About Apps and Where They Are Stored

An X-Author for Excel application (app) is created within Microsoft Excel using X-Author Designer. There is no coding because all configuration is accomplished through the point-and-click designer. 

An app is a combination of: 

  • A Microsoft Excel template that contains the Excel workbook layout.
  • An XML file that contains the app-specific User Menus, Action Flows, maps, and other user-experience elements.

Apps are stored in the applications object within your environment instance. Each app is represented by one application record in which the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet template, an XML file, and other configuration data are stored in the Notes and Attachments.  (These files should not be edited without using the X-Author Designer or it may corrupt the app.)

X-Author for Excel apps are not related to any environment definition of an application or app. A single X-Author app can include any number of objects that span any number of environment applications.

Apps can be created in two ways:

  • Use the fully featured Designer. When you use the designer, each of the components must be configured manually (for example, Display Map and Save Map).
  • Create a Quick app. A Quick app is a 1 – 2 minute wizard experience where a designer can create a simple single object list on its own (for example, Opportunities) or a list filtered by a parent object (for example, Opportunities by Account). To learn how to create a Quick app, refer to Creating apps with Quick apps.


The third type of app can be created using the Data Migration Wizard. This app is specifically designed for migrating data between two organizations. For information on creating a Data Migration app, refer to Using the Data Migration Wizard.

To create an app using X-Author Designer 

  1. In the ribbon menu, click the apps button and select New App.

  2. Type the app name in the App Name field. This name will display as the window title in the Excel worksheet at runtime. Use only English characters for the app name. Non English characters are not supported as they impact import/export operations, offline capability and more.

    Give your app a name that is concise but also summarizes the basic purpose of the app.

  3. To use a new Excel template, click the New radio button.  Although most existing templates can be used, it is sometimes easier to start with a clean workbook unless users are very familiar with the existing file and change management is a concern.
  4. To create an app from an existing Excel file, click the Existing radio button and then click Browse to select the template file.
  5. Click Next.

  6. In the ribbon menu, click Save App.

You have created an app shell and you are ready to add the various Designer components.