Create a task pane add-in with Napa Office 365 Development Tools

Office Add-ins

Use Napa Office 365 Development Tools to create a task pane Office Add-in that shows a list of images. When users select text in the open document, a list of images that are tagged with the selected text are retrieved from Flickr and displayed in the task pane.

Last modified: August 14, 2015

Applies to: apps for Office | Excel | Office Add-ins | PowerPoint | Project | Word

Learn more about supported hosts and other requirements.

Note Note

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

In this article
Create a basic Office Add-in
Change the properties of the add-in
Capture the text that users select in a document
Show images in the task pane add-in by using the Flickr API
Debug your add-in in Internet Explorer
Next steps
Additional resources

You can also build a task pane add-in using Visual Studio or a text editor. If you’re not sure which tool to use, see Development basics.

  1. Open the Napa Office 365 Development Tools web app in your browser and sign in using your Microsoft account credentials.

  2. Choose the Add New Project tile.

    The Add New Project tile appears only if you have created other projects. If this is your first project, skip to the next step.

    New project tile

    Projects page
  3. Choose the Task pane Add-in for Office tile, name the project MyFirstTaskPaneAddin, and then choose the Create button.

    Task pane add-in tile

    The New Project dialog box in Napa

    The code editor opens and shows the default webpage, which already contains some sample code that you can run without doing anything else.

Run the sample Office Add-in

  1. At the side of the page, choose the Run button (Run button).

    Excel Online opens, and the sample Office Add-in appears in the task pane. You can experiment with its features by choosing Edit Workbook > Edit in Excel Online.

  2. When you are ready to move on, close Excel Online.

  1. At the side of the page, choose the Properties button (Properties button) to display the Office Add-in properties.

  2. Set the Name property to My First Task Pane Add-in and the Description property to This app shows images that relate to text that's selected in the document.

    The Name and Description properties help users understand the purpose of the add-in when it appears in a list of available add-ins for an Office application. The Start Page property points to the page that appears in the Office Add-in when you start the project. For this walkthrough, we'll use the default page that comes with your project, but you can add new pages to your project and set the Start Page property to any of those pages. For an example, see Create a content add-in for Excel with Napa Office 365 Development Tools.

  3. Choose the Apply button at the bottom of the Properties page to save the property values.

    The Properties editor shows the most common settings of an Office Add-in. It doesn't show all of the possible settings of an Office Add-in. If your scenario requires you to change settings that don't appear in the Properties editor, you can open your project in Visual Studio and edit the manifest file directly.

  4. Choose the Explore button (Explore button) on the left side of the page to return to the project view.

  1. In Napa, choose Home.html.

    The default webpage appears in the code editor.

  2. Change the label for the get-data-from-selection button to "Search Flickr", and add a div named Images in the content-main div. Here's the code.

        <!-- Page content -->
        <div id="content-header">
            <div class="padding">
        <div id="content-main">
            <div class="padding">
                <p><strong>Add home screen content here.</strong></p>
                <p>For example:</p>
                <button id="get-data-from-selection">Search Flickr</button>
                <p style="margin-top: 50px;">
                    <a target="_blank" href="">
                        Find more samples online...
            <!--This section renders the images-->
                <div id="Images" style="height:800px; overflow:scroll"></div>
  3. Choose Home.js.

    The Home.js file appears in the code editor.

    Note Note

    You can use the Office.initialize method to define other actions that run when the add-in starts. If you want your code to access the Office object model, this function is the best place to put that code. If you add that code to the Onload event of the default HTML file, that event might be raised before the Office object model is initialized, and an error might occur.

  4. In the Home.js file, change the getDataFromSelection function by adding this line of code: showImages(result.value);

    Here's what your function looks like after you’ve added the code.

    function getDataFromSelection() {
                function (result) {
                    if (result.status === Office.AsyncResultStatus.Succeeded) {
                   } else {
                        app.showNotification('Error:', result.error.message);

    This code gets the value of text that the user selects and calls a method to display images for the selected text. You'll define that method in the next procedure.


    Like other methods in the JavaScript API for Office, this method is asynchronous in that it doesn’t prevent the add-in from performing other operations while this method runs.

    The call to getSelectedDataAsync passes an anonymous function with a parameter, named result, as the callback argument. When the callback function runs, it uses the result parameter to access the value property of the AsyncResult object to display the data in the cell that the user chose.

  • In the Home.js file, add the following code. This code adds a function that shows images that relate to the selected text.

    function showImages(selectedText) {
        var parameters = {
            tags: selectedText,
            tagsmode: "any",
            format: "json"
                        function (results) {
                            $.each(results.items, function (index, item) {
                                $('#Images').append($("<img />").attr("src",;

Run it!

  1. At the side of the page, choose the Run button (Run button).

  2. Excel Online opens, and the sample Office Add-in appears in the task pane. Choose Edit Workbook > Edit in Excel Online.

  3. Select a cell and type a keyword for an image search.

  4. In the task pane, choose the Search Flickr button.

    Images that are tagged with the selected word on Flickr appear in the task pane.

  5. Close Excel Online.

If you start your task pane add-in in Excel Online, and you use Internet Explorer (IE), you can use F12 developer tools to debug the JavaScript, HTML, and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) of your add-in.

Here's how to open F12 tools, start the debugger, and force execution to stop on a line of code in your Home.js file.

  1. On the side of the page, choose the Run button (Run button).

    Excel Online opens, and the Office Add-in appears. Choose Edit Workbook > Edit in Excel Online.

  2. Press the F12 key on your keyboard.

    The F12 tools open in a separate window.

  3. In the F12 tools window, open the Debugger tab.

  4. Use the Ctrl-O keyboard shortcut to open a document, and then enter Home.js in the filter text box.

    The contents of the Home.js file appears in the window.

  5. Set a breakpoint on the getDataFromSelection method.

    For more information about how to set a breakpoint in the F12 tool window, see Breaking Code Execution.

  6. In the add-in, enter a word in a cell, and then choose the Search Flickr button.

    In the F12 tools window, execution stops on the getDataFromSelection method.

    See Using the F12 developer tools for more information.

    If you use a browser other than Internet Explorer, search your browser documentation.

Now that you’ve created a basic task pane add-in, consider exploring the following paths:

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