Use centralized deployment to publish Office Add-ins

The Office 365 admin center makes it easy for an administrator to deploy Word, Excel, and PowerPoint add-ins to users or groups within their organization. Add-ins deployed via the admin center are available to users in their Office applications right away, with no client configuration required. You can deploy internal add-ins as well as add-ins provided by ISVs via centralized deployment.

The admin center currently supports the following scenarios:

  • Centralized deployment of new and updated add-ins to individuals, groups, or an organization.
  • Deployment to multiple platforms, including Windows and Office Online, with Mac coming soon.
  • Deployment to English language and worldwide tenants.
  • Cloud-hosted add-in deployment.
  • Automatic installation on launch of the Office application.
  • Add-in URLs hosted within a firewall.
  • Deployment of Office Store add-ins (coming soon).

Future investments in add-in deployment scenarios will focus on the Office 365 admin center. We recommend that you use the admin center to deploy add-ins to your organization, if your organization meets the prerequisites.

Prerequisites for centralized deployment

You can deploy add-ins via the admin center if your organization meets the following criteria:

  • Users are running a version of Office 2016 ProPlus:
    • Windows build 16.0.8027 or later
    • Mac build 15.33.170327 or later
  • Users sign in to Office 2016 with their work or school account.
  • Your organization uses the Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) identity service.
  • Users' Exchange mailboxes have OAuth enabled.

Currently, add-ins for the following Office clients are supported.

Office application Office 2016 for Windows Office Online Office 2016 for Mac
Word X X X
Excel X X X
PowerPoint X X X
Outlook Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

The admin center does not support the following:

  • Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook)
  • Office for iPad
  • SharePoint Add-ins
  • COM/VSTO based Add-ins
  • Office Online Server
  • An on-premises directory service

To deploy SharePoint Add-ins or add-ins that target Office 2013, use a SharePoint add-in catalog.

Important! SharePoint add-in catalogs do not support add-in features that are implemented in the VersionOverrides node of the add-in manifest, such as add-in commands.

To deploy COM/VSTO add-ins, use ClickOnce or Windows Installer. For details, see Deploying an Office solution.

Publish an add-in via centralized deployment

To publish an add-in via centralized deployment:

  1. Verify that your organization meets the prerequisites for centralized deployment.
  2. On the Office 365 admin center page, choose Settings > Services & add-ins.
  3. Choose Add an Office Add-in at the top of the page. You have the following options:

    • Add an add-in from the Office Store.
    • Choose Browse to locate your manifest (.xml) file.
    • Enter a URL for your manifest in the field provided.
  4. Choose Next.

  5. If you're adding an add-in from the Office Store, select the add-in. The add-in is now enabled.
  6. Choose Edit to assign the add-in to users.
  7. Search for the people or groups to whom you want to deploy the add-in and choose Add next to their name.
  8. Choose Save, review the add-in settings, and then choose Close.

If the add-in supports add-in commands, the commands will appear on the Office application ribbon for all users to whom the add-in is deployed.

If the add-in does not support add-in commands, users can add it from the My Add-ins button by doing the following:

  1. In Word 2016, Excel 2016, or PowerPoint 2016, choose Insert > My Add-ins.
  2. Choose the Admin Managed tab in the add-in window.
  3. Choose the add-in, and then choose Add.