Allow Multiple Separate Add-ins to Share a Single Ribbon Group/Tab

Allow Multiple Separate Add-ins to Share a Single Ribbon Group/Tab
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 May 13 2022
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There currently isn't a way for grouping multiple add-ins together, meaning you have to have separate tabs and groups for each add-in you create. This ends up with the over population of the ribbon and an awful end user experience if they're using multiple add-ins that could easily be grouped together in their own tab/group if it was possible.

 

If it was possible to have a unique group ID that we could place in the manifest files of each add-in that would check to see if that group already exists, placing it there if it does, or creating the group if not. It would allow for much nicer UX design and be highly beneficial. Whilst also not allowing for other add-ins to accidentally/maliciously take over the tab/group.

 

The XML CustomUI method that exists is a good example of this, allowing for shared groups of custom controls. If this could hook into the same system it would also allow for the co-existence of custom controls with the Agave controls which could also be beneficial if they're commonly used together (As illustrated below).CustomGroup.png

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There is currently a huge gap between Agave and COM-based add-ins.

 

Hybrid add-ins are the way forward to bridge that gap whilst the API set matures in the coming years.

 

As a developer community creating innovative solutions focused on making the most out of Microsoft Office apps, we need to be able to give users the option for a web-based add-in across all endpoints and provide them with the ability to switch to a desktop experience to access a wider set of features. This mirrors the approach taken by Microsoft with the "view in browser / desktop" experience.

 

There are currently three areas which are missing to make hybrid a reality:

 

1. The ability for COM/Agave add-ins to share the ribbon

2. The ability for COM/Agave add-ins to invoke each other

3. The ability for COM/Agave add-ins to talk to each other

 

Note: when I refer to COM, I mean the Common Object Model for Windows and macOS, not the Windows-only COM/VSTO technology.

 

Please please make this happen!