How to create a custom app for Microsoft Teams with Power Apps
With the advent of Power, Microsoft Apps enables more teams to create unique collaborative experiences in a digital world.
Designed to meet the growing demand for low-code and no-code functionality, the Power Apps ecosystem is a suite of apps, tools, and connectors designed to help you build apps for your small business. With Microsoft’s pre-built templates, you don’t necessarily need existing technical knowledge to use these ready-to-go tools.
With more teams working in remote and hybrid environments than ever before, staff rely on a multitude of apps to continue operating productively in any environment. Here’s what you need to know about creating a custom app for Microsoft Teams.
Tap into the Microsoft Teams Dataverse
Microsoft’s low-code application environment means you can build your own custom tools and automation to empower staff members wherever they are. Rather than having to wait for another developer to create the perfect tool for your specific needs, you can design the technology you need yourself.
To enable this, Microsoft has introduced the Microsoft Dataverse for Teams. The dataverse is an integrated solution for Microsoft Teams, allowing users to build custom apps and workflows using Power Apps and Power Automate. Essentially, you get a set of tools ranging from data storage to various crucial data types and one-click deployment all rolled into one.
Each team in Microsoft Teams can only have one Dataverse for that collaboration environment. Dataverse stores manage and share team-specific insights, workflows, chatbots, and apps created with Power Apps.
The updated Power Apps app in Teams provides an integrated experience for app markers, so you can start building workflows and editing apps in your collaborative tool. Once you’re done creating and editing, it only takes one click to quickly publish your app and share it with your whole team.
Get started with apps in Microsoft Teams
There are several ways to use apps created by Power Apps in Teams. The best solution is to install the Power Apps personal app in Microsoft Teams. You can do this by opening Microsoft Teams and then clicking “More apps added”. After installing Power Apps, you can pin it to your Microsoft Teams sidebar so you can access the app whenever you want.
To start building your app using the personal app in Teams, click Power App, then click “Create”. Choose which team will own or host the app and give the app a name.
If this is the first app created for a selected team, you will need a new Dataverse for that team. Microsoft will create the Dataverse for you, so don’t worry. It can take Teams a little while to organize all your data. Once you have your dataverse:
- Select “Create a new table” on the left side of Power Apps Studio to create a table
- Add columns with specific types – text, dates and numbers – which will help you later
- Create choice columns with option lists and lookups to create relationships with other tables
- Start filling in rows of data, just like you would a table in Excel.
To ensure anyone can build an app in Microsoft Teams, Microsoft offers a range of templates. These are specially designed apps for common app templates that all team members can easily install. You can use a template without any modifications or customize and extend the template as much as you want.
To choose a template, tap the “All Templates” option in Power Apps, and you’ll see a range of standard options, including a help desk or apps to organize contacts. Although you can create an application from scratch, it is a a bit more complex process.
Customizing and publishing your app
Once you’re done with your board or selected your template, it will automatically be added to your Microsoft Teams app gallery. Once your Power App is ready, you can easily add it to Teams. You can do this by selecting the team and channel where you want your Power App to go. After that, click the “+” icon at the top of a Teams instance bar to add a tab.
Your Dataverse will have added your new app to your ecosystem for you, so you should be able to find your app in the list of available tabs to add to Teams. Click on the application you created and click on the save button. You and other users of your Microsoft Teams instance should be able to see the app loading in the Teams window.
If you want, you can click the globe icon at the top of the Microsoft Teams page, near the “tabs” section, to open your app in its own space. Other top bar commands can also let you put the app in full screen, start an app-based chat, or refresh the app. You can also remove an app from your Microsoft Teams installation at any time by clicking on the app name and choosing “Remove”.
You should also be able to install any apps you build using Power Apps directly from the Microsoft Teams store if you run into any issues. In the Power Platform admin center, you’ll have more control over your environments and get real-time self-help recommendations. The Power Platform admin center will also allow you to modify user roles and data loss prevention policies.
Because of the Microsoft Teams-based tab for Power Apps, your co-workers should be able to access and modify app features at any time, based on their user permissions.