Deploy and publish Office Add-ins

You can use one of several methods to deploy your Office Add-in for testing or distribution to users.

Method Use...
Sideloading As part of your development process, to test your add-in running on Windows, iPad, Mac, or in a browser. (Not for production add-ins.)
Network share As part of your development process, to test your add-in running on Windows after you have published the add-in to a server other than localhost. (Not for production add-ins or for testing on iPad, Mac, or the web.)
AppSource To distribute your add-in publicly to users.
Microsoft 365 admin center In a cloud deployment, to distribute your add-in to users in your organization by using the Microsoft 365 admin center. This is done through Integrated Apps or Centralized Deployment.
SharePoint catalog In an on-premises environment, to distribute your add-in to users in your organization.
Exchange server In an on-premises or online environment, to distribute Outlook add-ins to users.

Note

If you plan to publish your add-in to AppSource and make it available within the Office experience, make sure that you conform to the Commercial marketplace certification policies. For example, to pass validation, your add-in must work across all platforms that support the methods that you define (for more information, see section 1120.3 and the Office Add-in application and availability page).

Deployment options by Office application and add-in type

The deployment options that are available depend on the Office application that you're targeting and the type of add-in you create.

Deployment options for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint add-ins

Extension point Sideloading Network share AppSource Microsoft 365 admin center SharePoint catalog*
Content X X X X X
Task pane X X X X X
Command X X X X

* SharePoint catalogs do not support Office on Mac.

Deployment options for Outlook add-ins

Extension point Sideloading AppSource Exchange server
Mail app X X X
Command X X X

Production deployment methods

The following sections provide additional information about the deployment methods that are most commonly used to distribute production Office Add-ins to users within an organization.

For information about how end users acquire, insert, and run add-ins, see Start using your Office Add-in.

Integrated Apps via the Microsoft 365 admin center

The Microsoft 365 admin center makes it easy for an administrator to deploy Office Add-ins to users and groups in their organization. Add-ins deployed via the admin center are available to users in their Office applications right away, with no client configuration required. You can use Integrated Apps to deploy internal add-ins as well as add-ins provided by ISVs. Integrated Apps also shows admins add-ins and other apps bundled together by same ISV, giving them exposure to the entire experience across the Microsoft 365 platform.

When you link your Office Add-ins, Teams apps, SPFx apps, and other apps together, you create a single software as a service (SaaS) offering for your customers. For general information about this process, see How to plan a SaaS offer for the commercial marketplace. For specifics on how to create Integrated Apps, see Configure Microsoft 365 App integration.

For more information on the Integrated Apps deployment process, see Test and deploy Microsoft 365 Apps by partners in the Integrated apps portal.

Important

Customers in sovereign or government clouds don't have access to Integrated Apps. They will use Centralized Deployment instead. Centralized Deployment is a similar deploy method, but doesn't expose connected add-ins and apps to the admin. For more information, see Determine if Centralized Deployment of add-ins works for your organization.

SharePoint app catalog deployment

A SharePoint app catalog is a special site collection that you can create to host Word, Excel, and PowerPoint add-ins. Because SharePoint catalogs don't support new add-in features implemented in the VersionOverrides node of the manifest, including add-in commands, we recommend that you use Centralized Deployment via the admin center if possible. Add-in commands deployed via a SharePoint catalog open in a task pane by default.

If you are deploying add-ins in an on-premises environment, use a SharePoint catalog. For details, see Publish task pane and content add-ins to a SharePoint catalog.

Note

SharePoint catalogs do not support Office on Mac. To deploy Office Add-ins to Mac clients, you must submit them to AppSource.

Outlook add-in deployment

For on-premises and online environments that do not use the Azure AD identity service, you can deploy Outlook add-ins via the Exchange server.

Outlook add-in deployment requires:

  • Microsoft 365, Exchange Online, or Exchange Server 2013 or later
  • Outlook 2013 or later

To assign add-ins to tenants, you use the Exchange admin center to upload a manifest directly, either from a file or a URL, or add an add-in from AppSource. To assign add-ins to individual users, you must use Exchange PowerShell. For details, see Install or remove Outlook add-ins for your organization on TechNet.

See also