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Visual Studio Tools for Office: Using C# with Excel, Word, Outlook, and Infopath (Microsoft .Net Development) [Paperback]

Carter , Lippert
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

8 Sep 2005 0321334884 978-0321334886 1

Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) was released in August of 2003. It

brought the power of .NET to developing Word and Excel applications. While

powerful, it was also lacking in some key features, and difficult to use. VSTO

2005 will be released as part of the Whidbey release. It will be incorporated in

the more advanced versions of Visual Studio .NET 2005, and will also be

available as a stand-alone product. It has corrected many of the major problems

with the first version, and is poised to experience a rapid growth in usage.

Coverage has been expanded to include Outlook and InfoPath in addition to

Word and Excel. This book is not only written by key members of the team

that developed VSTO 2005, but it will also be the first book available on

VSTO. The authors provide both an introduction to VSTO as well as a tutorial

for using it, including lots of practical examples, and a refreshing honesty about

both the strengths and pitfalls of the technology. This book will be a must-have

for all the developers considering VSTO.

Product details

  • Paperback: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (8 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321334884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321334886
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 17.9 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,154,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

"With the application development community so focused on the Smart Client revolution, a book that covers VSTO from A to Z is both important and necessary. This book lives up to big expectations. It is thorough, has tons of example code, and covers Office programming in general terms— topics that can be foreign to the seasoned .NET developer who has focused on ASP.NET applications for years. Congratulations to Eric Lippert and Eric Carter for such a valuable work!"

—Tim Huckaby, CEO, InterKnowlogy, Microsoft regional director

"This book covers all of the ins and outs of programming with Visual Studio Tools for Office in a clear and concise way. Given the authors' exhaustive experiences with this subject, you can't get a more authoritative description of VSTO than this book!"

—Paul Vick, technical lead, Visual Basic .NET, Microsoft Corporation

"Eric and Eric really get it. Professional programmers will love the rich power of Visual Studio and .NET, along with the ability to tap into Office programmability. This book walks you through programming Excel, Word, InfoPath, and Outlook solutions."

—Vernon W. Hui, test lead, Microsoft Corporation

"This book is an in-depth, expert, and definitive guide to programming using Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005. It is a must-have book for anyone doing Office development."

—Siew Moi Khor, programmer/writer, Microsoft Corporation

"We don't buy technical books for light reading; we buy them as a resource for developing a solution. This book is an excellent resource for someone getting started with Smart Client development. For example, it is common to hear a comment along the lines of, 'It is easy to manipulate the Task Pane in Office 2003 using VSTO 2005,' but until you see something like the example at the start of Chapter 15, it is hard to put 'easy' into perspective. This is a thorough book that covers everything from calling Office applications from your application, to building applications that are Smart Documents. It allows the traditional Windows developer to really leverage the power of Office 2003."

—Bill Sheldon, principal engineer, InterKnowlogy, MVP

"Eric Carter and Eric Lippert have been the driving force behind Office development and Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005. The depth of their knowledge and understanding of VSTO and Office is evident in this book. Professional developers architecting enterprise solutions using VSTO 2005 and Office System 2003 now have a new weapon in their technical arsenal."

—Paul Stubbs, program manager, Microsoft Corporation

"This book is both a learning tool and a reference book, with a richness of tables containing object model objects and their properties, methods, and events. I would recommend it to anyone considering doing Office development using the .NET framework; especially people interested in VSTO programming."

—Rufus Littlefield, software design engineer/tester, Microsoft Corporation

Visual Studio Tools for Office is both the first and the definitive book on VSTO 2005 programming, written by the inventors of the technology. VSTO is a set of tools that allow professional developers to use the full power of Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework to put code behind Excel 2003, Word 2003, Outlook 2003, and InfoPath 2003. VSTO provides functionality never before available to the Office developer: data binding and data/view separation, design-time views of Excel and Word documents inside Visual Studio, rich support for Windows Forms controls in a document, the ability to create custom Office task panes, server-side programming support against Office, and much more.

Carter and Lippert cover their subject matter with deft insight into the needs of .NET developers learning VSTO. This book

  • Explains the architecture of Microsoft Office programming and introduces the object models

  • Teaches the three basic patterns of Office solutions: Office automation executables, Office add-ins, and code behind a document

  • Explores the ways of customizing Excel, Word, Outlook, and InfoPath, and plumbs the depths of programming with their events and object models

  • Introduces the VSTO programming model

  • Teaches how to use Windows Forms in VSTO and how to work with the Actions Pane

  • Delves into VSTO data programming and server data scenarios

  • Explores .NET code security and VSTO deployment

Advanced material covers working with XML in Word and Excel, developing COM add-ins for Word and Excel, and creating Outlook add-ins with VSTO.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

About the Author

ERIC CARTER is a lead developer on the Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) team at Microsoft. He helped invent, design, and implement many of the features that are in VSTO today. Previously at Microsoft he worked on Visual Studio for Applications, the Visual Studio Macros IDE, and Visual Basic for Applications for Office 2000 and Office 2003.

ERIC LIPPERT'S primary focus during his nine years at Microsoft has been on improving the lives of developers by designing and implementing useful programming languages and development tools. He has worked on the Windows Scripting family of technologies and, most recently, Visual Studio Tools for Office.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solved installation problems with Outlook 2003 29 Sep 2009
By dosalvo
Can't comment on the book as a whole (hence neutral 3 stars), but without it, it would appear to be almost impossible to create a package that will install as an add-on to Outlook (2003 in our case). Ultimately all information available on the web seems to point to this book. Not easy even then, but we finally succeeded.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of VSTO 4 Oct 2005
By Mohammad Jalloul - Published on Amazon.com
When you see volume that huge (952 pages less the index), you are led into thinking that this is another documentation rehash.

Well, this is not the case here. The book's size is well justified by the fact that they present the material with the least rehash possible and give realistic examples that are mostly usable without any modification or customization at all. Quite impressive, IMHO, is the fact that they take it really seriously and make the extra effort to write samples that properly follow coding conventions and style. It is quite sad and disappointing to still see these days books by self-proclaimed gurus presenting FooBar-ish sample code (due to lack of taste or lack of imagination) without an regard or respect to the readers. Whatever happened to coding style?

Even though the book is written by two Microsofties that have actually worked intimately with VSTO, and that's a clear advantage, they sure utilize that in the finest way possible: almost every page has a code snippet, a diagram, a table, or even a screenshot. The prose is direct to the point and avoids going excessively over material that is already available elsewhere, making this book one of the few huge books that are actually not boring. Heck, you can actually start coding from the first chapter.

Chapeau pas to Eric² for committing to deliver such a professional and comprehensive work.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much value to be found here... 1 Jan 2006
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Part of my 2006 professional goals involve learning more about Microsoft's collaboration software. To that end, I got a review copy of Eric Carter and Eric Lippert's book Visual Studio Tools for Office - Using C# with Excel, Word, Outlook, and InfoPath. Good stuff here...


Part 1 - An Introduction to VSTO: An Introduction to Office Programming; Introduction to Office Solutions

Part 2 - Office Programming in .NET: Programming in Excel; Working with Excel Events; Working with Excel Objects; Programming Word; Working with Word Events; Working with Word Objects; Programming Outlook; Working with Outlook Events; Working with Outlook Objects; Introduction to InfoPath

Part 3 - Office Programming in VSTO: The VSTO Programming Model; Using Windows Forms in VSTO; Working with Action Pane; Working with Smart Tags in VSTO; VSTO Data Programming; Server Data Scenarios; .NET Code Security; Deployment

Part 4 - Advanced Office Programming: Working with XML in Excel; Working with XML in Word; Developing COM Add-Ins for Word and Excel; Creating Outlook Add-Ins with VSTO


The two Erics have put together a very nice volume that shows how the programmability of Office is structured, and then how that object model can be used within the Visual Studio environment using special tools provided for that purpose. While you have to have the latest and greatest Office and VS software to follow along, their writing style is pretty straight-forward, and the reader should be able to pick up on the core concepts to understand the possibilities inherent in the integration. Even if you're not necessarily ready to fire up VS to program Word or Excel, Part 1 and 2 do a great job in showing the object layout of those Office components and how they can be manipulated. If you've never gotten into the code that can be added to a Word or Excel document, those two parts of the book would be worth it alone.

For me, I'm going to gain two benefits from this book. First, the object model information will help me better integrate Office into my Notes/Domino applications. I do some of that now, but the object model for Excel and Word have always been somewhat hazy to me. This book will help clarify those areas. Second, I think that knowing more about InfoPath will be part of my process as I seek to understand more about Microsoft collaboration application development. As a result, having this book should help me tie InfoPath into the Visual Studio environment and get a running start on my education.

Definitely a useful addition to your library if this is an area of interest to you...
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice walkthrough of programming and embedding in Office 7 Oct 2005
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on Amazon.com
This is a solid walkthrough of building C# automation code for Office, and for writing code that integrates into Office. Excel is covered in depth. As are Word, Outlook and the fascinating new Infopath product that is an XML technologies client.

The writing is good. I could have used a few more non-screenshot graphics to illustrate the control flow between applications. But these are nit-picks. This is a solid book on automating and integrating with office using C# and .NET framework.
7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worthless for Word 28 Aug 2006
By Norm Fox - Published on Amazon.com
If you just want to switch from VB to C# and are looking for a good how to reference this is not the book for you especially as it pertains to Microsoft Word. There is a solid description and how to for the range object, but that's about it. Word's Bulleted/Numbered List object, arguably the most convoluted of them all, doesn't even get mentioned and tables are glossed over in barely 2 pages.
4 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst prog book i have EVER read 26 April 2006
By Michael Kerr - Published on Amazon.com
THERE IS NO CODE Download, you get to ALL THE DOCUMENTS YOUR SELF, I have read most of the word portion (that's why I bought the book) If I had written this book I would have created an integrated application. That's what office is all about right? I think this is a great egghead book, but for learning TERRIBLE.

Pass on this, wait for the wrox book; even if it sucks, I am sure it would be better than this. AW would you like me to write a book? I can bang out something more practical in a weekend!

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