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RibbonX: Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon by Teresa Hennig, Ken Puls, Robert Martin

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Chapter 11. Using Controls and Attributes to Help Your Users

One of the things developers often overlook when building programs is ease of use. Indeed, this is one aspect of development that the Ribbon was designed to fix. Even so, it is still the developer's responsibility to ensure that needed controls are logically placed, have meaningful labels, and are easily understood by the user. Despite our best efforts, sometimes even we developers are unable to make things completely intuitive — and that is where providing help to your users comes in.

In this chapter you'll learn techniques for providing custom help and tips to users, when and where they need it most. We'll examine one control and three attributes, and show you how to give a face-lift to existing controls. When used together, these can effectively become the first level of help for users.

We start by looking at the dialogBoxLauncher control, which is used to display custom userforms or built-in dialogs. While the main purpose of this control is to enable the user to choose from a wide array of options, it can also be used to provide informational forms. This chapter describes both uses for this control.

Following the dialogBoxLauncher, three specific attributes are explored: keytip, screentip, and supertip. Each of these attributes can be used in its own special way to make the Ribbon more accessible, easier to navigate, and more logical to follow.

Finally, we demonstrate how to replace some of the attributes of built-in ...

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