WHAT'S IN THIS CHAPTER?
Exploring the different ways to extend Microsoft Office
Creating a Microsoft Word document customization
Creating a Microsoft Outlook add-in
Launching and debugging an Office application
Packaging and deploying an Office application
Microsoft Office applications have always been extensible via add-ins and various automation techniques. Even Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which was widely known for various limitations in accessing system files, had the capability to write applications that used an instance of an Office application to achieve certain tasks, such as Word's spell-checking feature.
When Visual Studio .NET was released in 2002, Microsoft soon followed with the first release of Visual Studio Tools for Office (known by the abbreviation VSTO, pronounced visto). This initial version of VSTO didn't really produce anything new except for an easier way of creating application projects that would use Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. However, subsequent versions of VSTO quickly evolved and became more powerful, allowing you to build more functional applications that ran on the Office platform.
The latest version of VSTO was shipped as part of Visual Studio 2010. It provides several enhancements over the previous version, including support for Office 2010, expanded support for the Ribbon user interface, and improved packaging and deployment functionality.
This chapter begins with a look at the types of applications ...