Build your first Excel add-in

This article describes how to use the Excel JavaScript API to build an add-in for Excel 2016 or Excel Online. The following steps walk you through building a simple task pane add-in that loads some data into a worksheet and creates a basic chart in Excel 2016.

Quarterly Sales Report Add-in

You’ll start by creating a web app using HTML and JQuery. Then you'll create an XML manifest file that specifies where you want to locate your web app, and how it should appear within Excel.

Create the web app

1- Create a folder on your local drive named QuarterlySalesReport (for example, C:\QuarterlySalesReport). Within that folder, create a folder named QuarterlySalesReportWeb (for example, C:\QuarterlySalesReport\QuarterlySalesReportWeb). Save all the web app files that you create in the steps that follow into this folder.

2- Create the HTML page that will load into the task pane add-in. Name the file Home.html and paste the code below into the file.


    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
    <head>
        <meta charset="UTF-8" />
        <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=Edge" />
        <title>Quarterly Sales Report</title>

        <script src="https://ajax.aspnetcdn.com/ajax/jQuery/jquery-2.1.4.min.js"></script>

        <link href="Office.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />

        <script src="https://appsforoffice.microsoft.com/lib/1/hosted/office.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

        <link href="Common.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
        <script src="Notification.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

        <script src="Home.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

        <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://appsforoffice.microsoft.com/fabric/1.0/fabric.min.css">
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://appsforoffice.microsoft.com/fabric/1.0/fabric.components.min.css">

    </head>
    <body class="ms-font-m">
        <div id="content-header">
            <div class="padding">
                <h1>Welcome</h1>
            </div>
        </div>
        <div id="content-main">
            <div class="padding">
                <p>This sample shows how to load some sample data into the worksheet, and then create a chart using the Excel JavaScript API.</p>
                <br />
                <h3>Try it out</h3>
                <button class="ms-Button" id="load-data-and-create-chart">Click me!</button>
            </div>
        </div>
    </body>
    </html>

3- Create a file named Common.css to store your custom styles and paste the code below into the file.

    /* Common app styling */

    #content-header {
        background: #2a8dd4;
        color: #fff;
        position: absolute;
        top: 0;
        left: 0;
        width: 100%;
        height: 80px; /* Fixed header height */
        overflow: hidden; /* Disable scrollbars for header */
    }

    #content-main {
        background: #fff;
        position: fixed;
        top: 80px; /* Same value as #content-header's height */
        left: 0;
        right: 0;
        bottom: 0;
        overflow: auto; /* Enable scrollbars within main content section */
    }

    .padding {
        padding: 15px;
    }

    #notification-message {
        background-color: #818285;
        color: #fff;
        position: absolute;
        width: 100%;
        min-height: 80px;
        right: 0;
        z-index: 100;
        bottom: 0;
        display: none; /* Hidden until invoked */
    }

        #notification-message #notification-message-header {
            font-size: medium;
            margin-bottom: 10px;
        }

        #notification-message #notification-message-close {
            background-image: url("../../images/Close.png");
            background-repeat: no-repeat;
            width: 24px;
            height: 24px;
            position: absolute;
            right: 5px;
            top: 5px;
            cursor: pointer;
        }


4- Create a file to contain the programming logic for the add-in in jQuery. Name the file Home.js and paste the following script into the file.


    (function () {
        "use strict";

        // The initialize function must be run each time a new page is loaded
        Office.initialize = function (reason) {
            $(document).ready(function () {
                app.initialize();

                $('#load-data-and-create-chart').click(loadDataAndCreateChart);
            });
        };

        // Load some sample data into the worksheet and then create a chart
        function loadDataAndCreateChart() {
            // Run a batch operation against the Excel object model
            Excel.run(function (ctx) {

                // Create a proxy object for the active worksheet
                var sheet = ctx.workbook.worksheets.getActiveWorksheet();

                //Queue commands to set the report title in the worksheet
                sheet.getRange("A1").values = "Quarterly Sales Report";
                sheet.getRange("A1").format.font.name = "Century";
                sheet.getRange("A1").format.font.size = 26;

                //Create an array containing sample data
                var values = [["Product", "Qtr1", "Qtr2", "Qtr3", "Qtr4"],
                              ["Frames", 5000, 7000, 6544, 4377],
                              ["Saddles", 400, 323, 276, 651],
                              ["Brake levers", 12000, 8766, 8456, 9812],
                              ["Chains", 1550, 1088, 692, 853],
                              ["Mirrors", 225, 600, 923, 544],
                              ["Spokes", 6005, 7634, 4589, 8765]];

                //Queue a command to write the sample data to the specified range
                //in the worksheet and bold the header row
                var range = sheet.getRange("A2:E8");
                range.values = values;
                sheet.getRange("A2:E2").format.font.bold = true;

                //Queue a command to add a new chart
                var chart = sheet.charts.add("ColumnClustered", range, "auto");

                //Queue commands to set the properties and format the chart
                chart.setPosition("G1", "L10");
                chart.title.text = "Quarterly sales chart";
                chart.legend.position = "right"
                chart.legend.format.fill.setSolidColor("white");
                chart.dataLabels.format.font.size = 15;
                chart.dataLabels.format.font.color = "black";
                var points = chart.series.getItemAt(0).points;
                points.getItemAt(0).format.fill.setSolidColor("pink");
                points.getItemAt(1).format.fill.setSolidColor('indigo');

                //Run the queued commands, and return a promise to indicate task completion
                return ctx.sync();
            })
              .then(function () {
                  app.showNotification("Success");
                  console.log("Success!");
              })
            .catch(function (error) {
                // Always be sure to catch any accumulated errors that bubble up from the Excel.run execution
                app.showNotification("Error: " + error);
                console.log("Error: " + error);
                if (error instanceof OfficeExtension.Error) {
                    console.log("Debug info: " + JSON.stringify(error.debugInfo));
                }
            });
        }
    })();

5- Create a file to contain the programming logic for providing notifications in the add-in in case of errors. This is helpful while debugging. Name the file Notification.js and paste the following script into the file.


    /* Notification functionality */

    var app = (function () {
        "use strict";

        var app = {};

        // Initialization function (to be called from each page that needs notification)
        app.initialize = function () {
            $('body').append(
                '<div id="notification-message">' +
                    '<div class="padding">' +
                        '<div id="notification-message-close"></div>' +
                        '<div id="notification-message-header"></div>' +
                        '<div id="notification-message-body"></div>' +
                    '</div>' +
                '</div>');

            $('#notification-message-close').click(function () {
                $('#notification-message').hide();
            });


            // After initialization, expose a common notification function
            app.showNotification = function (header, text) {
                $('#notification-message-header').text(header);
                $('#notification-message-body').text(text);
                $('#notification-message').slideDown('fast');
            };
        };

        return app;
    })();

6- Save all of the web app files.

Create the XML manifest file

1- Within the QuarterlySalesReport folder on your local drive (for example, C:\QuarterlySalesReport), create an XML manifest file to specify the settings and capabilities of the add-in. Name the file QuarterlySalesReportManifest.xml and paste the following XML into the file.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!--Created:cb85b80c-f585-40ff-8bfc-12ff4d0e34a9-->
    <OfficeApp xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/appforoffice/1.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:type="TaskPaneApp">
      <Id>ab2991e7-fe64-465b-a2f1-c865247ef434</Id>
      <Version>1.0.0.0</Version>
      <ProviderName>Microsoft</ProviderName>
      <DefaultLocale>en-US</DefaultLocale>
      <DisplayName DefaultValue="Quarterly Sales Report Sample" />
      <Description DefaultValue="Quarterly Sales Report Sample"/>
      <Capabilities>
        <Capability Name="Workbook" />
      </Capabilities>
      <DefaultSettings>
        <SourceLocation DefaultValue="~remoteAppUrl/QuarterlySalesReportWeb/Home.html" />
      </DefaultSettings>
      <Permissions>ReadWriteDocument</Permissions>
    </OfficeApp>

2- Generate a GUID using an online generator of your choice. Then, replace the value of the Id element shown in the previous step with that GUID.

3- Save the XML manifest file.

Now that you've created the web app and the XML manifest file, you’ve officially written your first Excel add-in.

Deploy the web app and update the manifest

1- Deploy the QuarterlySalesReportWeb folder to the web server of your choice.

2- Edit the attribute value within the SourceLocation element of the XML manifest file (QuarterlySalesReportManifest.xml) to specify the location of the Home.html file on the web server.

Try it out

To test your add-in on Windows, complete the following steps to publish the XML manifest file to a network file share and sideload the add-in in Excel.

Note: For details about testing your add-in in either Office Online or on iPad or Mac, see Sideload Office Add-ins in Office Online for testing or Sideload Office Add-ins on iPad and Mac for testing.

1- Create a folder on a network share (for example, \\MyShare\MyManifests) and copy the XML manifest file to that folder.

2- Add the share location that contains the manifest as a trusted app catalog in Excel. Launch Excel and open a blank workbook.

3- Choose the File tab, and then choose Options.

4- Choose Trust Center, and then choose the Trust Center Settings button.

5- Choose Trusted Add-in Catalogs.

6- In the Catalog Url box, enter the path to the network share you created in step 1, and then choose Add Catalog. Select the Show in Menu check box, and then choose OK. A message appears to inform you that your settings will be applied the next time you start Office.

7- Restart Excel and open a blank workbook.

8- On the Insert tab in Excel 2016, choose My Add-ins.

9- In the Office Add-ins dialog box, choose Shared Folder.

10- Choose Quarterly Sales Report Sample and choose Add. The add-in opens in a task pane to the right of the current worksheet, as shown in the following figure.

Quarterly Sales Report Add-in

11- Choose the Click me! button to render the data and the chart inside the worksheet, as shown in the following figure. To see the chart update dynamically, just change the data in the range.

Quarterly Sales Report Add-in

Additional resources