Create Custom Apps in Lightning Experience and Navigate More Efficiently

We’ve reimagined Lightning Experience navigation to make your users more efficient and allow them to switch between apps that you can brand and customize. If you know Salesforce Classic, the updated navigation model will feel like a familiar friend, only better. This feature is available in Lightning Experience only.

Navigate at the Speed of Lightning!

In the improved navigation model, the navigation menu that previously displayed on the side of Lightning Experience becomes a horizontal navigation bar at the top of the page, letting your users:

  • Find what they need using item names instead of icons for easy recognition
  • Complete actions and access recent records and lists with a single click
  • Use a consistent and familiar navigation experience

Think of the navigation bar as a container for a set of items and functionality. It’s always there, but the items within it change to represent the app you’re using.

Lightning Experience Navigation
  • The app name displays on the left side of the navigation bar (1), and custom colors and branding (2) make each app unique and easy to identify.
  • Your users can access other items and apps by clicking the App Launcher icon (3) or the app name.
  • Your users can create records and access recent records and lists directly from the navigation bar (4) for certain items like Opportunities.
  • If your org uses utility features, you can enable a utility bar in your app that allows instant access to productivity tools, like integrated voice, in the Lightning Experience footer.


  • You can create records and access recent records and lists for certain items directly from the navigation bar. Items with Navigation bar drop-down menu icon next to their name support this feature, with a few exceptions. Tasks and Notes allow you to create a record but you can't access recent records or lists. Reports and Dashboards allow you to see recent records but you can't see recent lists or create a record.
  • Some tabs, such as web tabs and Visualforce tabs, aren't highlighted when you select them on the navigation bar. For example, when you select Contacts, the tab is highlighted (1). However, when you select a web tab, the page displays but the tab isn’t highlighted (2).Some tabs aren't highlighted in nav bar

Find Items and Apps in the App Launcher

We’ve redesigned the App Launcher to make it easy for your users to switch between apps and access their available items and features. The App Launcher is so central to navigating Lightning Experience, we’ve moved it so that it’s always within easy reach on the left side of the navigation bar.

It’s All About Apps

Similar to Salesforce Classic, apps in Lightning Experience (what we call Lightning apps) give your users access to sets of objects, tabs, and other items all in one convenient bundle in the navigation bar. However, Lightning apps take things to a level beyond apps in Salesforce Classic (let’s call those Classic apps). Lightning apps let you brand your apps with a custom color and logo. You can even include a utility bar and Lightning page tabs in your Lightning app.

The number of Lightning Apps you can create in an org varies by edition.
Edition Lightning Apps Limit
Professional Edition 10
Enterprise Edition 25
Unlimited Edition Unlimited

Meet the Lightning Experience App Manager

This is your go-to place for managing apps for Lightning Experience. It shows all your connected apps and Salesforce apps, both Classic and Lightning.

Lightning Experience App Manager
Use the Lightning Experience App Manager to:
  • Create Lightning apps or connected apps (5)
  • See if your Classic apps are accessible to your users in Lightning Experience (6)
  • Edit, delete, or upgrade Classic apps to take advantage of all the benefits of apps in Lightning Experience (7)
Create a New Lightning App

Creating and editing a Lightning app is a cinch. Give your app a name, set its primary color, upload a logo, specify which items appear in the app’s navigation bar, and assign the app to user profiles. If your org includes utilities like Lightning Voice or Open CTI Softphone, you see options to add them to your app’s utility bar, which displays in the Lightning Experience footer.

What Happens to Existing Customizations?

If you’ve already created navigation menus for Lightning Experience, these menus are converted to Lightning apps when your org is upgraded to Winter ’17.



Edit your apps to ensure that they have the proper name, description, logo, navigation bar color, and other key settings. Check out this handy FAQ for more details.

Classic apps work in Lightning Experience without any modifications, and you can upgrade them to take advantage of custom branding and the enhanced navigation features available in Lightning Experience.

When you upgrade a Classic app for Lightning Experience, your Classic app is copied, so you see two versions: a Classic app and a Lightning app. The two versions are now managed separately. Changes you make to the Classic app aren’t reflected in the Lightning version, and vice versa. Lightning apps aren’t available in Salesforce Classic.