IN THIS CHAPTER
Creating COM add-ins with Visual Basic 6
Installing and troubleshooting COM add-ins
Comparing COM add-ins and Access add-ins
Office 2000 introduced COM add-ins as a new development tool, an alternative to creating VBA add-ins for Access, Excel, Outlook, and Word. A COM add-in is created as a Dynamic Link Library (DLL) that is registered to work with Office applications. COM add-ins (at least theoretically) can be written to work with multiple Office programs, though realistically, because of the differences in functionality between Access, Word, Outlook, and Excel, only very simple COM add-ins of the "Hello, World!" type can actually be designed to work across multiple Office applications.
If you bought the Developer Edition of Office 2000 (or later, Office XP) you could create COM add-ins in the Access Visual Basic window, using its support for opening and editing VBA projects, although it wasn't easy because of the lack of debugging support. There was no Developer Edition of Office 2003, and there is none for Office 2007, so that option is no longer viable, unless you still have the Developer Edition of Office 2000 or Office XP installed.
Visual Studio Tools for Office lets you create Visual Studio add-ins for some Office components, but unfortunately, even the latest edition, the one that supports Office 2007, still lacks support for creating Access add-ins. See Chapter 16 for a discussion of creating Visual Studio ...