Build your first Word task pane add-in

Applies to: Word 2016 or later on Windows, and Word on iPad and Mac

In this article, you'll walk through the process of building a Word task pane add-in.

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.

Prerequisites

  • Node.js (version 8.0.0 or later)

  • 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

Important

Spaces are not currently permitted in the add-in project name or anywhere in the folder path where you create your add-in project. If your add-in's project name or folder path contains spaces, the local web server won't start when you run npm start or npm run start:web. This limitation is temporary and will be eliminated when the underlying issue is resolved in the Yeoman generator for Office Add-ins.

Use the Yeoman generator to create a Word add-in project. Run the following command and then answer the prompts as follows:

yo office
  • Choose a project type: Office Add-in Task Pane project
  • Choose a script type: Javascript
  • What do you want to name your add-in? my-office-add-in
  • Which Office client application would you like to support? Word

After you complete the wizard, the generator creates the project and installs supporting Node components.

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. If you'd like to explore the components of your add-in project, open the project in your code editor and review the files listed below. When you're ready to try out your add-in, proceed to the next section.

  • 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.
  • The ./src/taskpane/taskpane.js file contains the Office JavaScript API code that facilitates interaction between the task pane and the Office host application.

Try it out

  1. Navigate to the root folder of the project.

    cd "my-office-add-in"
    
  2. Complete the following steps to start the local web server and sideload your add-in.

    Note

    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.

    Tip

    If you're testing your add-in on Mac, run the following command before proceeding. When you run this command, the local web server starts.

    npm run dev-server
    
    • To test your add-in in Word, run the following command in the root directory of your project. This starts the local web server (if it's not already running) and opens Word with your add-in loaded.

      npm start
      
    • To test your add-in in Word on a browser, run the following command in the root directory of your project. When you run this command, the local web server will start (if it's not already running).

      npm run start:web
      

      To use your add-in, open a new document in Word on the web and then sideload your add-in by following the instructions in Sideload Office Add-ins in Office on the web.

  3. In Word, open a new document, choose the Home tab, and then choose the Show Taskpane button in the ribbon to open the add-in task pane.

    Screenshot of the Word application with the Show Taskpane button highlighted

  4. At the bottom of the task pane, choose the Run link to add the text "Hello World" to the document in blue font.

    Screenshot of the Word application with the task pane add-in loaded

Next steps

Congratulations, you've successfully created a Word task pane add-in! Next, learn more about the capabilities of a Word add-in and build a more complex add-in by following along with the Word add-in tutorial.

See also