Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
What is Microsoft VSTO?
Using VSTO, Office developers can build solutions such as Add-Ins; Add-Ins are
additional program components that can be added to Office applications by using
VSTO. For example, Microsoft offers a few free add-ins for Office 2007 licensed
users, such as the 2007 Microsoft Office add-in Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS —this
add-in facilitates the saving of a document in PDF or XPS format. You can also
customize existing Office application features, and you can program against existing
options available in the Office application. Let's say you need to save or export all of
the content from Microsoft Office Word 2007 to Microsoft Office Excel 2007 on the
click event of a button placed on the toolbar, or during some action.You can create an
add-in for this kind of activity using VSTO. This is one scenario where you can use a
VSTO add-in for your Office solution development.
Before VSTO, Office developers had to use VBA, VB6, or C++ to create so called
shared COM Add-Ins. All Add-Ins share the same address space, and if one fails,
the host application or all other Add-Ins crash. Unlike VSTO, VBA code is written
directly in the Office application's IDE and is compiled at run-time. All VBA scripts
are stored inside the document for which you were programming. In VSTO, this is
termed a document-level solution , where the solution is specific to the document
for which it is deployed. Similarly, in VSTO, document level add-ins are delivered
within a specific document. For example, let's say that you include functions in a
specific Microsoft Office Word document—the functions are available only when
you open that particular Word document. Document level add-ins are relevant only
to Word and Excel. Document-level customizations are the VSTO version of VBA
macros in Word or Excel.
VSTO introduces a new concept called application-level solutions . With an
application-level solution, the solution is accessible for all documents processed
through that particular application. You can build application-level solutions by
using the application-level add-in for your solution development.
VSTO gives you two fully-supported programming languages in which to build
Microsoft Office solutions that will run in all Microsoft Office applications—C#,
VB.NET, or XML. As a VSTO programmer, you will need to have a basic knowledge
of C# to program Office applications using C#. In this topic, we will assume that you
have a basic knowledge of C# concepts such as classes, namespaces, and methods. In
addition, you should know the basics of XML.
The following MSDN reference link will help you learn about .NET
and C#:
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