, listType as type) =>
        if (not Type.Is(listType, type list)) then error "type argument should be a list type" else
            listItemType = Type.ListItem(listType),
            transform = GetTransformByType(listItemType),
            modifiedValues = List.Transform(list, transform),
            typed = Value.ReplaceType(modifiedValues, listType)

    // Returns a table type for the provided schema table
    Schema.ToTableType = (schema as table) as type =>
            toList = List.Transform(schema[Type], (t) => [Type=t, Optional=false]),
            toRecord = Record.FromList(toList, schema[Name]),
            toType = Type.ForRecord(toRecord, false),
            previousMeta = Value.Metadata(schema)
            type table (toType) meta previousMeta,

    // Returns a list of transformations that can be passed to Table.TransformColumns, or Record.TransformFields
    // Format: {"Column", (f) => ...) .... ex: {"A", Number.From}
    GetTransformsForType = (_type as type) as list =>
            fieldsOrColumns = if (Type.Is(_type, type record)) then Type.RecordFields(_type)
                            else if (Type.Is(_type, type table)) then Type.RecordFields(Type.TableRow(_type))
                            else error "GetTransformsForType: record or table type expected",
            toTable = Record.ToTable(fieldsOrColumns),
            transformColumn = Table.AddColumn(toTable, "Transform", each GetTransformByType([Value][Type]), Function.Type),
            transformMap = Table.ToRows(Table.SelectColumns(transformColumn, {"Name", "Transform"}))

    GetTransformByType = (_type as type) as function =>
                if (Type.Is(_type, type number)) then Number.From
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type text)) then Text.From
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type date)) then Date.From
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type datetime)) then DateTime.From
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type duration)) then Duration.From
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type datetimezone)) then DateTimeZone.From
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type logical)) then Logical.From
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type time)) then Time.From
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type record)) then (t) => if (t <> null) then @Record.ChangeType(t, _type) else t
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type table)) then (t) => if (t <> null) then @Table.ChangeType(t, _type) else t
        else if (Type.Is(_type, type list)) then (t) => if (t <> null) then @List.ChangeType(t, _type) else t
        else (t) => t