Create Apps for Office by using Visual Studio
To create an app for Office, use the App for Office project template, and then choose a few settings in a wizard. To obtain this template, you must download and install the Microsoft Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012.
Visual Studio creates a complete solution that contains all of the files that you need to start to test your app for Office. In fact, Visual Studio provides a full range of features that you can use to develop and test apps for Office more easily. To read about each of them, see Development Basics.
By using Visual Studio, you can create the following types of apps.
Task pane apps for Word, Excel, and Project. These apps appear in the task pane of an Office application.
Content apps for Excel. These apps appear inside of a worksheet.
Mail apps for Outlook. These apps appear next to the Outlook item (email message, meeting request, meeting response, meeting cancellation, or appointment) that’s open.
For more information about each of these types of apps, see Types of Apps for Office.
To get started, you can create a basic task pane or content app by following the instructions in How to: Create your first task pane or content app for Word and Excel by using Visual Studio.
For a detailed walkthrough that describes the files in your solution, explains different ways to debug your app, and features a more in-depth code sample, see Using Visual Studio to develop an app for Excel, Word, or Project.
As you create your first app for Office, you’ll notice that Visual Studio generates a solution that contains a web application project. This project contains the content pages of your app. While you develop your app, Visual Studio hosts the web application on your local server that’s running Internet Information Services (IIS). When you publish the app, you must host the files of your web application on a web server.
This approach is fine if you plan to publish your app to the Office Store or to a shared network folder. However, if you plan to publish your task pane or content app to an app catalog in SharePoint, you might want to host your pages and scripts in SharePoint so that you don't have to host them on a separate web server. For more information, see How to: Create a task pane or content app that is hosted in SharePoint.
Mail apps can create compelling user experiences by accessing contextual information from Outlook items and then using that data to access more information on the server and from web services. However, you can’t host mail apps in SharePoint. When you’re ready to publish your app, you must host the web application files on a server.
To get started, you can create a basic mail app by following the instructions in How to: Create your first mail app for Outlook by using Visual Studio.
For a detailed walkthrough that describes the files in your solution, explains different ways to debug your app, and features a more in-depth code sample, see Using Visual Studio to develop a mail app for Outlook.
When you are ready to publish your app for Office, you choose a few settings in the publish wizard. Visual Studio generates all of the files that you need to publish the app to the SharePoint corporate catalog, the Office Store, a shared network folder, or an Exchange catalog. For more information, see How to: Package an app for Office for publishing by using Visual Studio.