Sideload Office Add-ins on iPad and Mac for testing

To see how your add-in will run in Office for iOS, you can sideload your add-in's manifest onto an iPad using iTunes, or sideload your add-in's manifest directly in Office for Mac. This action won't enable you to set breakpoints and debug your add-in's code while it's running, but you can see how it behaves and verify that the UI is usable and rendering appropriately.

Prerequisites for Office for iOS

  • A Windows or Mac computer with iTunes installed.

  • An iPad running iOS 8.2 or later with Excel for iPad installed, and a sync cable.

  • The manifest .xml file for the add-in you want to test.

Prerequisites for Office for Mac

  • A Mac running OS X v10.10 "Yosemite" or later with Office for Mac installed.

  • Word for Mac version 15.18 (160109).

  • Excel for Mac version 15.19 (160206).

  • PowerPoint for Mac version 15.24 (160614)

  • The manifest .xml file for the add-in you want to test.

Sideload an add-in on Excel or Word for iPad

  1. Use a sync cable to connect your iPad to your computer. If you're connecting the iPad to your computer for the first time, you'll be prompted with Trust This Computer?. Choose Trust to continue.

  2. In iTunes, choose the iPad icon below the menu bar.

    The iPad icon in iTunes

  3. Under Settings on the left side of iTunes, choose Apps.

    iTunes Apps Settings

  4. On the right side of iTunes, scroll down to File Sharing, and then choose Excel or Word in the Add-ins column.

    iTunes File Sharing

  5. At the bottom of the Excel or Word Documents column, choose Add File, and then select the manifest .xml file of the add-in you want to sideload.

  6. Open the Excel or Word app on your iPad. If the Excel or Word app is already running, choose the Home button, and then close and restart the app.

  7. Open a document.

  8. Choose Add-ins on the Insert tab. Your sideloaded add-in is available to insert under the Developer heading in the Add-ins UI.

    Insert Add-ins in the Excel app

Sideload an add-in on Office for Mac

Note: To sideload Outlook 2016 for Mac add-in, see Sideload Outlook add-ins for testing.

  1. Open Terminal and go to one of the following folders where you'll save your add-in's manifest file. If the wef folder doesn't exist on your computer, create it.

    • For Word: /Users/<username>/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/documents/wef
    • For Excel: /Users/<username>/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Excel/Data/documents/wef
    • For PowerPoint: /Users/<username>/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Powerpoint/Data/documents/wef
  2. Open the folder in Finder using the command open . (including the period or dot). Copy your add-in's manifest file to this folder.

    Wef folder in Office for Mac

  3. Open Word, and then open a document. Restart Word if it's already running.

  4. In Word, choose Insert > Add-ins > My Add-ins (drop-down menu), and then choose your add-in.

    My Add-ins in Office for Mac

Important: Sideloaded add-ins will not show up in the My Add-ins dialog. They are only visible within the drop-down menu (small down-arrow to the right of My Add-ins). Sideloaded add-ins are displayed in this list under the heading "Developer Add-ins".

  1. Verify that your add-in is displayed in Word.

    Office Add-in displayed in Office for Mac

Note: Add-ins are cached often in Office for Mac, for performance reasons. If you need to force a reload of your add-in while you're developing it, you can clear the Users//Library/Containers/com.Microsoft.OsfWebHost/Data/ folder.

Additional resources