Developing for Office

More than a billion people across the globe use Office applications to get things done. But Office is more than just a great set of productivity tools. It's also a great platform for app developers to use to extend their app features and reach new users.

Whether it's making it easier for existing users to access services, or attracting new users, app developers are increasingly heading to the Office Dev Centre to learn how to integrate their apps with Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint and OneDrive. Developers can take advantage of the functionality of Office 365 APIs, or create Office Add-ins that live within the Office apps themselves.

Recently at Build 2016, three new Office-specific opportunities for developers were announced: enhancements to the Microsoft Graph that can be used to build smarter solutions; improvements to the add-in model, including support for Office for Mac 2016; and new extensibility features for Skype and Office 365 Groups.

One great example of a Microsoft partner creating value for their customers by integrating with Office is Xero.

The team at Xero has developed an Outlook add-in that lets Xero users access information about their Xero contacts from within Outlook. Xero has also developed an Outlook API integration that allows a Xero user to see email messages to or from a contact, alongside their financial transactions, seamlessly from inside the Xero app.

Craig Walker, Xero's Chief Technology Officer, says the Office 365 integration will enable small businesses to be more agile, and help them better manage customer relationships.

"Xero's longstanding relationship with Microsoft gives our small businesses better tools to make smart up-to-the minute business decisions," says Craig. "This latest integration gives our 600,000+ users real-time information, so they can keep track of their business relationships and help make sure nothing slips through the cracks."

To find out more about how Xero and Microsoft are working together to integrate Xero and Office to make businesses more productive, check out this episode of Xero Developer TV.