Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013 Preview released!

This morning at the Microsoft Build Developer conference in San Francisco, S. Somasegar, Corporate VP for Developer Division, announced Visual Studio 2013 Preview. It’s an exciting moment for the Office Developer Tools team because of the great effort the team put in for this release.

Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013 Preview provides tons of great features to help you build apps for Office, apps for SharePoint, and SharePoint farm and sandboxed solutions. If you’ve been working on Office or SharePoint development using the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012, you’re probably familiar with the Web Platform Installer acquisition experience to get the tools. With Visual Studio 2013, you’ll get all those features without taking any extra time to download and install the tools—it’s all included in Visual Studio 2013. What’s more, the team also introduced more new features in this release to provide even better assistance when you build apps for Office and SharePoint.

MVC web application support for apps for SharePoint

Now you can choose to create an MVC (Model View Controller) web application project when creating a provider-hosted or autohosted app for SharePoint project. The updated app for SharePoint project creation wizard will guide you through the process of creating the projects:

Figure 1: Create an MVC web application project for an app for SharePointFigure 1: Create an MVC web application project for an app for SharePoint

In addition to this wizard, you also get the option to create an MVC web application project when you change your app hosting type from SharePoint-hosted to provider-hosted or autohosted through the manifest editor.

Creating an MVC project for an app for SharePoint is just the first step in building the app. You’ll need to handle a lot of other things when you develop the app—the most complex being web-to-SharePoint communication. The MVC project created in this case is equipped with the sample code that demonstrates how you can do web-to-SharePoint communication for different scenarios.

Figure 2: Code samples and page templates are provided with the MVC web application project for apps for SharePointFigure 2: Code samples and page templates are provided with the MVC web application project for apps for SharePoint

Publishing Manager for apps for Office and SharePoint

Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013 Preview provides a new Publishing Manager to help you get all the required packages ready for publishing. To publish apps for Office and provider-hosted apps for SharePoint, you will need both the manifest file (for apps for Office) or the app package (for apps for SharePoint) produced from the app project and the web deploy packaged from the web project. The Publishing Manager is a portal to help you get everything ready for publishing. It contains the links to a different publishing dialog box/wizard for the app and the web project, and the links to the resources that you may need during publishing. Figure 3 shows the Publishing Manager for a provider-hosted app for SharePoint project:

Figure 3: App for SharePoint Publishing ManagerFigure 3: App for SharePoint Publishing Manager

Figure 4 shows the Publishing Manager for an app for Office project:

Figure 4: App for Office Publishing ManagerFigure 4: App for Office Publishing Manager

What’s new In “Napa”?

If you want to build apps for Office and SharePoint, but you don’t have Visual Studio installed or aren’t ready to install Visual Studio 2013 Preview, “Napa” Office 365 Development Tools is definitely a service you shouldn’t miss. “Napa” is a browser-based online development experience you can use to start building apps for Office and SharePoint without having to install Visual Studio or Office 2013. “Napa” is available as a free app that you can have in your Office 365 SharePoint Developer Site. This means that as long as you have signed up for an Office 365 Developer Site, you can use “Napa” anywhere. This enables you to build apps from any machine through your web browser, thanks to the power of the cloud.

Once you are ready to continue developing with the full power of Visual Studio, you can transition smoothly to Visual Studio with just one click of the “Open in Visual Studio” button. If you are using Visual Studio 2012, “Napa” gives you all the tools you need to start working in Visual Studio right away. If you install Visual Studio 2013 Preview, you can make the switch with no issues—“Napa” already supports it!

This is part of an effort to make sure you always get great tooling support with the latest platform changes, which is possible thanks to the continuous updates “Napa” provides on a weekly cadence. In the past few months, “Napa” has shipped the following key features with these updates:

  • Task Pane Apps for Office can now be launched in the Excel Web App and the PowerPoint desktop program. This means that you can now build Task Pane apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; it also means that you don’t need to have Office 2013 installed on your machine to run Excel Task Pane apps. Additionally, it also lets you use your favorite browser’s debugging tools to debug Task Pane apps, allowing you to have more of the development flow completely in the cloud.
  • You can now create new documents within “Napa” to use with your apps for Office. More importantly, you can also edit these new documents and any other documents that you upload to your project without ever leaving “Napa”. This lets you create or modify a document with data straight from your browser and then set your apps to launch in the documents to test them more thoroughly. These documents are stored inside your project, so you can access them from any place where you can access “Napa”, even if the computer you’re using doesn’t have Office 2013 installed.

If you want to learn about other new features in the Visual Studio 2013 Preview, check out Somasegar’s blog for more details. Last but not least, try Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013 Preview today, and please feel free to let us know if you have any questions, comments, or feedback.


Xiaoying Guo

Program Manager, Office Developer Tools

Comments (13)

  1. When creating a SharePoint app using the new MVC template, the SharePointContext.cs and TokenHelper.cs files are not added. The assembly Microsoft.SharePoint.Client is also missing.

  2. XiaoyingGuo says:

    Hi Kollster, are you using Windows 8.1? There is a known issue on Windows 8.1 we are fixing that tools cannot be installed appropriately. The workaround is to manually enable the Windows feature WIF 3.5, and then install the tooling again.



  3. So…. where is the download for Office Tools for Visual Studio 2013?

  4. Was the download link removed? I can't seem to find it anywhere.

  5. David says:

    How do I get a hold of the developer tools preview?  Or is it only available to a select group?

  6. Mai Omar Desouki says:


    I have been searching for office developer tools for vs 2013 to download but can't find it???

    Please share the link to download if there is.

  7. XiaoyingGuo says:

    Hi Mai and David,

    The Office Developer Tools is built-in with the VS2013, which means you will get the tools after installing VS2013. You can get the VS2013 at…/downloads.


    Xiaoying Guo

    Program Manager, Visual Studio Office Developer Tools team

  8. Colin Zolotnitsky says:


    I have been trying to download office developer tools for VS2013 but I have visual studio 2013 express. Is there any way for me to get it without the visual studio 2013 itself?

  9. Charles says:

    Xiaoying Guo said "The Office Developer Tools is built-in with the VS2013 "

    Are you sure about that? My VS 2013 has no Office Developer Tools. Wouldn't they be under "Visual C#" in "New Project", and wouldn't they be called "Office Developer Tools"?  Something tells me we need a separate download.

  10. XiaoyingGuo says:

    @Colin, the Office Developer Tools requires VS2013 Professional (or above) SKU. It doesn't work with VS2013 Express.

    @Charles, you can find the project templates under C#/VB -> Office/SharePoint. Please also make sure when you install the VS2013 Professional (or above SKU), the Office Developer Tools option is selected in the setup page.



  11. Mallikarjuna Rao Motapothula says:

    Dear Xiaoying Guo,

    I am very new to SharePoint.

    I am developing a web project in Visual Studio 2010 Pro, but i need to deploy in a SharePoint server.

    could you please help me in this issue.  

    Is there any direct deploy tool from VS 2013, or

    Do i desperately need to install SharePoint in my Windows 7 Professional OS.

    My serious problem is, i can not install SharePoint server in my laptop.  

    Thanks in advance.


  12. XiaoyingGuo says:

    Hi Malli,

    Is it what you want to achieve that deploying your web project as an app for SharePoint so that your web project can be launched through the SharePoint site? Which version of the SharePoint server are you using?

    If that's the case and you are using SP2013 or SP Online, you can use VS2013 to create a provider-hosted app for SharePoint, remove the web project created with the SharePoint app, but add your web project into the solution, and then specify this web project in the SharePoint app properties window. With this, you can debug your app on your SharePoint server without installing the server on your local machine.

    Then you can use the Publish… command in the SharePoint app project context menu to get publish packages, one as a SharePoint app and one is the Web Deploy package for your web project. You need to upload the SharePoint app package (.app) onto the SharePoint, and the Web Deploy package on your web server. By doing this, whenever users click the SharePoint app, it will launch your web project onto the SharePoint site.