In case you did not know, Office files that end with an (x), like PPTX, XLSX and DOCX, or an (m), like PPTM, XLSM, DOCM are actually ZIP files. If you rename these files to .ZIP, you can open them up and see all the component that make up what is now an the Office Open XML File Specification.
Years ago I was working on a project where we were programmatically modifying Office documents using the Open XML Toolkit. I got sick and tired of renaming the files to .ZIP, looking inside, making corrections as needed, and then renaming the file back. So I created this tool. I used it – a lot, and then… Well, I forgot about it.
I recently started working on a project where I needed to quickly get into the contents of an Office file to see if the changes being made were correct. I also needed to do light editing of the internal XML parts at times. And I seemed to remember doing all this before. I searched and search and then I found this old project. I have been using it a couple weeks now and figured it might be a good thing to share with the community. So I published it on GitHub:
The details for install and usage are in the README.md. Once installed, you will have to register it for each file type. Once setup, you would right-click on the file, select Open With and then click OpenXmlFileViewer.
You will be able to browse the parts like you would files in File Explorer:
Please let me know if you have any questions or issues.
While working on a customers proof of concept, we determined that we needed to know who the current user opening the add-in is. In most scenarios where there is a Store Add-in, you have the user log in. But we are in a enterprise environment, have an embedded taskpane and did not want to nag the user every single time they opened the document.
Outside of the BETA API set, there actually is not a way to do this in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In the current BETA API (soon to be released), is the new Single sign-on (SSO) API. Detailed here:
There is one major change and one fix in this update:
The library no longer has any dependencies on jQuery. As such all parsing is done with DOMParser and all loops are traditional (for, versus $.each()).
NOTE: This is a fairly major change as it touches the core asyncEws call, which is at the very core over every call in the library. If you have an issue with this build, please point to the previous build of the library directly. See more below…
The sendPlainTextEmailWithAttachment() function was fixed to submit parameters as a Object versus individually.
The GitHub repository has all previous versions. For example, to access the primary CDN, go to:
Another recent announcement that has me excited is the ability to debug Office Web Add-ins directly from VS Code. Before this recent announcement, it was a hit or miss proposition. There was Visual Studio 2019, that did a pretty good job. But I liked the lightweight simplicity of VS Code. Visual Studio 2019 seemed too too heavy-weight. It’s hard to put my finger on how or why, but I really enjoy VS Code for Web Add-in development so much better. Except for debugging…
So, to debug, I actually did most of my dev/test in the web versions of Office (Excel online, Outlook online, etc.). Then came the Edge Developer Tools Preview which helped debug task pane add-ins in the full clients. But that did not help with things like the On Send event in Outlook or other UI-less functions. So, it was a struggle at times.
The process is a tad more complicated than I like, but it does work. Essentially, you need to:
Run VS Code as administrator
Install the extension in VS Code by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + X and searching for the “Microsoft Office Add-in Debugger”
Add the following code to the .vscode\launch.json file to enable Office Debugging in your project. You will need to update line #7, and replace the uppercase HOST text with the host application for your Office add-in.
…Script Lab for Outlook has been released. And the best part, it is available in Outlook on Windows, Outlook on Mac and Outlook on the web!
If you do a lot of Outlook development this will be a godsend. You will now be able to go into Script Lab and test your code ideas before you add them to your more complex add-in.
Open Outlook, go into the Office Store and type “Script Lab” and Script Lab for Outlook should come up in your list. Select and install it. Then open a message in Outlook and you should see the Script Lab items on the Home tab.
Sometimes you have multiple add-ins and you need to facilitate communication between them. For example, a common scenario I have heard is that you have:
A Content Add-in that displays something like a graph or an organization chart.
A Taskpane app that allows you to manipulate settings, upload and download data from a backend web service.
You need to be able to facilitate communication between the two so that when updates happen to one add-in, the other receives those updates. I recently worked on a proof of concept that helped prove how this can be done.
The solution is to use the Document as a communication medium. In the particular case we used CustomXMLParts in the document. Here is how it would work:
One add-in would need to send an update to the other, so it would write a CustomXMLPart with a specific namespace and a “context” (basically, I am the TaskPane communicating) to the document.
Both add-ins will have a window.setInterval() thread running to check the documents for CustomXMLParts in that given namespace.
The timer on the Content Add-in would fire, find the new customXMLPart from the taskpane, read the contents and then update itself as needed and finally, delete the CustomXMLPart.
Here is the code for the Content Add-in to look for the message from the TaskPane:
Next, here is the code in the Task Pane Add-in that will send the message for the content add-in to read:
I have made a few minor updates to easyEws. First, was a fix for distribution lists with an “&” in the name. The second is a few minor JSDoc updates for better linting. And finally, I changed a couple forEach loops to traditional for loops for performance reasons.
I have published the update to NPM and to my GitHub.
Please let me know if you have any issues or questions.