Develop Office Add-ins with Visual Studio Code

This article describes how to use Visual Studio Code (VS Code) to develop an Office Add-in.

Note

For information about using Visual Studio to create an Office Add-in, see Develop Office Add-ins with Visual Studio.

Prerequisites

  • Node.js (the latest LTS version)

  • The latest version of Yeoman and the Yeoman generator for Office Add-ins. To install these tools globally, run the following command via the command prompt:

    npm install -g yo generator-office
    

    Note

    Even if you've previously installed the Yeoman generator, we recommend you update your package to the latest version from npm.

Create the add-in project using the Yeoman generator

If you're using VS Code as your integrated development environment (IDE), you should create the Office Add-in project with the Yeoman generator for Office Add-ins. The Yeoman generator creates a Node.js project that can be managed with VS Code or any other editor.

To create an Office Add-in with the Yeoman generator, follow instructions in the 5-minute quick start that corresponds to the type of add-in you'd like to create.

Develop the add-in using VS Code

When the Yeoman generator finishes creating the add-in project, open the root folder of the project with VS Code.

Tip

On Windows, you can navigate to the root directory of the project via the command line and then enter code . to open that folder in VS Code. On Mac, you'll need to add the code command to the path before you can use that command to open the project folder in VS Code.

The Yeoman generator creates a basic add-in with limited functionality. You can customize the add-in by editing the manifest, HTML, JavaScript or TypeScript, and CSS files in VS Code. For a high-level description of the project structure and files in the add-in project that the Yeoman generator creates, see the Yeoman generator guidance within the 5-minute quick start that corresponds to the type of add-in you've created.

Test and debug the add-in

Methods for testing, debugging, and troubleshooting Office Add-ins vary by platform. For more information, see Test and debug Office Add-ins.

Publish the add-in

An Office Add-in consists of a web application and a manifest file. The web application defines the add-in's user interface and functionality, while the manifest specifies the location of the web application and defines settings and capabilities of the add-in.

While you're developing your add-in, you can run the add-in on your local web server (localhost), but when you're ready to publish it for other users to access, you'll need to deploy the web application to a web server or web hosting service (for example, Microsoft Azure) and update the manifest to specify the URL of the deployed application.

When your add-in is working as desired and you're ready to publish it for other users to access, complete the following steps:

  1. From the command line, in the root directory of your add-in project, run the following command to prepare all files for production deployment:

    npm run build
    

    When the build completes, the dist folder in the root directory of your add-in project will contain the files that you'll deploy in subsequent steps.

  2. Upload the contents of the dist folder to the web server that'll host your add-in. You can use any type of web server or web hosting service to host your add-in.

  3. In VS Code, open the add-in's manifest file, located in the root directory of the project (manifest.xml). Replace all occurrences of https://localhost:3000 with the URL of the web application that you deployed to a web server in the previous step.

  4. Choose the method you'd like to use to deploy your Office Add-in, and follow the instructions to publish the manifest file.

See also