Use Vue to build an Excel task pane add-in

In this article, you'll walk through the process of building an Excel task pane add-in using Vue and the Excel JavaScript API.

Prerequisites

  • Node.js (the latest LTS version). Visit the Node.js site to download and install the right version for your operating system.

  • The latest version of Yeoman and the Yeoman generator for Office Add-ins. To install these tools globally, run the following command via the command prompt.

    npm install -g yo generator-office
    

    Note

    Even if you've previously installed the Yeoman generator, we recommend you update your package to the latest version from npm.

  • Office connected to a Microsoft 365 subscription (including Office on the web).

    Note

    If you don't already have Office, you might qualify for a Microsoft 365 E5 developer subscription through the Microsoft 365 Developer Program; for details, see the FAQ. Alternatively, you can sign up for a 1-month free trial or purchase a Microsoft 365 plan.

  • Install the Vue CLI globally. From the terminal, run the following command.

    npm install -g @vue/cli
    

Generate a new Vue app

To generate a new Vue app, use the Vue CLI.

vue create my-add-in

Then, select the Default preset for "Vue 3" (if you prefer, choose "Vue 2").

Generate the manifest file

Each add-in requires a manifest file to define its settings and capabilities.

  1. Navigate to your app folder.

    cd my-add-in
    
  2. Use the Yeoman generator to generate the manifest file for your add-in.

    yo office
    

    Note

    When you run the yo office command, you may receive prompts about the data collection policies of Yeoman and the Office Add-in CLI tools. Use the information that's provided to respond to the prompts as appropriate. If you choose Exit in response to the second prompt, you'll need to run the yo office command again when you're ready to create your add-in project.

    When prompted, provide the following information to create your add-in project.

    • Choose a project type: Office Add-in project containing the manifest only
    • What do you want to name your add-in? My Office Add-in
    • Which Office client application would you like to support? Excel

    The Yeoman Generator for Office Add-ins command line interface, with project type set to manifest only.

After completion, the wizard creates a My Office Add-in folder containing a manifest.xml file. You'll use the manifest to sideload and test your add-in.

Tip

You can ignore the next steps guidance that the Yeoman generator provides after the add-in project's been created. The step-by-step instructions within this article provide all of the guidance you'll need to complete this tutorial.

Secure the app

While not strictly required in all add-in scenarios, using an HTTPS endpoint for your add-in is strongly recommended. Add-ins that are not SSL-secured (HTTPS) generate unsecure content warnings and errors during use. If you plan to run your add-in in Office on the web or publish your add-in to AppSource, it must be SSL-secured. If your add-in accesses external data and services, it should be SSL-secured to protect data in transit. Self-signed certificates can be used for development and testing, so long as the certificate is trusted on the local machine.

  1. Enable HTTPS for your app. In the root folder of the Vue project, create a vue.config.js file with the following contents.

    const fs = require("fs");
    const path = require("path");
    const homedir = require('os').homedir()
    
    module.exports = {
      devServer: {
        port: 3000,
        https: {
          key: fs.readFileSync(path.resolve(`${homedir}/.office-addin-dev-certs/localhost.key`)),
          cert: fs.readFileSync(path.resolve(`${homedir}/.office-addin-dev-certs/localhost.crt`)),
          ca: fs.readFileSync(path.resolve(`${homedir}/.office-addin-dev-certs/ca.crt`)),
         }
       }
    }
    
  2. Install the add-in's certificates.

    npx office-addin-dev-certs install
    

Explore the project

The add-in project that you've created with the Yeoman generator contains sample code for a basic task pane add-in. If you'd like to explore the key components of your add-in project, open the project in your code editor and review the files listed below. When you're ready to try out your add-in, proceed to the next section.

  • The manifest.xml file in the root directory of the project defines the settings and capabilities of the add-in. To learn more about the manifest.xml file, see Office Add-ins XML manifest.
  • The ./src/App.vue file contains the HTML markup for the task pane, the CSS that's applied to the content in the task pane, and the Office JavaScript API code that facilitates interaction between the task pane and Excel.

Update the app

  1. Open the ./public/index.html file and add the following <script> tag immediately before the </head> tag.

    <script src="https://appsforoffice.microsoft.com/lib/1/hosted/office.js"></script>
    
  2. Open manifest.xml and find the <bt:Urls> tags inside the <Resources> tag. Locate the <bt:Url> tag with the ID Taskpane.Url and update its DefaultValue attribute. The new DefaultValue is https://localhost:3000/index.html. The entire updated tag should match the following line.

    <bt:Url id="Taskpane.Url" DefaultValue="https://localhost:3000/index.html" />
    
  3. Open ./src/main.js and replace the contents with the following code.

    import { createApp } from 'vue'
    import App from './App.vue'
    
    window.Office.onReady(() => {
        createApp(App).mount('#app');
    });
    
  4. Open ./src/App.vue and replace the file contents with the following code.

    <template>
      <div id="app">
        <div class="content">
          <div class="content-header">
            <div class="padding">
              <h1>Welcome</h1>
            </div>
          </div>
          <div class="content-main">
            <div class="padding">
              <p>
                Choose the button below to set the color of the selected range to
                green.
              </p>
              <br />
              <h3>Try it out</h3>
              <button @click="onSetColor">Set color</button>
            </div>
          </div>
        </div>
      </div>
    </template>
    
    <script>
      export default {
        name: 'App',
        methods: {
          onSetColor() {
            window.Excel.run(async context => {
              const range = context.workbook.getSelectedRange();
              range.format.fill.color = 'green';
              await context.sync();
            });
          }
        }
      };
    </script>
    
    <style>
      .content-header {
        background: #2a8dd4;
        color: #fff;
        position: absolute;
        top: 0;
        left: 0;
        width: 100%;
        height: 80px;
        overflow: hidden;
      }
    
      .content-main {
        background: #fff;
        position: fixed;
        top: 80px;
        left: 0;
        right: 0;
        bottom: 0;
        overflow: auto;
      }
    
      .padding {
        padding: 15px;
      }
    </style>
    

Start the dev server

  1. Start the dev server.

    npm run serve
    
  2. In a web browser, navigate to https://localhost:3000 (notice the https). If the page on https://localhost:3000 is blank and without any certificate errors, it means that it's working. The Vue App is mounted after Office is initialized, so it only shows things inside of an Excel environment.

Try it out

  1. Run your add-in and sideload the add-in within Excel. Follow the instructions for the platform you'll be using:

  2. Open the add-in task pane in Excel. On the Home tab, choose the Show Taskpane button.

    The Excel Home menu, with the Show Taskpane button highlighted.

  3. Select any range of cells in the worksheet.

  4. Set the color of the selected range to green. In your add-in's task pane, choose the Set color button.

    The add-in task pane open in Excel.

Next steps

Congratulations, you've successfully created an Excel task pane add-in using Vue! Next, learn more about the capabilities of an Excel add-in and build a more complex add-in by following along with the Excel add-in tutorial.

Troubleshooting

Ensure your environment is ready for Office development by following the instructions in Set up your development environment.

The automatic npm install step Yo Office performs may fail. If you see errors when trying to run npm start, navigate to the newly created project folder in a command prompt and manually run npm install. For more information about Yo Office, see Create Office Add-in projects using the Yeoman Generator.

Some of the sample code uses ES6 JavaScript. This isn't compatible with older versions of Office that use the Trident (Internet Explorer 11) browser engine. For information on how to support those platforms in your add-in, see Support older Microsoft webviews and Office versions. If you don't already have a Microsoft 365 subscription to use for development, you might qualify for a Microsoft 365 E5 developer subscription through the Microsoft 365 Developer Program; for details, see the FAQ. Alternatively, you can sign up for a 1-month free trial or purchase a Microsoft 365 plan.

See also