Build your first Word add-in

Applies to: Word 2016, Word for iPad, Word for Mac

In this article, you'll walk through the process of building a Word add-in by using jQuery and the Word JavaScript API.

Create the add-in

You can create an Office Add-in by using Visual Studio or any other editor. Tell us what editor you'd like to use by choosing one of the following tabs:

Prerequisites

Create the add-in project

  1. On the Visual Studio menu bar, choose File > New > Project.

  2. In the list of project types under Visual C# or Visual Basic, expand Office/SharePoint, choose Add-ins, and then choose Word Web Add-in as the project type.

  3. Name the project, and then choose OK.

  4. Visual Studio creates a solution and its two projects appear in Solution Explorer. The Home.html file opens in Visual Studio.

Explore the Visual Studio solution

When you've completed the wizard, Visual Studio creates a solution that contains two projects.

Project Description
Add-in project Contains only an XML manifest file, which contains all the settings that describe your add-in. These settings help the Office host determine when your add-in should be activated and where the add-in should appear. Visual Studio generates the contents of this file for you so that you can run the project and use your add-in immediately. You change these settings any time by modifying the XML file.
Web application project Contains the content pages of your add-in, including all the files and file references that you need to develop Office-aware HTML and JavaScript pages. While you develop your add-in, Visual Studio hosts the web application on your local IIS server. When you're ready to publish the add-in, you'll need to deploy this web application project to a web server.

Update the code

  1. Home.html specifies the HTML that will be rendered in the add-in's task pane. In Home.html, replace the <body> element with the following markup and save the file.

    <body>
        <div id="content-header">
            <div class="padding">
                <h1>Welcome</h1>
            </div>
        </div>    
        <div id="content-main">
            <div class="padding">
                <p>Choose the buttons below to add boilerplate text to the document by using the Word JavaScript API.</p>
                <br />
                <h3>Try it out</h3>
                <button id="emerson">Add quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson</button>
                <br /><br />
                <button id="checkhov">Add quote from Anton Chekhov</button>
                <br /><br />
                <button id="proverb">Add Chinese proverb</button>
            </div>
        </div>
        <br />
        <div id="supportedVersion"/>
    </body>
    
  2. Open the file Home.js in the root of the web application project. This file specifies the script for the add-in. Replace the entire contents with the following code and save the file.

    'use strict';
    
    (function () {
    
        // The initialize function is run each time the page is loaded.
        Office.initialize = function (reason) {
            $(document).ready(function () {
    
                // Use this to check whether the API is supported in the Word client.
                if (Office.context.requirements.isSetSupported('WordApi', 1.1)) {
                    // Do something that is only available via the new APIs
                    $('#emerson').click(insertEmersonQuoteAtSelection);
                    $('#checkhov').click(insertChekhovQuoteAtTheBeginning);
                    $('#proverb').click(insertChineseProverbAtTheEnd);
                    $('#supportedVersion').html('This code is using Word 2016 or later.');
                }
                else {
                    // Just letting you know that this code will not work with your version of Word.
                    $('#supportedVersion').html('This code requires Word 2016 or later.');
                }
            });
        };
    
        function insertEmersonQuoteAtSelection() {
            Word.run(function (context) {
    
                // Create a proxy object for the document.
                var thisDocument = context.document;
    
                // Queue a command to get the current selection.
                // Create a proxy range object for the selection.
                var range = thisDocument.getSelection();
    
                // Queue a command to replace the selected text.
                range.insertText('"Hitch your wagon to a star."\n', Word.InsertLocation.replace);
    
                // Synchronize the document state by executing the queued commands,
                // and return a promise to indicate task completion.
                return context.sync().then(function () {
                    console.log('Added a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.');
                });
            })
            .catch(function (error) {
                console.log('Error: ' + JSON.stringify(error));
                if (error instanceof OfficeExtension.Error) {
                    console.log('Debug info: ' + JSON.stringify(error.debugInfo));
                }
            });
        }
    
        function insertChekhovQuoteAtTheBeginning() {
            Word.run(function (context) {
    
                // Create a proxy object for the document body.
                var body = context.document.body;
    
                // Queue a command to insert text at the start of the document body.
                body.insertText('"Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice."\n', Word.InsertLocation.start);
    
                // Synchronize the document state by executing the queued commands,
                // and return a promise to indicate task completion.
                return context.sync().then(function () {
                    console.log('Added a quote from Anton Chekhov.');
                });
            })
            .catch(function (error) {
                console.log('Error: ' + JSON.stringify(error));
                if (error instanceof OfficeExtension.Error) {
                    console.log('Debug info: ' + JSON.stringify(error.debugInfo));
                }
            });
        }
    
        function insertChineseProverbAtTheEnd() {
            Word.run(function (context) {
    
                // Create a proxy object for the document body.
                var body = context.document.body;
    
                // Queue a command to insert text at the end of the document body.
                body.insertText('"To know the road ahead, ask those coming back."\n', Word.InsertLocation.end);
    
                // Synchronize the document state by executing the queued commands,
                // and return a promise to indicate task completion.
                return context.sync().then(function () {
                    console.log('Added a quote from a Chinese proverb.');
                });
            })
            .catch(function (error) {
                console.log('Error: ' + JSON.stringify(error));
                if (error instanceof OfficeExtension.Error) {
                    console.log('Debug info: ' + JSON.stringify(error.debugInfo));
                }
            });
        }
    })();
    
  3. Open the file Home.css in the root of the web application project. This file specifies the custom styles for the add-in. Replace the entire contents with the following code and save the file.

    #content-header {
        background: #2a8dd4;
        color: #fff;
        position: absolute;
        top: 0;
        left: 0;
        width: 100%;
        height: 80px; 
        overflow: hidden;
    }
    
    #content-main {
        background: #fff;
        position: fixed;
        top: 80px;
        left: 0;
        right: 0;
        bottom: 0;
        overflow: auto; 
    }
    
    .padding {
        padding: 15px;
    }
    

Update the manifest

  1. Open the XML manifest file in the add-in project. This file defines the add-in's settings and capabilities.

  2. The ProviderName element has a placeholder value. Replace it with your name.

  3. The DefaultValue attribute of the DisplayName element has a placeholder. Replace it with My Office Add-in.

  4. The DefaultValue attribute of the Description element has a placeholder. Replace it with A task pane add-in for Word.

  5. Save the file.

    ...
    <ProviderName>John Doe</ProviderName>
    <DefaultLocale>en-US</DefaultLocale>
    <!-- The display name of your add-in. Used on the store and various places of the Office UI such as the add-ins dialog. -->
    <DisplayName DefaultValue="My Office Add-in" />
    <Description DefaultValue="A task pane add-in for Word"/>
    ...
    

Try it out

  1. Using Visual Studio, test the newly created Word add-in by pressing F5 or choosing the Start button to launch Word with the Show Taskpane add-in button displayed in the ribbon. The add-in will be hosted locally on IIS.

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

    A screenshot of the Word application with the Show Taskpane button highlighted

  3. In the task pane, choose any of the buttons to add boilerplate text to the document.

    Screenshot of the Word application with the boilerplate add-in loaded

Next steps

Congratulations, you've successfully created a Word add-in using jQuery! 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