Excel Service REST API Ribbon Button

On of my favourite areas of SharePoint BI to demonstrate is the Excel Services REST API. It’s a great way to reuse content and logic embedded inside existing spread sheets but needs to be accessed via a ‘special’ URL. The Office team has got a great blog article on how to construct the required URL to access your Excel assets via the REST API.

However, constructing these URLs requires a little cutting and pasting so I’ve created a SharePoint solution that constructs the required URL for you. When a single XLSX based spread sheet is selected in a document library, a ‘Excel REST’ ribbon button is enabled:


Clicking on the ribbon button displays the URL required to access the select spread sheet via the REST API:


Here’s how the solution is structured:


Firstly there is a Elements file that is used to define a ScriptLink and a ribbon button. The ScriptLink is used to inject the JavaScript library that contains the logic for the ribbon button into the page:


The ribbon button is defined by a second CustomAction in the Elements file and most importantly defines the JavaScript functions to be called to determine if the ribbon button should be enabled (EnabledScript) and what happens when the button is clicked (CommandAction):


The above two functions are contained in the excelRest.js JavaScript library which is deployed to the SharePoint root via a mapped folder:


This JavaScript library contains the functions required to determine if the button should be enabled (based on selected item type) and then builds and displays the REST API URL for the selected item when the ribbon button is clicked:

var _site;
var _web;
var _file;
var _selectedItemType;
var _selectedItemId;

// this function is called when the ribbon button is pressed
function invokeExcelREST() {

    // construct the rest URL for our dialog
    var webUrl = _web.get_serverRelativeUrl();
    if (webUrl == '/') {
        webUrl = '';
    var restUrl = _site.get_url() + webUrl + '/_vti_bin/ExcelRest.aspx' + _file.get_serverRelativeUrl().replace(webUrl, '') + '/Model';
    // build the html content for our dialog
    var htmlContent = document.createElement('div');
    htmlContent.setAttribute('style', 'padding-top:10px; padding-left: 10px');
    var htmlIcon = document.createElement('img');
    htmlIcon.setAttribute('src', '/_layouts/images/icxlsx.png');
    var htmlSpan = document.createElement('span');
    htmlSpan.setAttribute('style', 'padding-left: 10px;');
    var htmlLink = document.createElement('a');
    htmlLink.setAttribute('href', restUrl);
    htmlLink.innerHTML = restUrl;
    // build the options for our dialog
    var options = {
        html: htmlContent,
        autoSize: true,
        title: 'Excel REST URL for ' + _file.get_name(),
        allowMaximize: false,
        showClose: true

    // call our dialog

// this function is used to determine if the ribbon button 
// should be active or not based on the selected document type
function enableExcelREST() {
    // get the collection of selected items
    var items = SP.ListOperation.Selection.getSelectedItems();
    // check that only one item is selected
    if (items.length == 1) {

        // get the first (only) selected item
        var item = items[0];

        // get the listid of selected item
        var listID = SP.ListOperation.Selection.getSelectedList();

        // check to determine if the current execution of this function
        // is due to a RefreshCommandUI call
        if (_selectedItemId == null && _selectedItemType == null) {
            // this is the first execution of this function

            // store the selected item id
            _selectedItemId = item['id'];
            // prepare a CSOM query to get the selected item
            _selectedItemType = null;
            var listGuid = SP.ListOperation.Selection.getSelectedList();
            getStatus(_selectedItemId, listGuid);
        else {
            // this path is called post a RefreshCommandUI that
            // is initiated from a successful CSOM query
            if (_selectedItemType == 'xlsx') {
                // we have an xlsx file type so enable the ribbon button
                _selectedItemId = null;
                _selectedItemType = null;
                return true;
            else {
                // we do not have an xlsx file type so disable the ribbon button
                _selectedItemId = null;
                _selectedItemType = null;
                return false;
    else {
        // more than one item was selected
        return false; // disable the ribbon button

// this function gets called when the CSOM query has completed
function onStatusQuerySucceeded(sender, args) {

    // remember the selected item file type and title
    _selectedItemType = IssueItem.get_item('ows_File_x0020_Type');

    // this causes the enabledScript function to be re-executed
    // but this time we've already set the _selectedItemId so
    // a different logic path will be followed in enableExcelREST

// this function is called is the CSOM query bombs
function onQueryFailed(sender, args) {
    alert('Request failed. ' + args.get_message() + '\n' + args.get_stackTrace());

// this function builds and execute a CSOM query to fetch the selected item
function getStatus(ItemId, listGuid) {
    var clientContext = new SP.ClientContext();
    _site = clientContext.get_site();
     _web = clientContext.get_web();
    var lists = _web.get_lists();
    var list = lists.getById(listGuid);
    this.IssueItem = list.getItemById(ItemId);
    _file = IssueItem.get_file();

    // specify the columns we wish to return
    clientContext.load(IssueItem, 'Title', 'ows_File_x0020_Type');
    // execute the query
    clientContext.executeQueryAsync(onStatusQuerySucceeded, onQueryFailed);

If you want to download the completed solution, it can be found here: http://sdrv.ms/Juvbc1

I hope this helps…

Insert Excel REST chart into Word documents–an alternative approach

The most frequently documented way to embed an Excel chart object into a Word document via the Excel REST API is to insert into the Word document a new Quick Part via the Insert > Quick Parts > Field… > IncludePicture command and ensure the ‘Data not stored with document’ option is ticked. This option ensures that the chart is dynamically refreshed each time the Word document is opened:


However, there is I believe a better way to achieve the same (and arguably a more usable) result in a much more user friendly and demo friendly manner. Rather than use the Insert > Quick Parts > Field… > IncludePicture option, insert the picture from the standard Insert > Picture option:


Here’s the important step – don’t simply click on the Insert button. Instead, from the Insert button drop down, select Insert and Link:


When you do this, your Excel chart is dynamically fetched and inserted into the Word document as you would expect.

But here’s the bonus…

If you use the first method, you need to close and reopen the Word document for the chart to refresh or wait several minutes and then press Ctrl+A, F9 to refresh the embedded chart – in my experience you have to wait 5 to 10 minutes, and sometimes even longer, for the chart to refresh. Consequently it’s usually quicker to close and reopen the Word document.

However, if you use the second method to embed a chart into your Word document, Ctrl+A, F9 updates the chart immediately. Not only does this method make the insertion of charts look more elegant but you can demonstrate dynamic data refreshes without have to shutdown and reopen Word.

Happy demoing….