Add-ins for Multiple Office Versions without PIAs

In a previous post, I discussed how you could build an add-in for multiple versions of Office, and explained the problems in this approach (and why it is not officially supported). One of the reasons this is not supported is because you end up building an add-in which has dependencies on a later version of…

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Ribbon and Task Pane in Access Add-ins

In an earlier post, I looked at how you could morph a VSTO project for one application into a project for another application – specifically, how you could build a VSTO add-in for Access. Note that this is explicitly not supported. However, although this was only intended as an investigative exercise, I notice that some…

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Preserving the alpha channel when converting images

Here is a guest post by Eric Faller, Ribbon developer guru and all-round nice guy. It’s a follow-up to my post about converting between the image formats used by Office and the .NET framework.  I’ll be talking about handling the alpha channel (transparency) of the images, mentioned at the end of that post and in the…

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Converting between IPictureDisp and System.Drawing.Image

This is an interesting manifestation of the gap between COM-based native servers, such as the Office client apps, and managed code. There are a number of scenarios where you need to convert image formats between the native COM-based IPictureDisp and the managed System.Drawing.Image class and its derivatives such as Bitmap. One such scenario is in…

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Why is it so hard to shim IRibbonExtensibility?

The COM Shim Wizards are a set of Visual Studio 2005 project wizards that automate the generation of COM shims for non-VSTO managed Office extensions. These shims support COM add-ins, smart tags and real-time data components. The shim for each is broadly similar, although there are obvious differences to allow for the different interfaces that…

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Low-level support for ICustomTaskPaneConsumer, IRibbonExtensibility, FormRegionStartup, etc.

I’m mostly interested in the runtime aspects of VSTO, and less interested in the RAD design-time aspects (however wonderful they are), and in this post I want to explore some of the low-level infrastructure that the VSTO runtime provides. As a developer building add-ins using VSTO, you mostly (and rightly) don’t care how the plumbing…

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Synchronizing Ribbon and Task Pane

The new custom task pane model in Office 2007 is interesting. It certainly opens up a wide range of opportunities for providing a better user experience than the doc-level ISmartDocument-based task pane. It’s also interesting in that it provides some challenges for Word and InfoPath developers – see previous post. The thing that’s most immediately…

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