Add-in commands for Excel, PowerPoint, and Word
For an overview of the feature, see the video Add-in Commands in the Office app ribbon.
Add-in commands are also supported in Outlook. For more information, see Add-in commands for Outlook.
Figure 1. Add-in with commands running in Excel Desktop
Figure 2. Add-in with commands running in Excel on the web
The following command capabilities are currently supported.
Content add-ins do not currently support add-in commands.
- Ribbon tabs - Extend built-in tabs or create a new custom tab.
- Context menus - Extend selected context menus.
- 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.
Default Enabled or Disabled Status
You can specify whether the command is enabled or disabled when your add-in launches, and programmatically change the setting.
This feature is not supported in all Office applications or scenarios. For more information, see Enable and Disable Add-in Commands.
Position on the ribbon (preview)
You can specify where a custom tab appears on the Office application's ribbon, such as "just to the right of the Home tab".
This feature is not supported in all Office applications or scenarios. For more information, see Position a custom tab on the ribbon.
Integration of built-in Office buttons (preview)
You can insert the built-in Office ribbon buttons into your custom command groups and custom ribbon tabs.
This feature is not supported in all Office applications or scenarios. For more information, see Integrate built-in Office buttons into custom tabs.
Contextual tabs (preview)
You can specify that a tab is only visible on the ribbon in certain contexts, such as when a chart is selected in Excel.
This feature is not supported in all Office applications or scenarios. For more information, see Create custom contextual tabs in Office Add-ins.
Add-in commands are currently supported on the following platforms, except for limitations specified in the subsections of Command capabilities earlier.
- Office on Windows (build 16.0.6769+, connected to a Microsoft 365 subscription)
- Office 2019 on Windows
- Office on Mac (build 15.33+, connected to a Microsoft 365 subscription)
- Office 2019 on Mac
- Office on the web
For information about support in Outlook, see Add-in commands for Outlook.
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.
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 app 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.
- Do not position a custom tab to the left of the Home tab, or give it focus by default when the document opens, unless your add-in is the primary way users will interact with the document. Giving excessive prominence to your add-in inconveniences and annoys users and administrators.
- If your add-in is the primary way users interact with the document and you have a custom ribbon tab, consider integrating into the tab the buttons for the Office functions that users will frequently need.
- If the functionality that is provided with a custom tab should only be available in certain contexts, use custom contextual tabs. If you use custom contextual tabs, make sure to implement a fallback experience for when your add-in runs on platforms that don't support custom contextual tabs.
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 Office applications 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) applications.
Figure 3. Task pane add-in in Office 2013 and the same add-in using add-in commands in Office 2016
The best way to get started using add-in commands is to take a look at the Office Add-in commands samples on GitHub.