Add-in commands for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint

Add-in commands are UI elements that extend the Office UI and start actions in your add-in. You can add a button on the ribbon or an item to a context menu. When users select an add-in command, they initiate actions such as running JavaScript code, or showing a page of the add-in in a task pane. Add-in commands help users find and use your add-in, which can help increase your add-in's adoption and reuse, and improve customer retention.

For an overview of the feature, see the video Add-in Commands in the Office Ribbon.

Note: SharePoint catalogs do not support add-in commands. You can deploy add-in commands via centralized deployment or the Office Store, or use sideloading to deploy your add-in command for testing.

Add-in with commands running in Excel Desktop

Add-in commands

Add-in with commands running in Excel Online

Add-in commands

Command capabilities

The following command capabilities are currently supported.

Note: Content add-ins do not currently support add-in commands.

Extension points

  • Ribbon tabs - Extend built-in tabs or create a new custom tab.
  • Context menus - Extend selected context menus.

Control types

  • Simple buttons - trigger specific actions.
  • Menus - simple menu dropdown with buttons that trigger actions.

Actions

  • ShowTaskpane - Displays one or multiple panes that load custom HTML pages inside them.
  • ExecuteFunction - Loads an invisible HTML page and then execute a JavaScript function within it. To show UI within your function (such as errors, progress, or additional input) you can use the displayDialog API.

Supported platforms

Add-in commands are currently supported on the following platforms:

  • Office for Windows Desktop 2016 (build 16.0.6769+)
  • Office for Mac (build 15.33+)
  • Office Online

More platforms are coming soon.

Best practices

Apply the following best practices when you develop add-in commands:

  • Use commands to represent a specific action with a clear and specific outcome for users. Do not combine multiple actions in a single button.
  • Provide granular actions that make common tasks within your add-in more efficient to perform. Minimize the number of steps an action takes to complete.
  • For the placement of your commands in the Office ribbon:

    • Place commands on an existing tab (Insert, Review, and so on) if the functionality provided fits there. For example, if your add-in enables users to insert media, add a group to the Insert tab. Note that not all tabs are available across all Office versions. For more information, see Office Add-ins XML manifest.
    • Place commands on the Home tab if the functionality doesn't fit on another tab, and you have fewer than six top-level commands. You can also add commands to the Home tab if your add-in needs to work across Office versions (such as Office Desktop and Office Online) and a tab is not available in all versions (for example, the Design tab doesn't exist in Office Online).
    • Place commands on a custom tab if you have more than six top-level commands.
    • Name your group to match the name of your add-in. If you have multiple groups, name each group based on the functionality that the commands in that group provide.
    • Do not add superfluous buttons to increase the real estate of your add-in.

    Note: Add-ins that take up too much space might not pass Office Store validation.

  • For all icons, follow the icon design guidelines.

  • Provide a version of your add-in that also works on hosts that do not support commands. A single add-in manifest can work in both command-aware (with commands) and non-command-aware (as a taskpane) hosts.

    A screenshot that shows a task pane add-in in Office 2013 and the same add-in using add-in commands in Office 2016

Get started with add-in commands

The best way to get started using add-in commands is via samples. See the Office Add-in commands samples on GitHub.

For detailed manifest reference information, see Define add-in commands in your manifest.