With Open as App you can mobilize existing Excel files or Google spreadsheets within minutes. We enable automated app creation from Excel or business systems with a cloud-based tool that does not require any programming knowledge from the user.
This article will give you an overview of the individual steps from the Excel file to your own app. As with almost everywhere, Open as App also has the motto: Exercise makes the champion. We invite you to familiarize yourself with the individual steps in this article to speed up the learning process.
From the spreadsheet to the app
- Before you start: Prepare the source file
- Select data source
- Select worksheet and confirm file
- Determine the template for the app
- First design step
- Additional design process
- Publish your app
- Registration or Login
- Use your app
The app creation already starts in your Excel spreadsheet. The cleaner the columns and cells are formatted there, the easier you will turn this file into an app. Format the cells according to their contents! Instead of writing "10%" to a cell, format it as a percentage to automatically add a "%" symbol to the 10. The same is true for currencies including symbols, text, date, decimal places, and so on... You want the values in a column to show the $ in front of the number? Format the cell accordingly in your Excel file.
With a clean formatting, you not only work more effectively, but also nearly error-free. It is not about colors or fonts in your file, but about the actual definition of the content. You can change the design of each element of your app on the Open as App web page.
First, start the app creation with a look at the Excel file and make the first improvements, if necessary. You will find detailed information about the source file in the article "Do's and don'ts for your Excel Spreadsheet".
After the spreadsheet has been adjusted, the app creation can begin.
In the first step, you determine where the data for your app comes from. You can process a file stored locally on your PC, or a spreadsheet that you choose to host in an external cloud (Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Sheets), or in your corporate network.
In the Data "Choose your data source" step, you set the source file for the app creation process. You can find out what options are here and what happens with your file in the article " What happens with my file? ".
For detailed information about the individual choices and cloud providers, please refer to the "Step 1: Choose your source file" section at https://support.openasapp.net/hc/en-us/sections/202073925.
If your Excel file consists of several worksheets, you must decide which sheet you want to use as the main component of your app in the Data » "Confirm your data" step. The Open as App Wizard will analyze the architecture as well as the formatting of the selected worksheet and suggest a suitable template for your app.
It is therefore important to think about what the future app should look like - especially if it consists of mixed data such as lists and calculations.
Example: You want to create a pricing app that consists of many input and output fields, but you also want to have a list with all employees in the app.
Tip: Let the wizard analyze the worksheet with the calculation and select "Calculation" as the template for this app. The subsequent addition of a list is (currently) much easier than adding a calculation to an existing app later.
After the analysis (in which no content of your spreadsheet is read, only the architecture is considered), the wizard recommends different app templates. The templates optimize the app creation process by adjusting individual steps. For example, you can make different basic settings for a list than for a calculation.
Of course, it is possible to add a calculation to a list app and vice versa. The template basically only determines the first creation process. You can find out which templates are available in the article What is a template?".
As you can create unlimited apps with Open as App, we invite you to try out different types. You can also use our example files (sample files) and thus see the individual steps of converting different Excel file into apps.
Confirm the template with a click on "OK". After that, the design process begins.
The step "design" will vary according to the template chosen. While you select individual input and output fields for calculations here, for lists you define the different views.
First design step for lists
On the "Select visible fields" page, you determine which columns from your sheet you want to display in the app. You have two separate areas. The list and the detail view, which you open by clicking on a list entry. We have prepared a tutorial for you, which explains step by step how to create an inventory application. "Convert an Excel inventory list into app with dynamic dashboard"
First design step for calculations
On the "Select cells" page, select the cells you want to show in your app. You can add more pages and cells later and move, or reshape each element of your app. If your file consists of several worksheets, you can easily switch between the individual sheets. A separate tutorial is available for the calculation. Here you will learn how to create a license calculator with which you can send offers as a PDF file directly using the app. Create a license calculator with print functionality
After the content has been extensively defined for your app, you have the option to make additional settings for your app in the "Additional Design" step. This can be optical changes - which you can make under "Change theme", for example, or add additional features to your app. For calculations, this can be a diagram or the printing function.
Additional Design for lists
For a list application, you only have the most important settings available in the creator since you have already defined much of your app in the steps before. Once the app has been created, you can of course "equip" it with other pages, elements, and functions. For more information, see the section "Design your app".
Additional Design for calculations
Calculators are usually the more complex apps compared to lists. Excel calculations consist of many input and output fields or diagrams. The "Additional Design" page for calculations helps you make your app as effective as possible. Visit https://support.openasapp.net/hc/en-us/articles/207232199 for a deeper insight into the app designer. There the individual elements are explained and you will learn how each of them can be edited individually.
In the final step of app creation, you name your app and can add a description. This is used, for example, for the invitation e-mails when you want to invite people to use your app. Each app is initially only visible to you - as a creator and administrator. How to manage access to your app is explained in detail at https://support.openasapp.net/hc/de/articles/208137385.
By clicking on the "Create your App" button, you officially create an app. Congratulations!
If you selected a file from your PC to create the app, a copy will now be saved in the Microsoft Azure Europe Cloud from Open as App. Your file can not be viewed or edited by third parties.
Registration with Open as App is free. As a private user, you will receive an unlimited "Consumer FREE" account. The commercial use of Open as App is basically free of any costs as well. Change the switch and start the digitization with a "Business FREE" account. For more information about Open as App and how to digitize your spreadsheets, see the article "Welcome to Open as App".
Already have an Open as App account? Then you probably already know how it works.
Now everything is ready and your app is waiting to be used.
Your app can be accesses via the "Open as App" app. "Open as App" is available for free for iOS, Android, and Windows. Download "Open as App" in your store and log in with the data entered in the previous step. All apps you create are placed in the "My Apps" folder. Not sure how to download and use Open as App? Check out the article "Open as App | Download and Login".