Wednesday, November 21, 2007

* VSTO : Extend MS Office using Visual Studio Tools for Office

Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) is a set of Visual Studio plug-ins and project templates which assist in creating add-ins and document level customizations for Office client suite of products like MS Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint etc.


The current version available for Visual Studio 2005 is VSTO 2005 Second Edition (VSTO 2005 SE).

The current version available for Visual Studio 2008 is VSTO 2008 Version 3.0.

With some of the editions of Visual Studio 2005 like Team suite, VSTO comes pre-packaged while for others it can be downloaded freely and installed.

VSTO 2005 is also available as a stand-alone edition of Visual Studio.

The one which comes with VS 2005 needs to be upgraded with VSTO 2005 SE.

Here is how your VS 2005 splash screen will look after VSTO 2005 SE install.


The development of application level add-ins supported by VSTO 2005 SE are :

  • Excel 2003, 2007
  • Outlook 2003, 2007
  • PowerPoint 2003, 2007
  • Visio 2003, 2007
  • Word 2003, 2007
  • InfoPath 2007

Prerequisites on User's Computer where application level add-ins created using VSTO 2005 SE are going to run :

  • Microsoft.NET Framework Version 2.0.
  • Primary Interop Assemblies (PIA) for the version of Office for which add-in has been written : responsible for providing interface between managed and unmanaged world.
  • VSTO 2005 SE Runtime : contains add-ins functionality not part of standard .NET runtime.
  • Office Application for which add-in has been written.


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