Add-In Commands Give Office 2016 Devs More Control

A number of new tools whose capabilities will be deployable in Office client apps in the coming months include add-in command extensibility, and theming and Office.js APIs.

Besides the bevy of tools already available for developers who are making the most of enterprise Microsoft Office app usage, the Office Dev teams blogged about a number of new tools whose capabilities will be deployable in Office client apps in the coming months, including add-in command extensibility, and theming and Office.js APIs.

Add-in commands can now be used to provide add-ins for users via the ribbon. To provide users with a Yelp or Evernote add-in from the ribbon, developers declare them in the add-in manifest in a new VersionOverrides node. (More info on working with the add-in manifest is here.)

Where users just need to respond with a button click to perform an action, such as a simple printing function, developers can use a JavaScript function to run an add-in. For actions that require user input, an add-in button can be added that launches a task pane asking for more information.

Add-ins can also be coded to have the Office 2016 look and feel, via the theming APIs. The Office theme is accessed via the Context.officeTheme property. For more granular developer control, Microsoft also recently announced the Office UI Fabric framework, which is available on Github.

The team has also been working on developing tools that provide for more creative ways to use Word and Excel functions in collaborative working environments, through Office.js APIs. As the APIs are in preview, there's a limited number of functions that can be embedded into other clients. For Word: documents, paragraphs, content controls, header/footer, search, range, sections, selection, pictures and formatting functions. For Excel: named items, worksheets, ranges, formatting, tables, and charts. Snippets for these functions can be accessed through the Office.js Snippets Explorer. You can read more about them here.

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