An introduction to Office 15 "Agaves"

Back in Feburary, I briefly hinted at extensions coming to Office "15" aptly named Office Web Extensions (code-named Agave). To expand on that earlier post, Agaves are content-aware web apps, built with HTML and JavaScript, that can extend both desktop and web Office applications. An Agave can appear in several forms: As a task pane (or sidebar), a block within your content, or as a popup that appears when its button is clicked.

A Task Pane Agave running in Microsoft Word “15”

Task Pane Agaves are available in Word, Excel, and Project. They live alongside your document or project and are analogous to the Metro snap feature present in Windows 8. They can default to a specific width and be floated, if desired.

Example: A thesaurus Agave that automatically suggested replacements for recently typed or highlighted words.

A Content Agave running in Microsoft Excel “15”

Content Agaves are available in both Word and Excel and integrate directly into your document or spreadsheet, similar to how OLE objects worked back in the '90s. They can default to any width or height and be re-sized as needed.

Example: A third-party interactive charting Agave, tied to the data in the worksheet.

A Contextual Agave running in Microsoft Outlook "15"

Contextual Agaves show up in Outlook items, such as messages and appointments, and appear when the Agaves' conditions are met. They expand vertically as needed in the window where they're activated.

Example: A Bing Maps Agave that displays driving directions to an upcoming meeting location.