Overview of creating apps in Power Apps

Power Apps is a high-productivity development platform for business apps, and has four major components:

  • Canvas apps
  • Model-driven apps
  • Portals
  • Common Data Service

Let's learn more about each of these.

Canvas apps

Canvas apps start with your user experience, crafting a highly tailored interface with the power of a blank canvas and connecting it to your choice of more than 200 data sources. You can build canvas apps for web, mobile, and tablet applications.

Canvas apps give you the flexibility to arrange the user experience and interface the way you want it. Allow your creativity and business sense to guide how you want your apps to look and feel.

You can start to build your app from Microsoft tools where your data lives, such as:

Creating a canvas app is easy; with Power Apps, you can find or create your app in several ways:

Model-driven apps

Model-driven apps start with your data model – building up from the shape of your core business data and processes in the Common Data Service to model forms, views, and other components. Model-driven apps automatically generate great UI that is responsive across devices.

When you create a model-driven app, you can use all of the power of the Common Data Service to rapidly configure your forms, business rules, and process flows. You create a model-driven app from the Power Apps site.

Getting started with model-driven apps is simple, and you can begin with these topics:


Portals help you create external-facing websites that allow users outside your organization to sign in with a wide variety of identities, create and view data in Common Data Service, or even browse content anonymously.

Use these topics to quickly get started with portals:

Common Data Service

Common Data Service is the data platform that comes with Power Apps and allows you to store and model business data. It's the platform on which Dynamics 365 apps (such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Marketing, and Project Service Automation) are built. If you’re a Dynamics 365 customer, your data is already in Common Data Service.

Common Data Service allows you to securely store and manage data within a set of standard and custom entities, and you can add fields to those entities when you need them.

Getting started with Common Data Service is easy. For example, you can start with these items:

Planning a Power Apps app or project

It's easy to try building out your first app. We have a 30-day trial plan and a free community plan; find out which one is best for you and get started.

If you are new to Power Apps, and want to learn about how to convert your ideas into a fully working solution using Power Apps, start with Planning a Power Apps project.