In the previous blog, I discussed reasons for the new Office Ribbon UI, ways to customize the Ribbon, parts of the Ribbon, and gave an example of an XML customization file. In this blog, I'll talk some about callback procedures that give the Ribbon's controls and components functionality.
A callback is a way of telling one procedure, say procA, where to send messages when procA has completed a task. It's just like giving someone a job to do and also giving them a contact number where they can reach you once the job has been completed. Consider the case of the onAction callback procedure for a button. When you click the button, the callback procedure specified for the onAction event is called and executed. When the task has completed, the procedure notifies and passes control back to the Ribbon.
In the example I gave in the previous blog, the Launcher1 button specified an onAction callback procedure named "AdditionalWidgetOptions." When you click the button, the callback procedure, which resides in your document, is called. The procedure performs whatever task it has been given, for example setting text to bold, and then notifies the Ribbon that the task has been completed and returns control back to the Ribbon.
Now lets briefly look at sample code that supports the XML markup. This particular sample is a portion of an add-in class created as managed C# code in Visual Studio but could just as easily be created in Visual Basic, Visual C++, any of the .NET languages, or VBA. The IDTExtensibility2 implementations have been left out in order to make the example less cluttered:
public class Connect : Object, Extensibility.IDTExtensibility2, IRibbonExtensibility
public string GetCustomUI()
StreamReader customUIReader = new System.IO.StreamReader("C:\\Visual Studio Projects\\RibbonXSampleCS\\customUI.xml");
string customUIData = customUIReader.ReadToEnd();
#region Ribbon callbacks
public void ButtonOnAction(IRibbonControl control)
MessageBox.Show("Button clicked: " + control.Id);
public void ToggleButtonOnAction(IRibbonControl control, bool pressed)
public void EditBoxOnChange(IRibbonControl control, string text)
///Do something with 'text' here.
First, the class must implement the Extensibility.IDTExtensibility2 and IRibbonExtensibility interfaces. Anyone who has created add-ins is already familiar with implementing the IDTExtensibility2 interface. The IRibbonExtensibility interface exposes the GetCustomUI method. The GetCustomUI method is the only method defined in the IRibbonExtensibility interface. In this example, it creates an instance of the System.IO.StreamReader that reads a file containing the XML markup. The method stores the XML customization markup in a variable named customUIData. You could also construct a string containing the XML markup or open an embedded resource (a file contained in the project itself) to supply the XML markup. The sample also includes three callback procedures. The first, ButtonOnAction, receives an object representing the button pressed and displays a message showing the id of the control. The next procedure, ToggleButtonOnAction, receives the toggleButton object and a boolean indicating whether the togglebutton was pressed and then displays a message in a dialog box. The third procedure is a stub procedure that is called when the contents of an editBox control changes. An object representing the clicked control is passed in as well as the text in the editBox. You can see that the process is easily understood and easy to implement based on your needs.
In this topic, I've discussed the basic of implementing callbacks to add functionality to the Ribbon UI. In the next topic, I will dive into customizing the Ribbon in Word by adding a button control with a simple callback procedure.