Roland Oldengarm - Independent IT Contractor

Living in the coolest little capital Wellington, New Zealand!

TechNet is wrong; You CAN add add-ins to Word Online

After some confusion and discussion on Yammer and TechNet forums, I found out that TechNet has published an article that has incorrect information. According to this article you cannot add Add-ins to Word Online, only to the desktop client.

Office Add-ins
You can get an add-in for Word from the Office Store. Office add-ins only work in the Word desktop app and are not available in Word Online. Learn how to get an add-in for Word.

I first trusted this information, but then I found out it’s wrong. You can add add-ins to Word Online, similar to Word Desktop! It is also possible to add add-ins to Word for the iPad, but I haven’t seen this working yet.

I’ll demonstrate how to make a custom add-in available to Word Online.

First, create a new Add-In for Office

After we’ve created an App (Add-In according to the new naming convention) for Office, I select “Task Pane” on the next screen. On the host application selection, I only check Word:

For the sake of this demo, I’m not changing the add-in. I’m going to publish it immediately. First, I have to publish the web app to Azure.

Publish the Web App to Azure

The next steps are relatively straight-forward:

  1. Select “Microsoft Azure Web Apps” as your target.
  2. Use an existing web app or create a new one.
  3. Hit Publish

The Web App is now on Azure, allowing you to package the add-in. Visual Studio should then show you the Publish options:

If not, right click the Office Add-in project (not the web project!) and click Publish.

Now, click “Package the app”.

You’ll need to change the URL of the Web App to HTTPS. The good thing is that Azure Web Apps have SSL enabled by default.

Windows Explorer should open in the folder with the AppManifest.xml:

Then, go to an Office 365 App Catalog, and upload the XML file to the library “Apps for Office”.

We’re done now, and we should be able to test that the app now is available in Word Online. From the App Catalog, click the App Launcher (top left corner) and then Word Online.

Create a new blank document, and click Insert -> My Add-ins. Et voila, our add-in is showing up here!

You can test as well that it will show up in Word for Desktop, you need to add the App Catalog as a trusted location. See here for more information.

1 Comment

  1. This is really helpful. Thank you.

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