Visual Studio’ Tools for Office (VSTO) is a technology that enables you to customize and extend Microsoft Office applications and documents by using the .NET Framework. It also includes tools that you can use to make this customization easier in Visual Studio – for example, a visual designer for office ribbon controls.
VSTO is the latest in a long line of products that Microsoft has released to allow the customization of Office applications. The object model that you use to access Office applications has evolved
over time. If you have used it in the past, then parts of it will be familiar to you. If you have programmed VBA add-ins for Office applications, then you will be well prepared for the techniques discussed in this chapter (and, as you will.see, VSTO is capable of interoperability with VBA). However, the classes that vsro makes available so that you can interact with Office through the Office Primary Interop Assemblies (PIAs) have been extended beyond the Office . object model. For example, the’VSI’Oclasses inclu~e.NET data binding functionality.
Up’ until VisualStudioI2008, VSTO was a separate download that you could obtain if you wanted to develop Office solutions. With Visual Studio 2008, vsro is integrated with the VSIDE. This version of VSTO,which is also known as VSTO 3, includes full support for Office 2007 and has many new features. This includes the ability to interact with Word content controls, the visual ribbon designer mentioned previously, VBA integration, and more.
This chapter does not assume any prior knowledge of VSTO or its predecessors. In this chapter, you learn the following:
- What types of projects you can create with VSTO and what capabilities you can include in these projects.
- Fundamental techniques that apply to all types of.VSTO solutions
- How to build VSTO solutions with a custom UI, VBA interoperability, and Click Once deployment.