Office 365's Best Kept Secret


Let’s face it, in today’s information age good things don’t remain a secret…at least for very long. Office 365, however has a feature in its repertoire that is somewhat of a hidden gem known as Apps for Office. While Apps for Office may not be a complete secret, it is one of the lesser known, lesser publicized capabilities in Office 365.


Taking a hint from successful mobile platforms with user-friendly app stores, Microsoft Apps for Office provides an improved experience within Office programs by integrating rich content and services from the web. Essentially, an app for Office is a webpage that is hosted inside an Office client application. Apps can be used to extend the functionality of a document, email message, meeting request, appointment or SharePoint site (see Apps for SharePoint).






Apps for Office has a growing library of tools that can help with collaboration, visualization and productivity. For instance, get real-time updates and integration from LinkedIn in Outlook, or research information for a report directly in Word. One of the newest apps to hit the cloud is Power BI which helps you discover, analyze and visualize data like never before using Excel.
IT admins can create a company store and populate it with useful apps for their employees. Alternately, admins can turn off the public store so that employees can’t download apps from it.


Microsoft Apps for Office provides a great opportunity to developers to reach millions of potential users. Apps can be built using technologies such as HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and REST. They can use Microsoft tools like Visual Studio, but they don’t have to. Similarly, they can run the apps on Microsoft’s Azure cloud back end, or Amazon Web Services if they prefer. Furthermore, it’s a consistent development platform across Office and SharePoint, making it easy for developers to create apps for different programs.
The fastest way to start creating apps is to sign up for Office 365 for developers. This customized subscription includes all of the resources you need to start building and testing:
  • Office 365 Developer Site (customized for creating and testing apps).
  • “Napa” Office 365 Development Tools (to create apps right within the browser).
  • Office Professional Plus 2013
  • Exchange Online
There are four distribution end-points for your apps:
  • Office Store
  • Apps for Office Catalog on SharePoint
  • Exchange Catalog
  • Network Shared Folder App Catalog


There is no doubt that Apps for Office has an arsenal of powerful tools. However, in order for this model to be successful end-users must first be aware that they are available and developers must continue to build more of them.


To learn more about Apps for Office or how Managed Solution can help increase your productivity tools, fill out the contact form to the right or call us directly at 800-550-3795.


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