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Build apps for Office

apps for Office

Discover what apps for Office are—and how to create them using standards-based technologies like HTML5, JavaScript, CSS3, and XML. Delve into the app development lifecycle. Learn where to start developing your apps, how to design and develop apps, and what to expect when you're ready to deploy an app for Office.

Last modified: December 04, 2014

Applies to: Access app for SharePoint | Excel 2013 | Excel 2013 RT | Excel 2013 SP1 | Excel Online | Exchange Online | Exchange Server 2013 | Exchange Server 2013 SP1 | Outlook 2013 | Outlook 2013 RT | Outlook 2013 SP1 | Outlook for Mac for Office 365 | Outlook Web App | OWA for Devices | PowerPoint 2013 | PowerPoint 2013 RT | PowerPoint 2013 SP1 | PowerPoint Online | Project 2013 SP1 | Project Professional 2013 | Word 2013 | Word 2013 RT | Word 2013 SP1

   Office.js: v1.0, v1.1

   Apps for Office manifests schema: v1.0, v1.1

In this article
What is an app for Office?
Start developing apps for Office
Design apps for Office
Develop apps for Office
Publish apps for Office
Send feedback

Starting in Office 2013, you now have the ability to create apps for Office. So what's an app? It's best described as a solution that carries a light footprint and uses web standards-based technologies such as HTML5, JavaScript, CSS3, XML, and REST APIs. Apps have a light footprint because they don't actually install on the computer running the host application, they run from a browser control in a secure app runtime environment, and that means they are easily maintained and updated.

In this section of the docs, we outline all the concepts you need to know up front to build great apps. The docs are organized to step you through the app development lifecycle that we recommend—start, design, develop, and later, publish. Figure 1 shows you what that lifecycle looks like.

Figure 1. Development lifecycle of an app for Office

Start, design, develop, and publish apps

To learn how you can get apps and see them in action, see Install and try out some apps from the Office Store.

In Start, we tell you all the basics—about the app model in general, and about discovering the technologies that you'll need to learn or those you might already know and can apply right away to your app for Office development. We've provided links to deeper info, code samples, and how-to tasks to help you get started building great apps. If we succeeded with providing what you need to know in Start, you should have all the info you need to navigate the rest of the docs. If we didn't, we want to hear from you about where we can make the docs better. We are constantly updating topics based on customer feedback and questions, and offering new articles. See Send feedback for ways to reach us and participate in making the docs better.

Jump directly to Start

Let's say you have a killer idea for an app. In this section, we'll guide you through the design decisions you need to make and offer best practices to build your app. For example, what makes a good user interface? How do the different app types interact with Office and your customer's content? When should I use one instead of another? What options do I have for data access? You get the picture.

Jump directly to Design

Develop is the heart of the docs. We've got in-depth overviews, how-to articles, and code snippets to help explain the different things you can do in an app for Office.

And, code is key, so take a look at the Apps for Office sample pack in the Office Dev Center. It's a direct link to our code samples for apps. As soon as you've set up your development environment, you should check out a few of our samples. Take advantage of a community feature that lets you request a code sample if we don't have one you'd like to see. We take those requests, along with other doc feedback and use them in our continuous updates to the content and samples. So please, let us know if you'd like to see something!

Jump directly to Develop

So now you've built your app, and you're ready to share it. Publish teaches you how to deploy the app to an app catalog on SharePoint or a network share app catalog. You can come here to learn how to list apps in the Office Store.

Jump directly to Publish

Each article in the SDK has a "Did you find this helpful?" section at the bottom, and there is a free-form "Tell us more..." section to help you better express any issues you have. Please use these to send us your comments for the article, so that we can make changes based on your suggestions.

Do you have more general suggestions or ideas on platform features or documentation? Another great way to send feedback is via User Voice.

If you have a support issue, the best way to get a quick response is to post to the Apps for Office forums on MSDN.

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