Office JS Public Preview is here!


After months, years maybe, it is finally here: The new cross-platform Excel and Word JavaScript API’s in Public Preview!

Up to now the development of this was happening behind the screen, not available for the general public. At first with little snippets, test scenarios and try-outs to find the best way to work with this, not only on Windows platforms but also the other platforms like iOS or Android.

Until now the Office JS API’s were mostly limited to Office365 interfaces but not targeting file content. This now is changed, at least for the first and still somewhat limited version.

What this means is that you now get the option to actually interact with the file contents. For now only on Excel en Word and only for a small subset of the Object Model as you know it from VBA and/or VSTO, but it is a start.

As its now open into the public, go ahead, and take a look at the public preview of Office.js API’s in Office 2016 and try some of the samples to get an impression on how this works:

Increase the productivity of Users’ with enhanced Office.js APIs in Office 2016

I will go into some more detail in future blog posts. Hopefully a start to get the full object model available but now on multiple platforms!

8 Replies to “Office JS Public Preview is here!”

  1. Hmmmm .. Let’s see how this plays out Maarten. I guess the big questions are:

    1. How long before they get EVERYTHING in this ..?
    2. What will the performance be like?
    3. Will the language be too verbose and too cryptic for anyone but people with years of js experience to get going on it. Remember there are a lot of people experienced with VBA (and VSTO) and if getting up to speed on this is tough that could be a problem. BUT on the other hand VBA wasn’t learned in a day 🙂 ..
    4. Is this a solution looking for a problem to solve ? In other words is anyone really looking for this? I’m not so sure regardless of how capable this might end up being.


    1. 1. My guess … a looooong time, putting it against the time already in development. On the other hand, if they put in max resources things can go quite fast. The foundation is probably the hardest to do (and to do it right) so if that appears to work it is just a matter of cranking out the missing pieces.
      2. From what I have seen so far, not bad. I must say that the COM Object Model significantly slowed down with each Office version, so maybe they are back on track and get this important part right from the start 😉
      3. What they did is create some sort of an ‘intermediate’ format. Obviously it’s JavaScript but what they tried is to write the API in a way that things can be recognized by old men VBA developers. Tell em if you don’t get what they did there!
      4. The one problem to solve here was, getting it to run on all platforms available. If you are good with Windows only, stick to VSTO or VBA for the time being. That has the full Object Model (with a couple of small missing parts on Draw objects for instance). And if it grows and matured re-evaluate and maybe decide to go X-Plat with the new APIs

      For now … no production code yet, trial and test only.

  2. ” If you are good with Windows only, stick to VSTO or VBA for the time being. ” My worry is that companies may use this as an opportunity to stop VBA dev until js is ready and that could be a while. Certainly not everyone will be so mindful of this change but there is a risk in some companies which have a hate-on for VBA and Windows solutions to begin with ..

    We’ll see I guess.

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