Chapter 1. Getting Started with VSTO

In This Chapter

  • Figuring out what you need to get started

  • Picking a version

  • Installing VSTO

  • Building your first Office applications

Visual Studio Tools for Office is exactly what it sounds like it is — a set of tools that is part of Visual Studio and designed to enhance Office. In less politically correct terms, VSTO is Microsoft's answer to those who want to use the more robust .NET to get VBA-like functionality in their Office development.

VSTO has a lot of parts, does a lot of loosely related things, and means different things to different people. For that reason, we talk about what VSTO can do for you before we get into a little code in Chapters 2 and 3. In this chapter, we look at logistics with a tour through versions, options, and languages.

Harnessing the Power of VSTO

Visual Studio Tools for Office isn't a replacement technology for anything currently in the Microsoft pantheon of applications. VSTO doesn't replace Visual Basic for Applications, it doesn't replace scripting Office applications, and it doesn't replace Windows or Web forms.

VSTO is a set of tools that you can use with Visual Studio to supercharge Office. Put simply, VSTO provides tools to build add-ins and Customized Documents for Office applications like Word and Excel. That simplicity hides a wealth of power and functionality.

Talking about add-ins and Customized Documents

Add-ins, like the one in Figure 1-1, are little bits of programs that are managed by Office. You probably use ...

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