Add-in commands for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint

Add-in commands are UI elements that extend the Office UI and start actions in your add-in. You can use add-in commands to add a button on the ribbon or an item to a context menu. When users select an add-in command, they initiate actions such as running JavaScript code, or showing a page of the add-in in a task pane. Add-in commands help users find and use your add-in, which can help increase your add-in's adoption and reuse, and improve customer retention.

For an overview of the feature, see the video Add-in Commands in the Office Ribbon.


SharePoint catalogs do not support add-in commands. You can deploy add-in commands via Centralized Deployment or AppSource, or use sideloading to deploy your add-in command for testing.

Figure 1. Add-in with commands running in Excel Desktop

Screenshot of an add-in command in Excel

Figure 2. Add-in with commands running in Excel on the web

Screenshot of an add-in command in Excel on the web

Command capabilities

The following command capabilities are currently supported.


Content add-ins do not currently support add-in commands.

Extension points

  • Ribbon tabs - Extend built-in tabs or create a new custom tab.
  • Context menus - Extend selected context menus.

Control types

  • Simple buttons - trigger specific actions.
  • Menus - simple menu dropdown with buttons that trigger actions.


  • ShowTaskpane - Displays one or multiple panes that load custom HTML pages inside them.
  • ExecuteFunction - Loads an invisible HTML page and then execute a JavaScript function within it. To show UI within your function (such as errors, progress, or additional input) you can use the displayDialog API.

Supported platforms

Add-in commands are currently supported on the following platforms.

  • Outlook 2016 on Windows (build 16.0.4678.1000+)
  • Office on Windows (build 16.0.6769+, connected to Office 365 subscription)
  • Office 2019 on Windows
  • Office on Mac (build 15.33+, connected to Office 365 subscription)
  • Office 2019 on Mac
  • Office on the web

More platforms are coming soon.


To debug an Add-in Command, you must run it in Office on the web. For details, see Debug add-ins in Office on the web.

Best practices

Apply the following best practices when you develop add-in commands:

  • Use commands to represent a specific action with a clear and specific outcome for users. Do not combine multiple actions in a single button.

  • Provide granular actions that make common tasks within your add-in more efficient to perform. Minimize the number of steps an action takes to complete.

  • For the placement of your commands in the Office ribbon:

    • Place commands on an existing tab (Insert, Review, and so on) if the functionality provided fits there. For example, if your add-in enables users to insert media, add a group to the Insert tab. Note that not all tabs are available across all Office versions. For more information, see Office Add-ins XML manifest.
    • Place commands on the Home tab if the functionality doesn't fit on another tab, and you have fewer than six top-level commands. You can also add commands to the Home tab if your add-in needs to work across Office versions (such as Office on the web or desktop) and a tab is not available in all versions (for example, the Design tab doesn't exist in Office on the web).
    • Place commands on a custom tab if you have more than six top-level commands.
    • Name your group to match the name of your add-in. If you have multiple groups, name each group based on the functionality that the commands in that group provide.
    • Do not add superfluous buttons to increase the real estate of your add-in.


    Add-ins that take up too much space might not pass AppSource validation.

  • For all icons, follow the icon design guidelines.

  • Provide a version of your add-in that also works on hosts that do not support commands. A single add-in manifest can work in both command-aware (with commands) and non-command-aware (as a task pane) hosts.

    Figure 3. Task pane add-in in Office 2013 and the same add-in using add-in commands in Office 2016

    A screenshot that shows a task pane add-in in Office 2013 and the same add-in using add-in commands in Office 2016

Next steps

The best way to get started using add-in commands is to take a look at the Office Add-in commands samples on GitHub.

For more information about specifying add-in commands in your manifest, see Create add-in commands in your manifest and the VersionOverrides reference content.