Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for Mere Mortals: A VBA Developer's Guide to Microsoft Office Development Using Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office

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Overview

Praise for VSTO for Mere Mortals™

"This is the book I wish I'd had when I was first introduced to VSTO and the .NET Framework. It will be invaluable not only to those considering VSTO, but for anyone transitioning from Office VBA to Visual Basic.NET. The wide range of subjects covered provides an entry point for the more in-depth, developer-oriented documentation available on MSDN and elsewhere."

–Cindy Meister, MS Word MVP

" VSTO for Mere Mortals™ does a great job of building a...

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Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for Mere Mortals: A VBA Developer's Guide to Managed Code in Microsoft Office

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Overview

Praise for VSTO for Mere Mortals™

"This is the book I wish I'd had when I was first introduced to VSTO and the .NET Framework. It will be invaluable not only to those considering VSTO, but for anyone transitioning from Office VBA to Visual Basic.NET. The wide range of subjects covered provides an entry point for the more in-depth, developer-oriented documentation available on MSDN and elsewhere."

–Cindy Meister, MS Word MVP

" VSTO for Mere Mortals™ does a great job of building a bridge between the worlds of VBA and VSTO. Kathleen and Paul show how a VBA developer can have the richness of Office and also the power, maintainability, and security of Visual Studio. They succeeded in writing a book that is approachable, understandable, and compelling."

–KD Hallman, General Manager, Microsoft, Developer Division

"This book is an excellent choice for VBA developers looking to make the switch to .NET development for Office using Visual Studio Tools for Office. In many instances VB.NET code is presented alongside equivalent VBA code to help illustrate key conceptual and usage differences."

–Steve Hansen, OfficeZealot.com, author of Mastering Excel 2003 Programming with VBA and coauthor of Mastering Excel 2000 Premium Edition

"Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office is the way to go for building managed Office applications. If you're moving from VBA to managed code, this book shows you the way."

–Ken Getz, Senior Consultant, MCW Technologies, LLC

"This book is highly recommended for VBA developers who are interested in doing Office programming using the rich power of Visual Studio and .NET."

–Mei Liang, Software Design Engineer in Test, Microsoft

"Kathleen McGrath has stuffed VSTO for Mere Mortals™ with in-depth code samples that demonstrate VSTO in an easy-to-understand way. From simple how-to's to advanced functionality, it's all here. I learned a great deal from reading this book."

–Justin Whitney, Technical Journalist

"This book provides an instantly accessible resource for VBA and Office developers to become familiar with the powerful new Office development platform, but even goes beyond that, providing a number of 'worth the purchase of the book' tips, fully functional examples, and elegant methods from someone who has obviously spent a lot of time with these tools to help the mortal on the path to becoming a guru."

–Rory Plaire, Solutions Architect, DigitalCommons LLC

"For the Office VBA developer interested in programming in .NET or the .NET programmer looking to move to the Office platform, this book is worth its weight in gold. If you are looking for a complete, well-written source to quickly get you up to speed to develop and program Office solutions in Visual Studio 2005, I believe this book is a must-have."

–Frank Rice, Programming Writer, Microsoft Office Developer Center

"With this book, VBA developers have access to a great resource that will help them understand essential concepts of managed code and best practices to migrate VBA solutions to Visual Basic 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office. This book goes beyond an introduction to VSTO to introduce the new world of VSTO 2005 SE and the 2007 Microsoft Office system."

–Erika Ehrli Cabral, Site Manager, MSDN Office Developer Center, Microsoft

"Kathleen and Paul have been involved with VSTO in one way or the other from its very beginnings, and it shows. Their depth and breadth of knowledge is reflected in this detailed and authoritative book. I highly recommend it for any professional developer making the transition from VBA to managed code."

–Eric Lippert, Software Design Engineer, Microsoft

VSTO for Mere Mortals™ is for VBA developers who are interested in migrating their skills to the next generation of Office development. Readers will benefit from a straightforward, practical introduction to writing managed code applications for Word 2003, Excel 2003, and Outlook 2003. Readers will also learn how to create add-ins for the most popular applications for Office 2003 and the 2007 Microsoft Office system using VSTO 2005 SE.

The expert authors provide a wealth of code samples that show off popular features of VSTO, such as smart tags and the actions pane. Sample code also shows you how to customize the new UI features of the 2007 Microsoft Office system, including the ribbon, custom task pane, and Outlook forms region.

VBA developers will walk away with

  • A greater understanding of managed code and the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE)
  • Multiple demonstrations on how to create document-level customizations for Word 2003 and Excel 2003, using view controls, data binding, and the actions pane
  • A comprehensive overview of add-in development for Outlook 2003
  • Useful information on securing and deploying solutions created with VSTO and VSTO 2005 SE
  • A thorough explanation on how to migrate VBA solutions to Visual Basic 2005 and VSTO
  • Numerous details on customizing the ribbon, custom task pane, and Outlook form regions by developing VSTO 2005 SE add-ins for the 2007 Microsoft Office system
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321426710
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 1/12/2007
  • Series: For Mere Mortals Series
  • Pages: 689
  • Product dimensions: 6.96 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen McGrath is a programming writer at Microsoft. She has written documentation for Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System (VSTO), Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA), and Visual Basic. Prior to joining Microsoft, she worked as a VBA developer customizing Word applications in the financial printing and legal industries. Kathleen has also created short video demonstrations of the features of VSTO and Visual Basic on her blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/kathleen.

Paul Stubbs works as a program manager with the Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) team at Microsoft. In addition to VSTO, Paul works with the VSTA team developing a new managed code application programmability development tool for InfoPath 2007 and independent software vendors (ISVs). Paul has written for MSDN Magazine and has spoken at such events as TechEd and TechReady. Paul also participates in the developer community on the Microsoft forums and his blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/pstubbs.

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Read an Excerpt

The target audience for Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) is the "professional developer." The term "professional developer" has several meanings, but the most agreed-upon definition we've heard is that it is someone who gets paid to write code. In other words, it's their primary job. It's not the departmental developer: the accountant who writes Excel macros as part of his accounting tasks or the word processing operator who customizes Word to increase her productivity. Instead, it is the .Net developer who might be interested in using Office as a development platform.

Prior to joining Microsoft, we both worked as VBA developers, customizing Office applications, and were very much interested in learning about managed code. We don't think that we are unique in that respect. There are millions of VBA developers today, many of whom are interested in learning about this next generation of Office development. Current books and documentation for VSTO are typically not written with the VBA developer in mind—it's assumed that the developer is familiar with Visual Studio, object-oriented programming, and the .NET Framework. The focus is (understandably) more on the features of VSTO, and how to work with the hefty Office object models.

We wanted to write a book for the VBA developer audience, and while you might not be familiar with .NET programming, this is where you have an advantage. You already are an Office developer who most likely has a lot of experience with manipulating the Office object models, as well as possessing power-user knowledge of the application. We can't think of a better environment to learn about managed code than within the context of something youare already familiar with: Office development.

VSTO brings Office development to the .NET world, and it has both disadvantages and advantages over using VBA. There are some amazing things you can do to customize Word, Excel. and Outlook with relative ease using VSTO (e.g., creating a customized task pane, adding smart tags to a document, and binding objects on a document to a data source). With the VSTO 2005 SE, you can create add-ins for six Office applications, customize the new ribbon UI feature of Microsoft Office 2007, and create application-level custom task panes.

We've had the advantage of working with the folks who designed, coded, tested, and documented VSTO, all of whom we have learned a great deal from. We've had an insider view of VSTO, and we hope to convey that information to you in an understandable and enjoyable manner.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xxi

Preface xxv

Introduction xxvii

Acknowledgments xxxiii

About the Authors xxxv

Part I Introduction to VSTO 1

Chapter 1 Getting Started with VSTO 3

Topics Covered in This Chapter 3

What Is VSTO? 3

Why Use VSTO Instead of VBA? 5

Features of VSTO 7

Creating VSTO Solutions 15

How VSTO Integrates with Visual Studio 22

Summary 25

Review Questions 26

Chapter 2 The Programming Environment 27

Topics Covered in This Chapter 27

Introduction to the Visual Studio IDE 27

Viewing IDE Windows 35

Tools for Writing Code 52

Building and Running Code 61

Debugging Your Code 63

Locating and Using Help 82

Summary 87

Review Questions 88

Chapter 3 Introduction to Managed Code 89

Topics Covered in This Chapter 89

What Is Managed Code? 89

Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming 91

Exploring the .NET Framework 108

VSTO and Managed Code 120

Summary 126

Review Questions 127

Chapter 4 Moving from VBA to VSTO and Visual Basic 2005 129

Topics Covered in This Chapter 129

Moving to Visual Basic 2005 129

New Features of Visual Basic 2005 130

Language Differences of VBA and Visual Basic 2005 140

UserForms Versus Windows Forms 152

Summary 170

Review Questions 170

Part II Word and Excel 171

Chapter 5 Customizing Word and Excel Task Panes 173

Topics Covered in This Chapter 173

What Is a Task Pane? 173

Customizing the Document Actions Task Pane 175

Managing the Actions Pane 177

Designing Actions Pane Solutions 180

Creating Context-Sensitive Solutions 194

Summary 204

Review Questions 205

Chapter 6 Customizing Word with VSTO 207

Topics Covered in This Chapter 207

Programming in Word 207

Word Host Items and Host Controls 218

Data Binding to Host Controls on Documents 233

Programming Against Events 240

Special Enhancements to the Bookmark 265

Making Word Documents Smart 269

Summary 270

Review Questions 271

Chapter 7 Customizing Excel with VSTO 273

Topics Covered in This Chapter 273

Programming in Excel 273

Excel Host Items and Host Controls 285

Data Binding to Host Controls on Worksheets 308

Programming Against Events 320

Making Excel Smarter 348

Summary 349

Review Questions 350

Chapter 8 Controls in Word and Excel 351

Topics Covered in This Chapter 351

About Controls 351

Adding Controls to Toolbars and Menus 352

Using Windows Forms Controls 365

Adding Controls to a Windows Form 378

Adding Controls to the Task Pane 388

Adding Controls to Excel and Word Documents 390

Summary 415

Review Questions 416

Chapter 9 Smart Tags in Word and Excel 417

Topics Covered in This Chapter 417

What Is a Smart Tag? 417

Creating Word and Excel Smart Tags with VSTO 422

Understanding Smart Tag Properties 426

Taking Action on a Smart Tag 428

Introduction to Regular Expressions 436

Overriding Smart Tag Recognizers 446

Summary 455

Review Questions 455

Part III Outlook and Beyond 457

Chapter 10 Creating Add-ins for Outlook with VSTO 459

Topics Covered in This Chapter 459

Application-Level Customizations Using VSTO 459

Outlook Object Model Overview 475

Customizing Menus and Toolbars in Outlook 482

Debugging Add-ins 486

Security in Outlook Add-ins Created with VSTO 492

Summary 496

Review Questions 497

Chapter 11 Security and Deployment 499

Topics Covered in This Chapter 499

VSTO Security Model 499

Deploying Word and Excel Solutions 505

Deploying Outlook Solutions 528

Summary 529

Review Questions 529

Chapter 12 Migrating VBA Solutions to VSTO 531

Topics Covered in This Chapter 531

Migration Overview 531

Migration Strategies 532

Simple Migration of a Word VBA Project 534

Advanced Migration of a Word VBA Project 537

VBA and VSTO Interoperability 547

Summary 553

Review Questions 553

Chapter 13 Advanced Topics in VSTO 555

Topics Covered in This Chapter 555

ServerDocument Overview 555

Attaching and Detaching Document-Based Customizations 556

Reading and Writing the Data Cache 560

Clearing the Data Cache 571

Summary 572

Review Questions 572

Chapter 14 VSTO 2005 SE and the 2007 Microsoft Office System 575

Topics Covered in This Chapter 575

Introduction to VSTO 2005 SE 575

Creating Add-ins 584

Customizing the Ribbon 585

Creating Custom Task Panes 622

Creating a Custom Form Region 638

Summary 650

Review Questions 650

Appendix A Creating Code Snippets 651

Appendix B Creating Inspector CommandBars 657

Index 665

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Preface

The target audience for Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) is the "professional developer." The term "professional developer" has several meanings, but the most agreed-upon definition we've heard is that it is someone who gets paid to write code. In other words, it's their primary job. It's not the departmental developer: the accountant who writes Excel macros as part of his accounting tasks or the word processing operator who customizes Word to increase her productivity. Instead, it is the .Net developer who might be interested in using Office as a development platform.

Prior to joining Microsoft, we both worked as VBA developers, customizing Office applications, and were very much interested in learning about managed code. We don't think that we are unique in that respect. There are millions of VBA developers today, many of whom are interested in learning about this next generation of Office development. Current books and documentation for VSTO are typically not written with the VBA developer in mind—it's assumed that the developer is familiar with Visual Studio, object-oriented programming, and the .NET Framework. The focus is (understandably) more on the features of VSTO, and how to work with the hefty Office object models.

We wanted to write a book for the VBA developer audience, and while you might not be familiar with .NET programming, this is where you have an advantage. You already are an Office developer who most likely has a lot of experience with manipulating the Office object models, as well as possessing power-user knowledge of the application. We can't think of a better environment to learn about managed code than within the context of something you are already familiar with: Office development.

VSTO brings Office development to the .NET world, and it has both disadvantages and advantages over using VBA. There are some amazing things you can do to customize Word, Excel. and Outlook with relative ease using VSTO (e.g., creating a customized task pane, adding smart tags to a document, and binding objects on a document to a data source). With the VSTO 2005 SE, you can create add-ins for six Office applications, customize the new ribbon UI feature of Microsoft Office 2007, and create application-level custom task panes.

We've had the advantage of working with the folks who designed, coded, tested, and documented VSTO, all of whom we have learned a great deal from. We've had an insider view of VSTO, and we hope to convey that information to you in an understandable and enjoyable manner.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2013

    Good information and walk-throughs

    I have Visual Studio 2010 and 2013, so there are some incompatibilities with the source material contained within the book. There are also some code errors in the book. This is actually a good thing as I learned even more by debugging the incompatibilities and the source code. The information presented on the details of the Controls was informative. I recommend the book as the information about the IDE, Integrated Development Environment, was very helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2007

    many new features

    This book is part of the 'For Mere Mortals' series, which sounds like it was created by the publisher to compete with the popular Dummies and Idiots books. However, McGrath's efforts are not a trivial read. What she describes is a considerable effort by Microsoft to migrate the myriad VBA developers towards .NET and Visual Studio 2005 Tools. The emphasis is not on implementing abstractions like object oriented programming. Rather, it uses the reader's background in coding VBA and in MS Word and Excel. Nor are you expected to be proficient in database design or the intricacies of SQL Server. Much of the text is about front end material. Like using the conveniences of the VSTO user interface, with its many widgets and menus, to easily code. Many new features are available, compared to what you previously had under VBA. The most striking example is now the nifty ability to have a data island. Imagine an Excel spreadsheet on one machine. That loads from a database on another. If the first machine is your laptop, and you take it somewhere isolated from the network, what happens to your data? Well, there is now a means of copying that data, while you're still connected, into a data cache on the laptop. Without having to go to the extent of running a full database on the laptop.

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