HarperCollins are one of the world’s largest publishing companies and whilst traditionally known for physical print, are increasingly focused on digital products, such as the free dictionary website,  Seeking a way of enhancing how users engage with the website, HarperCollins approached Shaping Cloud about the potential for an Office Task Pane app – a tool based in Microsoft Office applications, drawing on HarperCollins datasets that would allow users to perform tasks with dictionaries, thesauruses and translation without leaving the context of the Office application.

Building the Task Pane

The app needed to offer a clear, concise way to access a subset of functionality that can also be found on the main Collins dictionary site, and embrace Office 365 functionality – by logging into an Office 365 account, users should be able to see how words and phrases relate to their organisations.  This allows them to see use taxonomy and language specific to their organisation and colleagues, to maintain a consistency in communication and to learn how to correctly use words in the context of their organisation.


The app was successfully launched in June 2015 and is available from the Microsoft store. For a more detailed technical description of how we built the app you can read the blog written by it’s main developer here


First published

Millworker William Collins, from Glasgow, sets up a company for printing. Publishes the first dictionary - Greek and English Lexicon.


Words, meanings & phrases

Currently available on and growing all the time



Translations offered by Collins Dictionary and powered by Microsoft Translator