In this tutorial you will learn how to transform an Excel list into an app. With the Open as App Wizard you can create the masses of professional apps you need in your daily business. This can be simple lists with your employees, or complex planning lists you use every day. The logic of the Excel file remains in the app and can be expanded with additional functions.
You can start your career as an App Creator with some less complex apps to get 'a feeling for it' and move on to more complex apps step by step.
So far no master has fallen from the sky...
The app created in this tutorial is based on the inventory list of the company's existing computer. The Excel file contains about 600 lines and 15 columns with information about each device. With the app, we want to create a convenient way to effectively access this data outside the office.
The Dynamic Dashboard is generated automatically from the data contained in your Excel spreadsheet and can be accessed via the function menu. With the Dynamic Dashboard you automatically transfer initial business intelligence elements into each of your list apps, like in the example below.
Single steps in this tutorial:
- Start App Creator
- Select source file
- Select Template
- Edit App
- Create App
- Install App on mobile device
- Dynamic Dashboard
The app creation process takes place in the Open as App Creator.
- Start the App Creator by clicking "App Creator" in the dashboard's menu (see screenshot below).
- Alternatively, this URL takes you directly to the app creation process: https://www.openasapp.net/index-admin.html#!/apps/wizard/data.
First, locate the file that you want to transform into an app.
You can upload a spreadsheet from your PC or choose an Online saved file (for example, from your Dropbox).
Detailed information about the individual options for uploading files, please see the section Data.
In this example we create a "Inventory App" and upload the Excel file from our computer. We click on "A file from my computer" and search for the desired spreadsheet.
- Select the Source Excel file.
After selecting the file, you will be automatically redirected to the next step.
We created some sample files (like the calculator in this tutorial). They are available for you online. Feel free to use them to train your skills. The tutorial files can be found at the bottom of the 'Select your Online Data' page.
Of course, you can start directly with your own Excel spreadsheet.
Based on the data in the Excel sheet, the Open as App Wizard automatically suggests "List" as appropriate template. The additional design process will be adjusted based on this selection. This is important as a calculation app should include other features as a list for example.
On the right side you can see a preview of the template. Please note that the app preview does not displays data from your file here.
You will find an overview of the different templates here: App Templates
- Select the desired template.
- Confirm your selection by clicking on the 'OK' button.
The step 'design' consists of several sub steps.
First, you determine the order of the columns, define the content type of column (for example, as a number or text) or hide individual columns.
In the second step, you can use additional design to visually edit your app and possibly expand with other functions.
Select list columns
The classic list app consists of two areas that you can customize separately. Each box represents a column of your list. All dark grey columns will be part of your app.
|"Main View" / "Initial View" (List Columns)||"Detail View" (Detail Dialog Columns)|
|You can see the main view of the list on your device as soon as you open the app (you can call it the "start screen" of your list).||The detail view appears when you select one of the entries from the list. Here you can put in additional information without overfilling the main view.|
- You can activate or deactivate individual columns by clicking on it. You will see the effect immediately in the preview.
- The column order can be changed by drag & drop. Drag (hold left mouse button) the relevant box on the right side and drop it where you want it to appear.
- To change the content type of the column, click on the symbol "TT" and select the desired format.
If you are creating a complex list containing many different cells like numbers, text, date and currencies - be careful at this step. A correct formatting facilitates the use of your app (for example, if you want to sort a column in descending order by value).
While converting complex lists with many columns in an app, it may be worth to split the columns between the main and detailed view.
Note: Labels are transferred automatically and do not need to be selected if the excel file is arranged logically. In our example, the labels are taken from the first line.
- Design your list as you wish.
- Confirm your choice with 'OK'.
In the sub step 'Additional Design' you'll find lots of possibilities to pimp up your app even more. E.g. by performing some optical changes or adding a "search box".
This step is optional.
Each individual element of the app can be edited in the "Preview". You can always access the preview under 'Preview your app'.
Simply hover over an element and enter the editor for this element by clicking on the pencil symbol.
For simplicity, and because the app is basically completed, we will only change the 'Theme' (color layout).
- Click on Change theme in the listing on the left side of the page.
- Select a theme.
- Confirm the step with 'OK'.
Further information relating to 'Additional Design' can be found in this section: https://openasapp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/sections/201744459
In the last step of the creation process you can name your app and add a description. Your app can be found under the name selected here via the app player search function (for example on your iPhone). This name also appears in the title bar of the app. (You can change it later on.)
- Give your app a name.
- Add some additional information that describes your app best.
- Click "CREATE MY APP" to finish the process.
You have turned your Excel spreadsheet into a native app which is now ready for use!
In case you are using Open as App for the first time (or you are not logged in), you will be asked to log in or to create an account.
The sign up process is quick and easy - and of course free of any costs!
Your app will be created instantly and you will receive an email that contains a link to your app.
- Open the mail on the device on which you want to use Open as App.
- Click on the link.
- The host app will download and run the new application.
To use your created app, the 'Open as App' app must be installed on your device. All apps you create will be stored there for you. If you have not yet installed the host application on your device, download it on your app store.
Open as App is free of charge and available for iOS, Android and Windows.
- Download Open as App on your device. Links to the available versions can be found here: https://www.openasapp.net/get
My Apps View
Logged in users can find all self-created apps in the 'My Apps' view.
You can find and run your app on your device by using the search box in the 'Open as App' application.
Thanks to the dynamic dashboard, you can generate an overview of all the entries with only one click in your app. Tap on one of the columns to automatically show all matching entries in the list.
- Open the right hand side menu in your app.
- Click on 'Dynamic Dashboard'.
Follow this link for more information on the dynamic dashboard: https://support.openasapp.net/hc/en-us/articles/206254844-Dynamic-Dashboard
More lists or business intelligence?
Grab your Excel list and create an app with a professional dashboard on the fly. You will see how easy it is.
By the way: You start with a "business free" account (no credit card required) and can create as many apps as you want!