Office 365 Add-ins

Office Add-ins community call–June 10, 2020

June’s call, hosted by Alex Jerabek, featured the following presenters and topics:

  • Courtney Owen, Software Engineer, presented two new developer tools: the VS Code debugger extension for Office Add-ins and Script Lab for Outlook.
  • Sudheer Maremanda, Program Manager, discussed the new Chromium-based Edge WebView2 controller, coming to Office.
  • Daniel Wilson, Program Manager, demoed the new integrations between Power Automate and Office Scripts.

Watch the call here.


We welcome you to submit questions and topic suggestions in advance of each call by using our short survey form.

Can the messageChild API (for Dialogs) be used in older Office versions?

KP: No, the messageChild API won’t be able to be used in older versions. For those you will have to depend on message passing through storage to to communicate from the add-in to the dialog.

Is s/mime encryption in your roadmap for Outlook office web add-ins?

Not in the short term. Please use UserVoice to request or upvote other events.

Is there better way to trigger a new meeting than the OnSend event?

The OnSend event is not triggering a new meeting, but it’s more an event that gets triggered when a user clicks “send” to an email or an appointment. You can use Microsoft Graph to create a new meeting, but that will slow the sending and you might get timed-out

How can I trigger a send event only in appointments, not in other mail items?

This is not possible today. We are working on a new feature that will allow such filter.

For my Word (2016) Task Pane Add-in, how do I add a keypress event handler to the Word body object so I get access to every character, one at a time, that is typed in the main part of the document?

In Word programmability history, there has never been a keypress event due to the fact that it would significantly degrade the main experience of typing a document in Word. There is also no API in Word.js to get character by character. There are many APIs for range that can give you similar capabilities. You can also try the Search API with wildcards and use a search string like “?{9}” that will give you, for instance, the next 9 characters in the range. Please note that you need to be careful when using this API since  you might not get what you expect depending on the content (ie: if it includes hyperlinks, tables, footnotes or other invisible characters).

Is it possible to start an add-in panel automatically when any Excel workbook is opened?

Yes! You can review the document in our docs page here.

Can we control the position in the ribbon of the add-in tab?

Unfortunately, no. Currently we do not allow changing the order of tabs. Please request this feature on UserVoice to help prioritize it.

Can you make the ribbon dynamic?

The capabilities we’re enabling include enabling/disabling ribbon buttons (preview) and allowing an add-in to add contextual tabs (preview). We’re also investigating moving the default position of the tab right now, although this is in the early stages. If this is enabled, this will be a static placement that is defined, there will be no API to programmatically move this.

We don’t allow dynamic show/hide of add-in buttons, dynamic movement of tabs and dynamic changes to icons/labels of add-in buttons

Is SSO with SAML2?

SSO in Office Add-ins is not SAML2. You can find additional information on how to enable SSO for an add-in here in our documentation which also details some of the flows used.

Are there application-level (Excel, Word, Outlook) events, such as onWorkbookOpen, beforeWorkbookClose?

Events based on open and close behavior are not yet in the product. Outlook has some events related to event-based activation, as described here. There is a complete list of Excel events here. Please head to UserVoice to request or upvote other events.

Is there an ETA on Office Add-ins debugger extensions for Mac Office apps?

Not currently. The current debugging solutions are Windows-centric.

Will the Office Add-ins VS Code debugging extension support debugging projects built with bundlers like Webpack for React/Vue based apps?


Are there any plans on making the Office Add-ins debugger available in other IDE’s?

Not currently, but additional platform requests can be made on UserVoice.

This VS Code Add-In is awesome. Was waiting for it long time. You recommend using a runtime lifetime long for Excel Add-Ins. This results in Office on Windows using IE. When will this change and when can I debug a runtime with lifetime long in VS Code?

For the long running/shared runtime, it does currently depend on the IE runtime so you won’t be able to use the VS Code debugger quite yet, but we are focused on the Chromium version and providing VS Code debugging support.

Is it possible to get the version of the manifest through Office.js?

We don’t have an API for getting manifest version, but it’s an interesting idea. Please request this feature on UserVoice.

Is there a way to evaluate a formula in a cell without triggering a worksheet recalculation?

Not yet, we do have adding an office.js API for this on the backlog.

What are the current plans for additional PowerPoint and Word APIs?

We’re starting to investigate PowerPoint APIs and capabilities need it and will have some information to share in a few months. We aren’t working on any new Word APIs in the short-term. In either case, please head to UserVoice and create or upvote feature requests to help us prioritize API development.

Is the Script Lab problem with Firefox at all related to my experience with it taking an exceedingly long time to load a taskpane in Excel from a dev-server under Mac OS X?

We have seen many issues while using Firefox and script lab that we are investigating. While we look and fix,  we recommend you to use Edge or Chrome. If you see issues, please submit it to  our GitHub repo.

Is it possible to start an add-in panel automatically when any Excel workbook is opened?

Yes! Here’s the documentation. I’d also recommend combing that with a long running runtime, so your add-in can continue to respond to events when the taskpane is closed.

Can power automate make an external call to an external web service?

Yes! Check out the HTTP Request connector.

Is there an integration point to Power Automate for Office.js Add-in?

There is no default connection between Power Automate and Office Add-ins. However, many add-in providers have Power Automate connectors for their services (such as Trello).

Are power automate connectors monetizable?

Premium connectors are available, but you can review Power Automate’s pricing model here. The likely approach may be to charge for the underlying API.


From June’s call

Office Add-ins community call

Office Add-ins feedback

The next Office Add-ins community call is on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 8:00AM PDT. You can download the calendar invite at

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