Excel JavaScript object model in Office Add-ins

This article describes how to use the Excel JavaScript API to build add-ins for Excel 2016 or later. It introduces core concepts that are fundamental to using the API and provides guidance for performing specific tasks such as reading or writing to a large range, updating all cells in range, and more.


See Using the application-specific API model to learn about the asynchronous nature of the Excel APIs and how they work with the workbook.

Office.js APIs for Excel

An Excel add-in interacts with objects in Excel by using the Office JavaScript API, which includes two JavaScript object models:

  • Excel JavaScript API: Introduced with Office 2016, the Excel JavaScript API provides strongly-typed objects that you can use to access worksheets, ranges, tables, charts, and more.

  • Common APIs: Introduced with Office 2013, the Common API can be used to access features such as UI, dialogs, and client settings that are common across multiple types of Office applications.

While you'll likely use the Excel JavaScript API to develop the majority of functionality in add-ins that target Excel 2016 or later, you'll also use objects in the Common API. For example:

  • Context: The Context object represents the runtime environment of the add-in and provides access to key objects of the API. It consists of workbook configuration details such as contentLanguage and officeTheme and also provides information about the add-in's runtime environment such as host and platform. Additionally, it provides the requirements.isSetSupported() method, which you can use to check whether the specified requirement set is supported by the Excel application where the add-in is running.
  • Document: The Document object provides the getFileAsync() method, which you can use to download the Excel file where the add-in is running.

The following image illustrates when you might use the Excel JavaScript API or the Common APIs.

Differences between the Excel JS API and Common APIs.

Excel-specific object model

To understand the Excel APIs, you must understand how the components of a workbook are related to one another.

  • A Workbook contains one or more Worksheets.
  • A Worksheet contains collections of those data objects that are present in the individual sheet, and gives access to cells through Range objects.
  • A Range represents a group of contiguous cells.
  • Ranges are used to create and place Tables, Charts, Shapes, and other data visualization or organization objects.
  • Workbooks contain collections of some of those data objects (such as Tables) for the entire Workbook.


The Excel JavaScript API doesn't have a "Cell" object or class. Instead, the Excel JavaScript API defines all Excel cells as Range objects. An individual cell in the Excel UI translates to a Range object with one cell in the Excel JavaScript API. A single Range object can also contain multiple contiguous cells. See Work with cells using the Excel JavaScript API to learn more.


A range is a group of contiguous cells in the workbook. Add-ins typically use A1-style notation (e.g. B3 for the single cell in column B and row 3 or C2:F4 for the cells from columns C through F and rows 2 through 4) to define ranges.

Ranges have three core properties: values, formulas, and format. These properties get or set the cell values, formulas to be evaluated, and the visual formatting of the cells.

Range sample

The following sample shows how to create sales records. This function uses Range objects to set the values, formulas, and formats.

Excel.run(function (context) {
    var sheet = context.workbook.worksheets.getActiveWorksheet();

    // Create the headers and format them to stand out.
    var headers = [
      ["Product", "Quantity", "Unit Price", "Totals"]
    var headerRange = sheet.getRange("B2:E2");
    headerRange.values = headers;
    headerRange.format.fill.color = "#4472C4";
    headerRange.format.font.color = "white";

    // Create the product data rows.
    var productData = [
      ["Almonds", 6, 7.5],
      ["Coffee", 20, 34.5],
      ["Chocolate", 10, 9.56],
    var dataRange = sheet.getRange("B3:D5");
    dataRange.values = productData;

    // Create the formulas to total the amounts sold.
    var totalFormulas = [
      ["=C3 * D3"],
      ["=C4 * D4"],
      ["=C5 * D5"],
    var totalRange = sheet.getRange("E3:E6");
    totalRange.formulas = totalFormulas;
    totalRange.format.font.bold = true;

    // Display the totals as US dollar amounts.
    totalRange.numberFormat = [["$0.00"]];

    return context.sync();

This sample creates the following data in the current worksheet:

A sales record showing value rows, a formula column, and formatted headers.

For more information, see Set and get range values, text, or formulas using the Excel JavaScript API.

Charts, tables, and other data objects

The Excel JavaScript APIs can create and manipulate the data structures and visualizations within Excel. Tables and charts are two of the more commonly used objects, but the APIs support PivotTables, shapes, images, and more.

Creating a table

Create tables by using data-filled ranges. Formatting and table controls (such as filters) are automatically applied to the range.

The following sample creates a table using the ranges from the previous sample.

Excel.run(function (context) {
    var sheet = context.workbook.worksheets.getActiveWorksheet();
    sheet.tables.add("B2:E5", true);
    return context.sync();

Using this sample code on the worksheet with the previous data creates the following table:

A table made from the previous sales record.

For more information, see Work with tables using the Excel JavaScript API.

Creating a chart

Create charts to visualize the data in a range. The APIs support dozens of chart varieties, each of which can be customized to suit your needs.

The following sample creates a simple column chart for three items and places it 100 pixels below the top of the worksheet.

Excel.run(function (context) {
    var sheet = context.workbook.worksheets.getActiveWorksheet();
    var chart = sheet.charts.add(Excel.ChartType.columnStacked, sheet.getRange("B3:C5"));
    chart.top = 100;
    return context.sync();

Running this sample on the worksheet with the previous table creates the following chart:

A column chart showing quantities of three items from the previous sales record.

For more information, see Work with charts using the Excel JavaScript API.

See also