For any business looking to become more efficient, Microsoft PowerApps is the way forward. This tool allows you to build apps even from data in Excel workbooks. Power Apps is a collection of apps, connectors, and other services along with a data platform. This allows you to build custom apps based on your specific business requirements.
These business apps can connect to your data stored on data platforms or other data sources, either on-premise or online. This is a complete guide on PowerApps and how to use it to improve your business. With this PowerApps tutorial, you will be able to scale quickly and create apps that meet your needs, without writing difficult code. So dive in.
What is PowerApps?
If you’ve had situations where you wish you had the power to create business applications in a few hours, without a lot of hassle, PowerApps is for you. A part of Office365, it simplifies the business development cycle.
Developers and users have the power to create custom native, mobile, and web applications. These applications connect intuitively to the cloud or on-premise data sources.
While app development brings to mind long lines of code and sleepless nights, PowerApps saves you from all this hassle.
Why use PowerApps?
In addition to giving you the power to create feature-rich apps without extensive coding, PowerApps also makes sure your apps provide rich business logic and workflow. This gives them the potential to transform your existing processes into digital automated processes.
It also allows developers to interact with metadata and data. They can apply logic and create custom connectors to integrate with external data.
In addition to building apps quickly with the knowledge and skills you already possess, you can share them instantly. This means your coworkers and clients can use it on phones and tablets as soon as you want to share it with them.
That is why this PowerApps tutorial could change the way your business operates and increase overall productivity.
The Building Blocks Behind PowerApps
Each part of the PowerApps components plays a crucial role in working together to create the best version of the app you have in mind. It is important to cover the basic PowerApps components before diving in. This PowerApps tutorial covers some of the components before teaching you how to use it.
PowerApps Home Page
Irrespective of your starting point, PowerApps start from the PowerApps home page. These can be built from data, sample apps that are already available, or even a completely blank canvas. It shows any app you might have built, created, or have been shared with you.
PowerApps studio allows you to develop apps further. This includes a connection to data, User Interface elements being added and arranged for user control, and formula building.
It is almost like a sliding deck used in Microsoft PowerPoint, and uses three panes:
- The left pane shows the hierarchy of screen controls or thumbnails for all screens in your app.
- Middle Pane to display the canvas app being developed.
- Right pane for controls, layout, and properties, as well as any data sources being used.
PowerApps Mobile is a tool used to run apps on Microsoft Windows, Apple iOS, and Google Android devices. PowerApps on Mobile devices installed from the app store of your choice lets you share and use PowerApps. It also allows you to use camera controls, GPS, and so on from your phone in these apps.
PowerApps Admin Center
The Admin center plays a crucial role in managing environments and components. This is the central control, for example, separate deployment and production environments, maintaining data policies, and so on.
Creating Apps Using PowerApps
You can start creating your apps either using PowerApps Studio, or the quick and feature-rich browser version. Use a template if it’s your first time; that is bound to help. A create button can be found on the start screen for PowerApps. Click on it and proceed to pick a template that will complement your business environment.
Multiple design modes for the templates implies that the selected template would work best for the selected device. It will, however, also work on other devices and in other orientations. The creator gets to choose how the design mode, orientation, and aspect ratio will change, or even whether or not they will change. The size of the target device can also be specified while choosing the template.
The User interface of PowerApps is pretty easy to understand. This PowerApps tutorial delves into it in detail to make your introduction into the world of PowerApps easier.
The top section is the ribbon that is common to most Microsoft applications ever since office 2007. It gives you the same functionality as it dies in Word or Excel, such as underlining, aligning, and setting formulas as you would do in Excel.
The second section is the bottom left part that helps you visualize “screens”. The start screen and subsequent screens are displayed in order. Dragging them up or down changes the order, almost like sorting through slides in PowerPoint, as seen from a,b, and c below.
The third section located towards the bottom middle shows the screen you are working on currently. This can be used to select controls, elements, and so on, or to manipulate objects and their position, as in ‘1’ below.
The bottom right section allows you to define attributes of the selected elements, like a formula bar. Some of these attributes can only be selected in this particular section, as seen in ‘2’ above as well.
Pro Tips for Better A PowerApps Experience
PowerApps can be made even more useful by following a few pointers.
Make sure to use a consistent color and brand as this makes for a much better user experience. You can do this by reference to a color that has been used before.
Make sure you are aware of important formulas. There are more than 150 of them, but the most important ones like filter and sort should make it easier for you.
Set up gateways to set up data leverage if data is stored on-premise. If not, make sure to connect to the systems used, like CDS, SharePoint, and Excel. These make it easier to make your apps and share them.
Use tools like Microsoft Flow for more advanced logic and flexibility. The integration is fairly simple and can help you with advanced tasks and requirements.
This PowerApps tutorial aims at familiarising you with the basics of PowerApps and giving you a headstart to create your own apps. There is unlimited scope for exploration, and this will definitely help you scale your business to new heights.