Excel Microsoft 365 Office 365 Outlook Add-ins

Office Add-ins community call – March 11, 2020

March’s call, hosted by David Chesnut, featured the following presenters and topics:

  • Jeremy Yoo, Senior Program manager, presented new runtime features for showing or hiding the task pane, enabling or disabling ribbon buttons, and more.
  • Juan Balmori, Senior Program Manager, presented the item send event for Outlook and scenarios for using it.
  • Ruoying Yiang, Senior Program Manager, showed new custom error handling abilities for custom functions.

Watch the call here.


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

A manifest URL that had previously resolved in 365 and on-premises Exchange installations now fails pretty much unilaterally to install with an XML exception in Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2016 but resolves find in 365. Has a security fix changed the XML parser in on-premises Exchange somehow? I’m not sure what distributed components could be running between the Exchange server resolving my manifest URL and actually trying to interpret it, but I assume there’s something before XML parsing.

This is difficult to answer without seeing the XML. If you can post a question with the XML (or reproducible example) to stackoverflow (tagged office-js), we can help on this question there. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/office-js

When will the new runtime features be available on the monthly channel?

We don’t have a GA date to announce yet.  Features will make it into monthly channel before semi-annual though.

Are custom events supported? For example, can the task pane fire an event that a custom function can listen for?

Yes, you should be able to share custom events.

Enterprise Excel users use keyboard shortcuts extensively (and power users rarely use the mouse).  When will customizable shortcuts be available for Excel (desktop) so that we can build Excel add-ins for enterprise / power users (similar to Application.OnKey in VBA)?

Keyboard Shortcuts are something we’re definitely starting to investigate. We’ll have more details on plans on a future community call. There’s a lot to figure out here first, so these can work great across the platform.

Can dialogs not yet access that same data?

That’s right, it won’t work with dialogs since it’s still a separate runtime, but we hear your feedback.

How does the user know there is an OnSend Add-in registered?

There is a visual in the infobar that an add-in is doing some processing. We will always show the add-in name there. So if the user wants to uninstall they could.

Any plans on allowing OnSend functions to display a task pane?

This is being considered for the “soft” block OnSend feature.

Will OnSend work on Outlook on iOS and Android?

Right now, it only works on Mac, Outlook for the web, and Desktop. Further support is planned.

Could the onsend event show a message (toast?) when say the email is processed by the add-in, such as added to a CRM?

Right now, we’re showing an infobar to indicate processing.

Can users disable the add-in? How it will behave if it is disabled?

Users can uninstall add-ins, unless an admin has installed it across the tenant.

Can the custom function error message include links? (to detailed descriptions)

Yes. This functionality is currently only available on Excel for the web, but will come to the other platforms soon.

Would it be possible to show a return value in a custom function with a “note” similar to the error message? Use case: when we allow parameter as error – we might want to indicate that returned value handled it in some way.

We’ll consider that functionality for the future.


From March’s call

Office Add-ins community call

Office Add-ins feedback

The next Office Add-ins community call is on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 8:00AM PST. You can download the calendar invite at https://aka.ms/officeaddinscommunitycall.

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