Building custom apps is quick and easy with Microsoft’s PowerApps. Part of the Microsoft Power Platform, PowerApps has a simple user interface and a variety of built-in templates you can choose from and customize your app to meet your needs.
Using PowerApps, anyone can build a sleek application to digitize their manual business processes, collect and analyze important data, or automate repetitive tasks, all without having any hardcore programming language.
This blog post walks you through the steps to build a customized app using Powerapps templates. Let’s get right into it!
How to Create a Canvas App from a Template
In PowerApps, you can build canvas apps or model-driven apps. A canvas app gives you more flexibility when it comes to customization.
You can personalize visual components, page navigation layout, data sources, etc. to fit your needs. Follow the below step-by-step guide to building your custom app from a template:
Sign into PowerApps
To use the built-in templates, login to PowerApps with your work or school account. You can create an Office 365 trial account if you don’t have a work/school account.
Click “Create” from the left-pane
Once logged into PowerApps, select “Create” from the left-hand menu of the screen. The Create tab has hundreds of templates to choose from. Examples include Service Desk Requests, Budget Tracker, Site Inspector, and so on.
You can start with a blank canvas or choose one of four available data sources, namely Dataverse, SharePoint, Excel, and SQL.
In canvas apps, when you select “Create”, you can choose between “Phone layout” and “Tablet layout”. Web users will still view the app, regardless of which orientation format they choose.
Choose Your Template
Scroll down to view all built-in application templates, and choose the template you want to use. You can preview the screen of each template before choosing one.
You’ll want to explore the entire list of all the available templates. That way, you get a feel of different screens and easily determine which one is ideal for your needs.
Set Your Connections
After you select your template, you can set your preferred connectors. There is the option to configure an existing connection within your environment or initialize a new connection.
To switch to a new connection, click “Change”, add a new connection, and select “Use”. You can choose from more than 200 available cloud connectors and on-premises sources, including Google Drive, OneDrive, and DropBox among others.
PowerApps will use these connectors to bring the data locally into the app, so everything will be within reach for users. Data can come in all forms, such as emails, tables, lists, etc.
Remember, when you select the option to build your app from SQL Server, Excel, SharePoint, or Dataverse, PowerApps will automatically generate an app connected to that data source.
Customize Your App
You want to customize your app to give it richness in functionality, look and feel. Some of the areas to customize include:
To update the screen title, select your existing title. Then navigate to “Edit Screen” under “Advanced Settings” on the right side of the screen.
Order of fields
You can change the order in which different fields appear on the app’s screen. The right-hand section of the screen gives you the option to organize your data source fields in the required sequence.
You can link your app to multiple data sources, including SharePoint lists, Common data service, Excel, and more.
Personalize your application by adding images, audio, and video files. You can also incorporate a camera, barcode reader, etc., depending on your needs.
Apps created in PowerApps come with a Search box by default. You can update the Search box by adding filters, items, and more.
You can customize your application with a variety of icons. There are over 2,000 SVG icons you can use in PowerApps.
Test the App, Save, and Share
When you’re done with your UI changes and customization, explore how the app works in Preview mode. Press the “Play” tab at the top-right corner of the screen and see how the app behaves.
If necessary, create, update, and delete sample data, and then confirm whether the data in your storage reflects your changes. Once you’re satisfied with your app, press Esc (or select the X icon near the top-right corner) to return to the default workspace.
Finally, press Ctrl-S, assign your app a name, choose your “save location”, and click “save” to save the app.
To share your app with your team, click on the “Share” tab. You’ll be prompted to enter Names, Emails, and user groups name of people you want to share with.
Important: The people with whom you’re sharing the app will need to have access to the data. Make sure to share the file containing your data as well.
With Microsoft PowerApps, building a custom application is a simple, straightforward process. If you’re familiar with Excel, SharePoint, or PowerPoint, that’s an added advantage as PowerApps works the same way as these applications.
Try building your custom app in PowerApps today and unlock new potentials for your business.