What’s Coming for Office Add-ins in 2021

Tristan Davis

As we begin 2021, one of the team’s goals is to do even more sharing of the enhancements we’re making to the add-in platform capabilities in Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. We’ll highlight some of our focus areas for the upcoming year, with several additional posts that dig into specific topics and stories from some of the partners that have been working closely with us.

The feedback you share directly influences the team’s priorities, so please do keep it coming. Our primary goal is to ensure you can build powerful integrations and our backlog is the direct result of your input.

Focus Areas for 2021

This year, we’re focusing our efforts in four places:

Enabling new capabilities for add-in developers

At the heart of all the work we’re doing is a single ambitious goal: enabling every developer who wants to integrate with Microsoft 365 Apps to build an add-in that seamlessly integrates into our applications.

We’ll do this by continually adding to the set of JavaScript APIs and creating new types of integration points that allow you to run your add-in at the right time and integrate with the UI in the same ways as native features. You’ll see us continue to release new capabilities across our applications, for example:

Improving performance, stability, and usability of add-ins

New capabilities are important and exciting, but we also want to make certain that Office Add-ins meet your expectations for performance, reliability, and usability by:

  • Continuing to monitor and fix API issues as soon as they are discovered, so you can work with a rock-solid host API.
  • Improving the runtime performance of our Office JS APIs based on telemetry, starting with a special focus on custom function performance in Excel.
  • Looking for any issues in the Office Add-in install flow, guaranteeing that every user can easily install Office add-ins.
  • Clarifying the messages shown for install issues so that users clearly understand why the issue occurs and what you can do about it.

As part of this effort, we’ll also roll out versions of Microsoft 365 Apps that utilize the WebView2, so that you’re building on top of a modern, fast web runtime that has all the web capabilities you need.

Finally, we’ll continue to enhance the capabilities of the Microsoft 365 Developer Program, so you can immediately use a fully functional Microsoft 365 sandbox environment to develop and test your solutions on the way to sharing them with your customers.

Making it easier for customers to deploy and manage Office Add-ins

We’ll also improve the capabilities that allow administrators of organizations to deploy add-ins to their users automatically, so that the right add-ins are installed for the right users.

Our focus is to revamp the Microsoft 365 Admin Center experience, creating one place for all admins to deploy integrations. Behind the scenes, we’ll see that admin-based deployment works for customers of all sizes, from small businesses to extremely large enterprise companies with tens of thousands of users.

Continuing to build an amazing team and work environment

Last, but not least, inside the team we’ll continue our efforts to create an amazing team and an amazing place to work. We to put our full focus on building a platform that enables you to do your best work integrating with our applications.

We want to learn from you what works and what you want to see. and hear the latest updates directly from our team is to join our monthly community calls. I highly recommend downloading the calendar invites for upcoming sessions.

An exciting year ahead

As you can see, we’re working on every part of the platform, from developer experience to service health and reliability to new platform additions. I am confident that 2021 is going to be an exciting year for us and becoming a member of the Developer Program is a fantastic way to get started and stay connected. We have lots of exciting things to show you and over the next few weeks, so look for our blogs for more updates.

Thank you on behalf of the entire team,

Tristan Davis Principal GPM Microsoft 365 developer platform team

Tristan Davis


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