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Deploy and install mail add-ins for testing in Outlook

Office Add-ins

Learn how to deploy and install a mail add-in for Outlook for testing, as part of the mail add-in development cycle.

Last modified: August 07, 2015

Applies to: apps for Office | Office Add-ins | Outlook

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
Deploying a mail add-in for testing
Installing the mail add-in
In this section
Additional resources

As part of the process of developing a mail add-in, you will probably find yourself iteratively deploying and installing the add-in for testing, which involves the following steps:

  1. Creating a manifest file that describes the mail add-in.

  2. Deploying the mail add-in UI file(s) to a web server.

  3. Installing the mail add-in in your mailbox.

  4. Test the mail add-in, making appropriate changes to the UI or manifest files, and repeating steps 2 and 3 to test the changes.

Creating a manifest file for the mail add-in

Each add-in is described by an XML manifest, a document that gives the Exchange server information about the mail add-in, provides descriptive information about the add-in for the user, and identifies the location of the add-in UI HTML file. You can store the manifest in a local folder or server, as long as the location is accessible by the Exchange server of the mailbox that you are testing with. We'll assume that you store your manifest in a local folder. For information about how to create a manifest file, see Create a manifest for a mail add-in to activate in a read or compose form in Outlook (schema v1.1).

Deploying a mail add-in to a web server

You can use HTML and JavaScript to create the mail add-in UI. The resulting source file is stored on a web server that can be accessed by the Exchange server that hosts the add-in. The source file is identified by the SourceLocation child element in the DesktopSettings element, TabletSettings element, and/or PhoneSettings element specified in the add-in manifest file.

After initially deploying the UI files for the mail add-in, you can update the add-in UI and behavior by replacing the HTML file stored on the web server with a new version of the HTML file.

After preparing the add-in manifest file and deploying the add-in UI to a web server that can be accessed, you can install the mail add-in for a mailbox on an Exchange server by using an Outlook rich client, Outlook Web App, or OWA for Devices, or by running remote Windows PowerShell cmdlets.

Installing a mail add-in in an Outlook rich client

You can install a mail add-in if your mailbox is on Exchange Online, Exchange 2013 or a later release. In Outlook for Windows or Outlook RT, you can install add-ins through the Office Fluent Backstage view. Choose File and Manage add-ins. This allows you to sign in to the Exchange Admin Center. After signing in, continue the installation process with step 4 in the next section.

In Outlook for Mac, choose Manage add-ins at the right end of the add-in bar and then sign in to the Exchange Admin Center. Continue with step 4 in the next section.

Installing a mail add-in by using the Exchange Admin Center

To use the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) to install a mail add-in, follow these steps:

  1. Open the EAC by using a URL such as the following:

    https://<exchange server>/ecp/?p=installed

  2. Log on to the Exchange server by using a valid user name and password.

  3. Select add-ins to open the add-in manager.

    Note Note

    If you are logged on as the Exchange Server administrator, you must first select the user name in the upper-right corner, and then select My Options to open the account control panel.

  4. Select the plus sign (+) to add a new add-in.

  5. From the drop-down list, select Add from file, assuming you have stored the manifest on a local folder.

  6. Browse to the file path of the manifest, and then select Install.

  7. Select the user name in the upper-right corner of the window and select My Mail to switch to your email to test the mail add-in.

Note Note

If you are not using any of the following to develop your mail add-in:

  • Office 365 developer tenant

  • Napa Office 365 Development Tools

  • Visual Studio

And, if you do not have at minimum the "My Custom add-ins" role for your Exchange Server, then you can install mail add-ins only from the Office Store. In order to test your mail add-in, or install mail add-ins in general by specifying a URL or file name for the add-in manifest, you should request your Exchange administrator to provide the necessary permissions.

The Exchange administrator can run the following PowerShell cmdlet to assign a single user the necessary permissions. In this example, wendyri is the user’s email alias.

New-ManagementRoleAssignment –Role "My Custom add-ins" –User "wendyri"

If necessary, the administrator can run the following cmdlet to assign multiple users the similar necessary permissions:

$users = Get-Mailbox *

$users | ForEach-Object { New-ManagementRoleAssignment -Role "My Custom add-ins" -User $_.Alias}

For more information about the My Custom add-ins role, see My Custom add-ins role.

Using Office 365, Napa, or Visual Studio to develop mail add-ins assigns you the organization administrator role which allows you to install mail add-ins by file or URL in the EAC, or by Powershell cmdlets.

After you install the mail add-in, you can sign out of the EAC and return to the respective Outlook rich client to test the add-in. Alternatively, without signing out of the EAC, you can continue to use Outlook Web App or OWA for Devices to test the add-in. To do this, select the user name in the upper-right corner of the window, and select My Mail to switch to your email to test the add-in.

Installing a mail add-in by using remote PowerShell

After you create a remote Windows PowerShell session on your Exchange server, you can install a mail add-in by using the New-App cmdlet with the following PowerShell command.

New-App –URL:"http://<fully-qualified URL">

The fully qualified URL is the location of the add-in manifest file that you prepared for your add-in.

You can use the following additional PowerShell cmdlets to manage the add-ins for a mailbox:

  • Get-App — Lists the mail add-ins that are enabled for a mailbox.

  • Set-App — Enables or disables a mail add-in on a mailbox.

  • Remove-App — Removes a previously installed mail add-in from an Exchange server.

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