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Understanding the .NET Office integration

From: Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

Video: Understanding the .NET Office integration

Microsoft Office is the world's dominant corporate application suite. A good portion of the business world uses Microsoft Excel, Outlook, and Word applications. Over the years, Microsoft has incorporated many extensibility features in Office applications. With Office, you can create add-ins, write macros and even access to core features of Office via Visual Basic for Applications, sometimes called VBA. The Visual Studio team is also part of this integration toolset. In version 2003, they published a special copy of Visual Studio, called Visual Studio Tools for Office.

Understanding the .NET Office integration

Microsoft Office is the world's dominant corporate application suite. A good portion of the business world uses Microsoft Excel, Outlook, and Word applications. Over the years, Microsoft has incorporated many extensibility features in Office applications. With Office, you can create add-ins, write macros and even access to core features of Office via Visual Basic for Applications, sometimes called VBA. The Visual Studio team is also part of this integration toolset. In version 2003, they published a special copy of Visual Studio, called Visual Studio Tools for Office.

In Visual Studio 2010, Office integration is built right in. Let me show you some of the types of applications you can build with Visual Studio. I am using my File > New menu, and I am clicking New > Project. I have to choose a language. I can choose either Visual Basic or C#. The underlying programming model for inside Office applications is Visual Basic for Applications. Up until this release of Visual Studio, programming Office applications in C# has been a frustrating experience. The object model in VBA doesn't mesh very well with the C# mechanics.

Now that C$ 4.0 is out, it's much easier to write Office automation applications. For my demos, I'm going to use Visual Basic. So I am going to open up the Visual Basic node and choose Office and then filter it down to only the Office 2010 applications. As you can see, nearly every Office product is represented in here. Some of the Office products have multiple items. For instance, Excel has an add-in, a template, and a workbook. Let's talk about the difference between a workbook and an add-in.

A workbook, when you create an Excel workbook, all of the code that you're going to write is embedded in that one document. If you open that document, you can use the code. If you open any other documents, that code is not available. When you create an add-in, you're creating an application that is independent of any document. Most of the Office applications I've seen have a separate add-in manager, and this allows the user to remove an add-in when it's no longer needed. As you can see, there is an add-in for Excel and one for Outlook, and so on.

Let me just demonstrate what you can do with an Excel Workbook. I am going to click here and then click on OK. Visual Studio asks me if I'd like to create a new document or use an existing document. I am going to use a new document. As you can see, in the designer area of Visual Studio is a copy of Excel. Anything that you can do in Excel you can do inside Visual Studio. I can add text to a cell. I can take that cell and format it. I can apply Bold text.

If I have numbers I can put the numbers in here and then add a auto-sum formula. If I choose to run the application, I can press F5 and debug the application. Here I am pressing F5. Excel is going to launch. And the important thing is I'm now debugging my code that's inside my Excel code behind. Let me show you that code behind. I am going to close Excel and then switch over to this Sheet1.vb. And then I am going to right-click on it and choose View Code.

And as you can see, it's just Visual Basic code with some event procedures here that run when the sheet starts up and other one that runs when the sheet shuts down. I can also work with Word and the other Office products. Let me show you an example of that. I am going to choose New > Project, discard my existing one, scroll down, and pick Word Add-in. Remember, add-ins are independent of any document. Now, of course, I don't have a designer because it's not part of a document.

This is typically added to the Add-in menu in your application. So if I were to run this and go look in the Add-in menu inside Word, I would see by custom add-in. I'll show you an example of that in a later movie. As you see, this movie is just a quick overview of what you can do with Office in Visual Studio. The rest of the movies in this chapter dig into each topic in more detail.

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This video is part of

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Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

86 video lessons · 30496 viewers

Walt Ritscher
Author

 
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 7m 19s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio versions
      3m 51s
    2. Setting up your developer computer
      3m 28s
  3. 58m 2s
    1. Creating a Visual Studio project
      4m 58s
    2. Working with Solution Explorer
      6m 32s
    3. Working with big projects
      3m 53s
    4. Taking a tour of the Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
      8m 36s
    5. Introducing drag-and-drop UI design
      7m 38s
    6. Working with the Properties window
      6m 44s
    7. Looking at Server Explorer
      7m 4s
    8. Exploring the new Help engine
      6m 41s
    9. Setting options for the IDE
      5m 56s
  4. 39m 25s
    1. Creating a simple WPF application
      1m 32s
    2. Building the UI with the editors
      9m 14s
    3. Working with the application code
      3m 37s
    4. Communicating with the web site
      7m 15s
    5. Connecting your data
      8m 4s
    6. Binding to an RSS feed
      5m 4s
    7. Packaging and deploying the application
      4m 39s
  5. 39m 46s
    1. What languages are supported in Visual Studio 2010?
      1m 17s
    2. Exploring basic settings for the Code Editor
      5m 35s
    3. Writing a C# program
      6m 48s
    4. Writing a VB program
      6m 29s
    5. Working with C++
      6m 38s
    6. Working with F Sharp
      6m 9s
    7. Font and color options
      6m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Formatting your code
      6m 43s
    2. Navigating your code
      7m 44s
    3. Using the Task List
      2m 26s
    4. Commenting your code
      2m 45s
    5. Documenting your code
      8m 26s
    6. Using IntelliSense effectively
      7m 0s
    7. Working with code snippets
      6m 25s
    8. Refactoring your code
      5m 15s
    9. Understanding code generation
      2m 10s
    10. Generating code with T4
      6m 29s
    11. Using the Class View, Class Designer, and Class Diagram tools
      5m 51s
    12. Refactoring VB with CodeRush Xpress
      4m 33s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Working with project and item templates
      8m 38s
    2. Creating a console application
      7m 5s
    3. Creating a class library
      6m 26s
    4. Creating a web site with ASP.NET
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a rich internet application with Silverlight
      6m 57s
    6. Creating a classic Windows application with Windows Forms
      10m 31s
    7. Creating a dramatic Windows application with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
      4m 41s
    8. Creating a WCF service
      9m 1s
    9. Using an existing WCF service
      6m 38s
    10. Navigation UI designs with the Document Outline view
      3m 41s
  8. 33m 18s
    1. Creating a data project with SQL Project
      6m 24s
    2. Clarifying the confusion on .NET Data
      3m 31s
    3. Using ADO.NET in your application
      6m 50s
    4. Creating typed datasets
      7m 55s
    5. Using the data binding tools
      8m 38s
  9. 30m 13s
    1. Debugging code
      9m 32s
    2. Working with the Watch and other debug windows
      7m 46s
    3. Other debugging techniques
      6m 50s
    4. IntelliTrace historical debugging in Visual Studio Ultimate
      6m 5s
  10. 17m 56s
    1. Understanding Visual Studio editions and test tools
      2m 22s
    2. Verifying your code with unit tests
      8m 58s
    3. Running performance and load tests
      6m 36s
  11. 34m 5s
    1. Building your application
      4m 19s
    2. Customizing the build process with MSBuild
      6m 36s
    3. Setting assembly information
      2m 12s
    4. Deploying a basic Windows application
      2m 19s
    5. Creating an installer with Visual Studio
      7m 39s
    6. Creating a ClickOnce application
      5m 13s
    7. Setting up IIS for deploy
      2m 9s
    8. Deploying a Silverlight or ASP.NET application
      3m 38s
  12. 14m 0s
    1. Understanding source control
      2m 9s
    2. Setting up Team Foundation Server source control
      3m 5s
    3. Using Team Foundation Server source control
      8m 46s
  13. 17m 31s
    1. Understanding the .NET Office integration
      4m 16s
    2. Making a Word 2010 application
      7m 54s
    3. Making an Excel 2010 add-in
      5m 21s
  14. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding the extensibility model in Visual Studio
      2m 17s
    2. Adding external tools to the Tools menu
      4m 42s
    3. Creating macros
      7m 16s
    4. Using the Extension Manager
      5m 1s
    5. Creating an MEF add-in
      7m 9s
    6. Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX
      5m 9s
  15. 25m 34s
    1. Working with configuration files
      5m 37s
    2. Using the Settings Editor
      7m 30s
    3. Using the Resources Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Localizing your resources
      5m 28s
  16. 1m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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