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RobertRodini-6665 asked David-6733 commented

Can an office addin read/write an external file?

The file may be a .dotx template or a configuration file governing its behavior.

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If you can do it with JavaScript in the browser, you can usually also do it from your web-based Office add-in. Where is your external file located?
I have an add-in that reads files from SharePoint Online/OneDrive so that is definitely possible. Reading a file from the local file system might be a bit trickier but still feasible. See here: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/14446447/how-to-read-a-local-text-file

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