Skip to content
Aerie Asked & Answered (1)

Choosing the Right Power App: Canvas Vs. Model Driven Apps Explained

Welcome to the second edition of Aerie Asked & Answered, our exciting new blog series.

Here, we explore a mix of inquiries we've received, stumbled upon online, or pondered internally. Join us as we dive into these questions and uncover the answers.

Read our first edition: Leveraging Power Automate to Simplify Permissions and Enhancements

Hi there,
"I'm planning to develop a new application for my business to improve our processes and enhance user engagement, but I'm caught between choosing Canvas Apps and Model Driven Apps within the Power Platform. Could you explain the key differences between these two options and provide guidance on which type would be better suited for a project that requires both a customized user interface and the ability to manage complex data relationships?"


Great question! Building from our previous blog, when deciding between Canvas Apps and Model Driven Apps, think about what you need for your project. Here's a simpler way to look at it:

Canvas Apps provide a versatile platform for creating custom applications, offering users the freedom to design their app's interface from scratch. Ideal for projects where there's already a reliable data source in place, it allows for a high degree of customization with the ability to connect to various data sources, including common ones like SharePoint lists. With its user-friendly design capabilities, Canvas Apps are perfect for those looking to tailor their app's look and functionality precisely to their requirements.

Model Driven Apps cater to projects requiring structured data management and integration, built around a comprehensive data model within Microsoft Dataverse. They excel in environments where data is scattered or underutilized, providing tools for efficient data organization, security configuration, and access management without extensive coding. By leveraging Dataverse, these apps offer advanced features such as AI and analytics, making them suitable for users seeking automated insights and a cohesive framework for their application’s data relationships.


Now let's get real... 

Here's an example of a Canvas App: Aerie's Equipment Tracker

Here's an example of a Model Driven App: Aerie's CRM


Opt for Canvas Apps when:

Canvas App, Power Apps

  • You possess quality data.
  • Seeking customization control over your app’s design is a priority.
  • The idea of beginning with a blank canvas appeals to you, offering the freedom to tailor the app’s appearance precisely to your vision.
  • Ideal for instances where you already have structured data (e.g., a SharePoint list) that integrates seamlessly.
  • Provides the flexibility to connect with a multitude of data sources.


Consider Model Driven Apps for:

Model Driven App, Power Apps

  • Scenarios where your data is disorganized or of poor quality.
  • A solution is needed to help streamline and structure your data, with the added benefit of accessing advanced features with minimal coding.
  • The process begins with a focus on data organization.
  • Employs Microsoft Dataverse to ensure data coherence and structure.
  • Especially beneficial when dealing with scattered or inefficiently utilized data.
  • Facilitates the implementation of app security measures and the application of AI technologies, all without extensive coding requirements.
  • An excellent choice for enhancing operational efficiency and achieving a deeper understanding of your data.

When deciding, if you have good data and want to design your app your way, Canvas Apps are the way to go. If your data is a bit messy and you're looking for easier ways to manage it and use cool features, Model Driven Apps are your best bet.

Thank you for following our Aerie Asked & Answered series.

We invite you to submit any questions you might have to



Expert Insights from the Aerie Team

Drop us a line

Our team will be happy to answer your questions.

ADDRESS: 110 West Canal Street, Suite 201
Winooski, VT 05404

: (813) 358-4656
HOURS: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm EST Monday to Friday