Add-ins are coming to Microsoft Office for Mac

Office for Mac's forthcoming add-in support is one of a number of new add-in features coming to Microsoft's productivity suite.

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Microsoft’s 2016 Build Developers Conference just wrapped up, and although the conference focused heavily on Windows 10, Office for Mac got some love as well.

According to Microsoft’s Office Dev Center, the company is bringing its add-ins feature to the Mac version of its Office suite. Add-ins, which allow third-party developers to add functionality and features to Office, are already a key feature of Office on Windows and iOS, as well as the Office Web apps, so their arrival on the Mac will bring that suite more in line with the rest of the Office universe. 

Add-in support for the Android version of Office is still “in the works,” according to Microsoft.

Examples of add-ins currently available include one that lets you look up information on Wikipedia, another that translates text from within Word, and another that lets you save items to Evernote while you’re using Outlook.

Why this matters: Microsoft has made a big push under CEO Satya Nadella to provide its productivity tools to users regardless of which platform they use, and the arrival of add-ins on the Mac is yet another indicator of that push. For Mac users, it’s a welcome sign that Microsoft is working to provide the same set of features in its apps across platforms—an issue highlighted by Microsoft’s decision to remove Virtual Basic macro support from Office for Mac back in 2008. That decision did not go over well with users, and Microsoft re-added the functionality to Office 2011.

Other new add-in features are coming soon

Of course, Office add-ins for the Mac aren’t the only developer goodies Microsoft is adding to its productivity suite.

Add-in developers will soon be able to create toolbar buttons and drop-down menus for add-ins (making them more seamless with the rest of the app), new add-in deployment tools for IT administrators, add-ins for OneNote, and the ability to install add-ins that aren’t available through the Office Store (a process known as “sideloading”). Check out the Office Dev Center if you’re interested in learning more.

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