Waffles. Little circles and squares of golden deliciousness smothered in maple syrupy goodness. This isn't about those. Recently, we wanted to improve the experience of our new intranet and Office365 by adding a new tile to the Office365 app launcher, which is affectionately known as "the waffle".

TLDR: Show me how to add a tile

What is the Waffle and What Does it Do?

Before explaining how it's done, the terminology (while delicious sounding) can be a stumbling point for folks that aren't familiar with it. It's officially called the Office365 app launcher, but most folks refer to it as "the waffle". In the context of Office365, the waffle is the icon found in the top left of the screen that's used to quickly access the other Office365 applications.

The location of the waffle in Office365

If you're working with Office365 on a smaller screen, the location of the waffle shifts to the right side of the top navigation bar. On mobile devices, it is moved into the menu accessed by the ellipse (...) icon.

The location of the waffle on a smaller screen

When you click on the waffle, it expands to show you tiles in the app launcher. The tiles represent other application in the Office365 suite and custom actions that you can click on to quickly access.

The waffle expanded to show the quick launch application tiles

Add an Item to the App Launcher Waffle

Adding a custom tile to the app launcher is easy, but you'll need administrator access and you'll want to have the tile image created ahead of time.

  1. Sign-in to Office365, for example using https://portal.office.com
  2. Click on the "Admin" tile to access the Office Admin Center (you'll need the appropriate rights to be able to do this).
    The Office Admin Center tile in the app launcher
  3. Expand the "Settings" menu and click on the "Organization profile" item.
    Launching the Office365 organizational profile
  4. Scroll down to the "Add custom tiles for your organization" section of the Organization Profile and click on the "Edit" button to add, edit or delete custom tiles for your organization.
    Click on the Edit button to manage the custom tiles
  5. Fill out the form with the details for the new custom tile and then click the "Save" button. There are four required fields, which are:
  • Tile Name: This is what is shown under the icon in the app launcher.
  • URL: The link to navigate to when the tile is clicked.
  • Description: Extra information that describes what the tile does.
  • Image URL: The path to the icon or image to display on the tile.
    • In my example, I created an icon with MetroStudio with a white foreground and a transparent background. I then uploaded it to my SharePoint tenant and created a view-only link to it.

The custom tiles list showing the new tile.

  1. Once you have saved the details for the new custom tile, you'll see it in the list of all custom tiles for your organization.

The updated list of custom tiles containing our new tile.

  1. It can take some time for the changes to be propagated across your Office365 tenant. Eventually, you'll see your new option in the Waffle under the "New" tab and "All" tabs.

New custom tile in the Office365 app launcher

Pin to Home

Now that you have a shiny new custom tile for launching your app, it would be great to add it to the "Home" app launcher tab, right? I thought so too! Unfortunately, for right now, it's something each user must update themselves. I've checked the PowerShell documents, the Graph API reference and asked a couple of MVPs about it, and the answer's the same.

We ended up documenting the process and providing it to our users, but we really would like to be able to set it globally.