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Jamie Thomson

This is the blog of Jamie Thomson, a data mangler in London working for Dunnhumby

OneNote API – finally! Now, about that Excel API…

I’m a frequent user of OneNote and so was delighted with today’s news that there is now a public API available so that third party apps and services can put stuff into your OneNote notebooks (an API? welcome to the modern web, OneNote). One of those third party services is ifttt so I’ve set up a few ifttt recipes to dump stuff into OneNote:

All very nice thanks very much.

I do have a few quibbles though (otherwise why would I be writing a blog post, right? Smile ). Firstly, the API only allows you to create pages, it cannot append to existing ones. Second, and more importantly, you can’t choose which workbook section to create the page in. I find this really annoying, take the example of my ifttt recipe above that bungs all my blog posts into OneNote – how much more useful would it be if we could choose which section to put them into? As it stands right now I would have to go and move them all after the event. Still, credit where credit is due, the API exists and I harbour hopes that it will improve over time.

A OneNote API is nice and all but one thing I’ve been craving for years is an API that allows me to insert data into an Excel spreadsheet residing on OneDrive. I’ve written in the past about the Excel Services REST API where I lamented:

Although I haven't demonstrated it here Excel Services' REST API does provide a makeshift way of altering the data by changing the value of specific cells however what it does not allow you to do is add new data into the workbook. Google Docs allows this.
Exploring the Excel Services REST API

Chris Webb (who has joined me in this crusade) raised a forum thread in June 2010 entitled Excel Web App API? where he requested such a thing, nearly four years later and we’re still waiting.

Ifttt allows recipes that trigger every time you tweet, how cool would it this could be used to insert a new row into an Excel spreadsheet on OneDrive for each of my tweets*? Well I would like that anyway and the existence of this new OneNote API rekindles my hope that one day such an API for Excel might exist – please don’t let me wait another 4 years though, Microsoft!


* Before anyone leaves a comment telling me so, I’m already aware that I can use ifttt to insert all my tweets into a Google Docs spreadsheet and indeed I’m already doing so. I’d just prefer it for Excel, that’s all.

Published Monday, March 17, 2014 10:58 PM by jamiet
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Jim said:

It might be in-progress, MS have released a preview of the Office 365 APIs; nothing specific for Excel just yet.

Of course, there is the Javascript programming model for 'Apps for Office' which includes Excel, but that doesn't let you update an arbitrary Excel sheet hosted on Office 365.

March 18, 2014 5:02 AM

bruce m said:

Maybe there is an IFTTT recipe to move data from Google Docs to Excel. J/K :)

March 19, 2014 1:42 PM

Gavin Campbell said:

Not sure if this is on topic or not. What is the purpose of saving all of your tweets in a spreadsheet?

March 27, 2014 3:59 AM

jamiet said:

Offline (from twitter) storage

March 27, 2014 4:35 AM

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