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Validation policies for apps and add-ins submitted to the Office Store (version 1.8)

Office and SharePoint Add-ins

This document describes the criteria that are used to validate that apps are eligible to be listed in the Office Store.

Last modified: July 22, 2015

Applies to: apps for Office | apps for Office Mix | apps for SharePoint | Office 365 | Office Add-ins | SharePoint Add-ins

Note Note

The names "apps for Office" and "apps for SharePoint" are changing to "Office Add-ins" and "SharePoint Add-ins". During the transition, the documentation and the UI of some Office and SharePoint products and Visual Studio tools might still use the terms "apps for Office" and "apps for SharePoint". For details, see New name for apps for Office and SharePoint.

In this article
1. Apps provide value to the Office Store customer
2. Office Store apps can display certain ads
3. Apps can sell additional features or content through in-app purchases
4. Apps behave predictably
5. Apps put the customer in control
6. Apps are appropriate for a global audience
7. Apps are easily identified and understood
8. App updates must not decrease your app’s functionality
9. Refunds
10. Apps utilize supported capabilities
11. Apps provide a seamless and fluid experience for Office Store customers
12. Apps for Office Mix
Conclusion
Additional resources

1.1

Your app must offer unique value or utility within the app experience which extends Office or SharePoint functionality for Office Store customers.

1.2

Your app must work according to your description, and must not be in an unfinished state.

1.3

Your app’s trial functionality must reasonably resemble its paid version.

2.1

Apps can contain ads. The primary purpose of the app must be more than the display of the advertisement.

2.2

Ads in your apps must comply with our content policies, described in policy six.

2.3

Ads should not interfere with app functionality and should match our ad design guidelines.

2.4

The elements of your app's description, such as screenshots, text, and promotional images must describe your app and not contain additional advertising.

3.1

Currently, Microsoft does not provide native application programming interfaces (APIs) to support in-app purchases. You may use any third-party payment system for your in-app purchases.

3.2

Where an app requires additional features to operate as advertised, to which an extra charge applies, you must clearly notify users in the app description that those payments are required to access those features.

Notification is also necessary if your app offers additional features or content for sale, either through in-app purchases or other means.

3.3

If your app collects credit card information or uses a third-party payment processor that collects credit card information, then the payment processing must meet the current PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

3.4

Apps for Office running on iOS must not offer any additional features or content for sale.

4.1

Your app must not stop responding, end unexpectedly, or contain programming errors.

4.2

Your updated apps must not decrease your app’s functionality in a way that would be unexpected to a reasonable customer.

4.3

Your app description, imagery, documentation and any other associated metadata must be consistent with the functionality of the app.

4.4

You must provide instructions and links to resources in the submission form’s testing notes that will be needed for Microsoft validation of your app. If, for example, your app requires a login/password, you must give Microsoft a pre-existing working login for testing purposes.

4.5

Your app must not make unexpected changes to a customer’s document.

4.6

Your app must not jeopardize or compromise the security or functionality of Microsoft products.

4.7

The app must be free of viruses, malware, and any malicious software.

4.8

Your app must not launch functionality outside of the app experience without the explicit permission of the user.

4.9

No action should take more than three seconds to respond without some type of loading UX or warning.

4.10

Your app should not consume an unreasonable amount of memory that negatively impacts the performance of an average customer’s environment.

4.11

Your app UI should not look unfinished.

4.12

Your app must be fully functional with the supported operating systems, browsers, and devices for Office 2013, SharePoint 2013, and Office 365.

  • Your app's described features must work on a touch-only device without a physical keyboard or mouse.

4.12.1 Apps for Office

  • If your app for Office is not compatible with Internet Explorer 9 or Internet Explorer 10, you must clearly state this in your app description and provide an error message in your app.

  • Apps must be compatible with all versions of Internet Explorer 11 and later, and the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari (Mac OS).

    • Apps for Excel must support Excel Online.

    • Apps for Word using manifest schema v1.1, Office.js v1.1, and APIs supported by Word Online must support Word Online.

    • Apps for Outlook must support Outlook Web App.

    • Apps for PowerPoint must support PowerPoint Online.

  • Apps that support iOS must be fully functional on the latest iPad device using the latest iOS operating system.

4.12.2 Apps for SharePoint

  • Apps for SharePoint must be fully functional with Windows 7, Windows 8, all versions of Internet Explorer 11 and later, and the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox.

  • If your app for SharePoint is not compatible with Internet Explorer 9 or Internet Explorer 10, you must specify this in your app description and provide an error message in your app.

4.12.3 Web apps using Azure AD

  • Your app must correctly use OAuth and OpenID Connect protocols.

    For more information, see Have your app appear in the Office 365 app launcher.

  • A user cannot be blocked from authenticating and consenting to an app. If you want to do a user authorization check, you must do so after authentication and consent.

  • Apps must be fully functional with Windows 7, Windows 8, all versions of Internet Explorer 11 and later, and the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox.

  • If your app is not compatible withInternet Explorer 9 or Internet Explorer 10, you must specify this in your app description and provide an error message in your app.

4.13

Your app for SharePoint must not have remote debugging settings enabled.

4.14

The manifest for your app for SharePoint must not include the DebugInfo element.

4.15

Your app for SharePoint must not have any unauthenticated pages or APIs, with the exception of the error page.

4.16

The (unauthenticated) error page should not have links to other pages or other protected resources of the app.

4.17

Deleted.

4.18

Your app may not alter, or promote the alteration of, SharePoint or Office except via the apps for Office and SharePoint model.

4.19

Your app experience must not prompt a user to disclose the credentials of a Microsoft identity (for example, Office 365 or Microsoft Azure Organizational Account, Microsoft Account, or Windows Domain Account) except through Microsoft approved OAUTH flow, where your app is authorized to act on behalf of the user.

For more information, see the following topics:

4.20

If your app depends on additional services or accounts, this dependency must be clearly called out in your app description submitted in Seller Dashboard.

4.21

Your app must not install or launch other executable code on the user's environment.

5.1

You must submit a privacy link. The linked privacy documentation must be clearly titled as such. The content of the privacy statement must be under the direct control of the app provider.

If your app does not collect or transmit user information, you must link to a statement that states this fact.

For information about common mistakes to avoid, see How can I avoid errors when submitting my app or add-in to the Office Store? in Office Store app and add-in submission FAQ.

5.2

Your app must obtain consent to publish personal information.

5.3

Your app must not obtain or store customer information or content without notifying the user.

5.4

Your app must not pass or transmit customer data without notifying the user.

5.5

Your app must protect customers from unintentional large data transfers over metered networks.

5.6

Your app must not implement geo-blocking of customers without explicitly stating this in the app description.

5.7

Apps must be secured with a valid and trusted SSL certificate (HTTPS).

For more information, see Why do my apps and add-ins have to be SSL-secured? in Office Store app and add-in submission FAQ.

5.8

Apps may not open pop-up windows unless they are triggered by explicit user interaction.

5.9

Your app for SharePoint cannot request full-control permission.

Apps for SharePoint that request full-control permissions are not accepted in the Office Store.

5.10

You must specify an icon for your app in your app package or manifest, and that the icon must be correctly sized and formatted.

For more information, see What are some common errors to avoid when submitting my app to the Office Store? in Office Store app and add-in submission FAQ

5.11

Content apps for PowerPoint which use restricted permissions are required to clearly display links to their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use information on the first screen of the app. If your app does not collect or transmit user information, you must link to a statement that states this fact.

5.12

Content apps for PowerPoint may not activate their content (e.g. play audio or video) until after Office.initialize event (JavaScript API for Office) has been called. This ensures that content display will synchronize with presentations correctly.

6.1

Your app must not contain adult content.

6.2

Your app must not contain content that advocates discrimination, hatred, or violence based on membership in a particular racial, ethnic, national, linguistic, religious, or other social group, or based on a person’s gender, age, or sexual orientation.

6.3

Your app must not contain content or functionality that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes illegal activity.

6.4

Your app must not contain or display content that a reasonable person would consider to be obscene.

6.5

Your app must not contain content that is defamatory, libelous or slanderous, or threatening.

6.6

Your app must not contain content that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes excessive or irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco products, drugs or weapons.

6.7

Your app must not contain content that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes extreme or gratuitous violence, human rights violations, or the creation or use of weapons against a person or animal.

6.8

Your app must not contain excessive or gratuitous profanity.

6.9

It is your responsibility to determine if you have the right to use the chosen name, content, logos, copyright, trademarks, code, online services and APIs.

6.10

Your app must not encourage or enable piracy of copyrighted content.

6.11

You must provide details on the submission form if your app calls, supports, contains, or uses cryptography.

6.12

Your app must not be designed or marketed to perform, instruct, or encourage tasks that could cause physical harm to a customer or any other person.

6.13

If your app is a game distributed in markets which require a game rating, you must make the rating available in your app description.

Supported ratings boards include:

  • CERO

  • CRB

  • DJCTZ

  • ESRB

  • FPB

  • GRB

  • OFLC - New Zealand

  • PEGI

  • USK

7.1

The metadata that you submit with your app must be accurate.

For information on common mistakes to avoid, see How can I avoid errors when submitting my app or add-in to the Office Store? in Office Store app and add-in submission FAQ.

7.2

Your app must have a unique name.

7.3

Your app’s description must be reflective of your app’s functionality. If you make alterations to your app, such that its functionality is discrepant from its app description, you must resubmit your app.

7.4

Apps listed in multiple languages must be easily identified and understood.

The Office Store supports merchandising of apps in the following languages:

  • Arabic

  • Bulgarian

  • Chinese (Simplified)

  • Chinese (Traditional)

  • Croatian

  • Czech

  • Danish

  • Dutch

  • English

  • Estonian

  • Finnish

  • French

  • German

  • Greek

  • Hebrew

  • Hindi

  • Hungarian

  • Indonesian

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • Kazakh

  • Korean

  • Latvian

  • Lithuanian

  • Malay (Latin)

  • Norwegian (Bokmål)

  • Polish

  • Portuguese (Brazil)

  • Portuguese (Portugal)

  • Romanian

  • Russian

  • Serbian (Latin)

  • Slovak

  • Slovenian

  • Spanish

  • Swedish

  • Thai

  • Turkish

  • Ukrainian

  • Vietnamese

Note Note

English apps are distributed to all Store-supported markets by default. Providers can block English apps from distribution via Seller Dashboard.

7.4.1

You must localize your app metadata (descriptions, screenshots, title) to be easily understood for each submitted languages.

7.4.2

The primary language selected when you submit your app must be one of the supported languages within your app's functionality as declared in your app's manifest.

This policy does not apply to dictionary app submissions.

7.4.3

You must specify language support for your app in your app's manifest.

7.4.4

Deleted.

For more information, see How do I declare language support for my app? in Office Store app and add-in submission FAQ.

7.5

Your app must not falsely declare language support.

7.6

The capabilities you declare must relate to the core functions and description of your app.

7.7

You must provide at least one screenshot of your app.

7.8

Your app’s packages must be correctly formatted and conform to the current manifest schema. For apps for Office, this is manifest schema version 1.1.

For detailed manifest schema information, see Schema reference for apps for Office manifests (v1.1) and Schema reference for manifests of apps for SharePoint. Also see What are some common errors to avoid when submitting my app to the Office Store? in Office Store app and add-in submission FAQ.

7.9

The categories you assign your app must correspond to the character or purpose of the app.

Note Note

Non-productivity apps must be categorized in the Lifestyle category and only in that category.

7.10

Your app must not be a duplicate of an app you’ve already submitted.

7.11

Your app must include the app name, version information, and technical support contact information that is easily discoverable.

7.12

The experience provided by an app must be reasonably similar in each language as declared in your app's manifest.

For more information, see How do I declare language support for my app? in Office Store app and add-in submission FAQ.

7.13

Your app name may not include "add-in" or "plug-in" or derivatives.

7.14

All apps for Office must use the Microsoft-hosted Office.js file.

For more information, see How do I reference the JavaScript APIs for Office in my apps? in Office Store app and add-in submission FAQ.

7.15

You must specify a valid Support URL in the SupportURL element of your app for Office manifest.

7.16

If you wish to submit multiple variations of an app (for example, where different functionalities are unlocked at different price points), you must submit these as separate apps, with separate product IDs.

7.16.1

Each app must have a unique name (e.g. Test App, Test App: Premium).

7.16.2

The binary may remain the same across the multiple app listings.

7.16.3

We recommend, as best practice, that you notify users that multiple app listings exist in the app description of each app. This ensures users are aware that different cost/functionality tiers are available.

7.17

You may submit an education app to the Office Store. Education apps have the following additional requirements:

  • An education app is an app that is used in a class or study context, by teachers and/or students.

  • An app for Office is an education app if it is submitted under the "Education" category.

  • An education app must provide in the testing notes at least one and up to three applicable subjects and a minimum of one applicable age range from the following list:

    Subjects:

    • Math

    • Literacy (English Language Arts)

    • Science

    • Social Studies

    • Health and Fitness

    • Engineering and Technology

    • Business, Finance, and Economics

    • Computer Science

    • Languages

    • Art and Music

    • Teaching Tools and Resources

    Age ranges:

    • Preschool and Kindergarten

    • Elementary School (1st-5th Grade)

    • Middle School (6-8th Grade)

    • High School (9-12th Grade)

    • Higher Education

8.1

If you update your app’s pricing/licensing terms, you must continue to offer the original functionality to the existing customer base at the original pricing. New prices and/or licensing terms may only apply to new users.

8.2

If you update your app’s pricing from free to paid, existing app users must receive the same level of functionality as before the update.

8.3

If you update your app from supporting site licenses for free to not supporting them, existing users must continue to be supported for free.

8.4

Your apps cannot be resubmitted more than ten times per month, up to a total of 30 times per year.

8.5

If you withdraw your app from sale, you must ensure any external web services and/or web pages that support the app will continue to function for 90 days. Failure to do so will make you responsible for refund liability towards your customers.

8.6

Apps may convert from free to subscription pricing. If you update your app’s pricing from free to subscription, existing app users must receive the same level of functionality as before the update.

Converting from a paid app to a subscription app is not currently supported.

9.1

If your app is found to violate any of our app store policies, your app can be removed from the Office Store. If a customer needs to be refunded, the refund will be deducted from any pending payouts to your account.

10.1

Your paid apps must follow the Office Store commerce requirements.

For more information, see Can I submit a paid app to the Office Store? in Office Store app and add-in submission FAQ.

10.2

If your app for SharePoint has autohosting capabilities, it will not be accepted in the Office Store.

For more information, see Update on Autohosted Apps Preview program.

10.3

The version number you specify for your app on the Seller Dashboard submission form must exactly match the app version number in the app manifest.

You must specify your app version using the following syntax:

a. b. c. d

Where a is an integer between 1-9999, and each of b, c, d are each integers between 0-9999. For example:

  • 1.0.0.0

  • 6.23.0.1

10.4

Apps which utilized deprecated functionality will not be allowed in the store.

For more information, see SharePoint 2013: List of obsolete types and members.

10.5

Paid mail apps must support a site license.

10.6

Submitting apps for Office that are hosted within Access as paid apps is not currently supported.

10.7

Deleted.

10.8

For your app for Office to be available on iOS, it must be free. It must not include "app" in the App Title or App Short Description. You must also do the following on the Seller Dashboard submission form:

  • Accept Apple’s Terms and Conditions by selecting the appropriate checkbox.

  • Provide a valid Apple ID.

10.9

Apps for Office must use version 1.1 of the Office.js library and the manifest schema.

11.1

Apps can fail validation for issues related to Apps for Office and SharePoint UX guidelines which impede the customer experience within Office and SharePoint.

11.2

Apps which depend on external accounts must provide a clear and simple sign in/sign out and signup experience.

12.1

Apps for Office Mix must be for an educational purpose.

12.2

Apps for Office Mix must be created using the Office Mix platform.

12.3

Apps for Office Mix must be free.

12.4

Apps for Office Mix must start in the Play View when published to Office Mix.

12.5

All restrictions that apply to content apps for PowerPoint also apply to Apps for Office Mix.

As these requirements evolve, we will continue to update our documentation. Stable requirements are critical to your doing your best work, so we aim to ensure the changes we do make are sustainable and continue to protect and enhance your apps.

Thank you again for joining us in this commitment to delivering fantastic experiences.

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