Top 5 AppSource validation errors for Office Add-ins submissions 

Office Add-ins team

AppSource validation ensures your Office Add-in submission follows Microsoft’s high standards. Don’t lose valuable time getting to market – learn how to avoid these common validation pitfalls! 

As of November 2022, the following were the top AppSource validation errors affecting Office Add-ins’ submissions. 

  1. Additional charges not disclosed
  2. First-run experience unclear
  3. No links for sign in, sign out, sign up 
  4. ProviderName doesn’t match Publisher name 
  5. Testing instructions missing or inadequate 

In this post, you’ll learn about what the affected AppSource policies are looking for so you can be confident your Office Add-in submission won’t hit these issues. 

Additional charges not disclosed 

Users must be notified in the add-in’s description on the AppSource listing about dependencies on any additional services or accounts and if they require purchase. For example, if your add-in requires the purchase of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offers or other services, be sure to disclose those requirements in the Description field (a.k.a. the long description) of the AppSource marketplace listing submission. Specifically, include information about the required offers and services like their names and links to how to acquire them. 

Resources 

First-run experience unclear 

Office Add-ins submissions must have a clear value proposition and provide a seamless first-run experience (FRE) that clearly explains how to use the add-in. That means, on your add-in’s start screen, you should describe its functionality and benefit in at least 1-2 lines. If users must sign in or sign up to use the add-in, the value proposition of having the account or service must be clear to them before they do so. 

If you indicate in the Notes for certification of the marketplace listing submission that your Office Add-in targets Enterprise users (that is, users in larger organizations), then you’re NOT required to have a seamless first-run experience and value proposition. However, you must include an email contact or link in the add-in’s UI so users can learn more about your services. 

Resources 

No links for sign in, sign out, sign up 

Office Add-ins submissions that depend on external accounts or services must provide clear and simple experiences for sign in, sign out, and sign up. 

However, if you indicate in the Notes for certification section of the marketplace listing submission that your Office Add-in targets Enterprise users (that is, users in larger organizations), then you aren’t required to provide a sign-in experience. The enterprise outside of the add-in manages external accounts and services, not the individual user.

Resources 

ProviderName doesn’t match Publisher name 

The name given in the ProviderName element of the add-in manifest you uploaded to Partner Center must be identical or similar to the name associated with the Publisher ID you’re using to submit your add-in. The Publisher name is the one that’s displayed in the commercial marketplace with the offer. 

Resources 

Testing instructions missing or inadequate 

You must provide necessary instructions and resources so that certification reviewers can complete verification and testing of the add-in. This includes providing instructions about how to test the add-in, and appropriate product keys, test credentials, and sample accounts. The reviewer will NOT contact you directly to get more information and you shouldn’t expect to be able to contact the reviewer to provide missing information. 

If purchases of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offers or other services are required to use the Office Add-in, be sure to also include test licenses and test account credentials for those offers and services. 

If your add-in contains custom functions, you must provide test instructions for at least one custom function so your custom functions can be validated on submission. 

You can provide testing instructions in the Notes for certification section of the marketplace listing submission. Moreover, if your scenarios aren’t simple and you want to include screenshots to illustrate the steps, or you’d like to persist the testing instructions, you should create and upload a PDF file with that information to the Additional certification info section of the marketplace listing submission. The PDF fille will be persisted for subsequent submissions of the add-in. 

Resources 

 

Additional tips to avoid AppSource validation errors

Enterprise only 

If your add-in targets only larger organizations or enterprises and you indicate that, then your add-in won’t appear on application-specific Home pages in AppSource. However, they will be discoverable via search and will be available for your web and email campaigns. 

Per policy 1100.5, such an add-in: 

  • Doesn’t require a sign-in experience for external accounts or services if sign-ups are managed by the enterprise outside of the add-in and not by the individual user. 
  • Doesn’t require a seamless first run experience and value proposition but must include an email contact or link in the add-in UI so users can learn more about your services. 

Also, per policy 1100.7, the title of such an add-in may include your brand or service, especially if it helps convey the add-in’s purpose. 

Therefore, if your add-in isn’t providing an experience that would usually be required, you should explain why in the Notes for certification section of the marketplace listing submission. For example, if your add-in isn’t providing a sign-up link but, because it’s targeting enterprises, the sign-up link isn’t required. You could say something like, “This add-in is not providing a sign-up link because it’s targeting enterprise. See policy 1100.5.” 

For more details, see the Office Store validation policy changes to support apps and add-ins that target larger organizations and enterprises blog post. 

Key marketplace policies for Office Add-ins submissions

For Office Add-ins, the key commercial marketplace policies are: 

Be sure to review the entire set of policies as other policies may also apply to your add-in. For example, if you’re linking your add-in to your SaaS offer, then make sure to review policy 1000.5 Software as a Service (SaaS) > Microsoft 365 App and Add-in Linking. 

Resources 

Image AppSource submission checklist