Build your first Outlook add-in
In this article, you'll walk through the process of building an Outlook task pane add-in that displays at least one property of a selected message.
Create the add-in
You can create an Office Add-in by using the Yeoman generator for Office Add-ins or Visual Studio. The Yeoman generator creates a Node.js project that can be managed with Visual Studio Code or any other editor, whereas Visual Studio creates a Visual Studio solution. Select the tab for the one you'd like to use and then follow the instructions to create your add-in and test it locally.
If you aren't familiar with Node.js or npm, you should start by setting up your development environment.
npm install -g yo generator-office
Even if you've previously installed the Yeoman generator, we recommend you update your package to the latest version from npm.
Visual Studio Code (VS Code) or your preferred code editor
Outlook 2016 or later on Windows (connected to a Microsoft 365 account) or Outlook on the web
Create the add-in project
Run the following command to create an add-in project using the Yeoman generator.
When you run the
yo officecommand, you may receive prompts about the data collection policies of Yeoman and the Office Add-in CLI tools. Use the information that's provided to respond to the prompts as you see fit.
When prompted, provide the following information to create your add-in project.
Choose a project type -
Office Add-in Task Pane project
Choose a script type -
What do you want to name your add-in? -
My Office Add-in
Which Office client application would you like to support? -
After you complete the wizard, the generator will create the project and install supporting Node components.
You can ignore the next steps guidance that the Yeoman generator provides after the add-in project's been created. The step-by-step instructions within this article provide all of the guidance you'll need to complete this tutorial.
Navigate to the root folder of the web application project.
cd "My Office Add-in"
Explore the project
The add-in project that you've created with the Yeoman generator contains sample code for a very basic task pane add-in.
- The ./manifest.xml file in the root directory of the project defines the settings and capabilities of the add-in.
- The ./src/taskpane/taskpane.html file contains the HTML markup for the task pane.
- The ./src/taskpane/taskpane.css file contains the CSS that's applied to content in the task pane.
Update the code
Open your project in VS Code or your preferred code editor.
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
codecommand to the path before you can use that command to open the project folder in VS Code.
Open the file ./src/taskpane/taskpane.html and replace the entire <main> element (within the <body> element) with the following markup. This new markup adds a label where the script in ./src/taskpane/taskpane.js will write data.
<main id="app-body" class="ms-welcome__main" style="display: none;"> <h2 class="ms-font-xl"> Discover what Office Add-ins can do for you today! </h2> <p><label id="item-subject"></label></p> <div role="button" id="run" class="ms-welcome__action ms-Button ms-Button--hero ms-font-xl"> <span class="ms-Button-label">Run</span> </div> </main>
// Get a reference to the current message const item = Office.context.mailbox.item; // Write message property value to the task pane document.getElementById("item-subject").innerHTML = "<b>Subject:</b> <br/>" + item.subject;
Try it out
Office Add-ins should use HTTPS, not HTTP, even when you are developing. If you are prompted to install a certificate after you run one of the following commands, accept the prompt to install the certificate that the Yeoman generator provides. You may also have to run your command prompt or terminal as an administrator for the changes to be made.
Run the following command in the root directory of your project. When you run this command, the local web server starts and your add-in will be sideloaded.
In Outlook, view a message in the Reading Pane, or open the message in its own window.
Choose the Home tab (or the Message tab if you opened the message in a new window), and then choose the Show Taskpane button in the ribbon to open the add-in task pane.
If you receive the error "We can't open this add-in from localhost" in the task pane, follow the steps outlined in the troubleshooting article.
When prompted with the WebView Stop On Load dialog box, select OK.
If you select Cancel, the dialog won't be shown again while this instance of the add-in is running. However, if you restart your add-in, you'll see the dialog again.
Scroll to the bottom of the task pane and choose the Run link to write the message subject to the task pane.
Congratulations, you've successfully created your first Outlook task pane add-in! Next, learn more about the capabilities of an Outlook add-in and build a more complex add-in by following along with the Outlook add-in tutorial.
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