How to add UI to Publisher for your macro code

In this post I wanted to cover something simple that might come up handy when trying to add custom controls to Publisher’s UI that can serve as entry points for your macro subroutines. For that, I created a simple macro that adds a new button to the “Objects” toolbar. Then it creates a new toolbar and adds a button there too. The button uses a custom icon and whenever you click it, it runs a macro subroutine that will insert a custom shape.  To be able to do that, we have to code a sub that will modify our UI and create the UI entry points for our functionality, then ensure that this sub runs whenever we open our document:

Sub AddMyEntryPoint()

    Dim objectsCommandBar As commanBar

    Dim myCommandBar As commandBar

    Dim myButton1 As CommandBarButton

    Dim myButton2 As CommandBarButton

    Dim app As Application

    Dim picPicture As IPictureDisp

    Dim picMask As IPictureDisp


    'Find the Objects toolbar

    Set app = Application

    Set objectsCommandBar = app.CommandBars("Objects")

    'Create a new toolbar and dock it to the top

    Set myCommandBar = app.CommandBars.Add("Insert Shape", MsoBarPosition.msoBarTop, False, True)

    'Add a button to the objects command bar

    Set myButton1 = objectsCommandBar.Controls.Add(MsoControlType.msoControlButton, , , , True)

    'Add a buttom to my custom toolbar

    Set myButton2 = myCommandBar.Controls.Add(MsoControlType.msoControlButton, , , , True)


    'Load the pictures we'll use for our button

    Set picPicture = stdole.StdFunctions.LoadPicture("c:\funkyimage.bmp")

    Set picMask = stdole.StdFunctions.LoadPicture("c:\funkymask.bmp")


    myButton1.Picture = picPicture

    myButton1.Mask = picMask

    myButton2.Picture = picPicture

    myButton2.Mask = picMask

    myButton1.OnAction = "DrawMyFunkyShape"

    myButton2.OnAction = "DrawMyFunkyShape"

    myCommandBar.Visible = True

End Sub


The first thing we need to do is to find the toolbar where we want to put our entry point in.  In this case, since I’m inserting a shape, I’ll add my entry point to the “Objects” toolbar:

Set objectsCommandBar = app.CommandBars("Objects")

I also want to add a toolbar of my own to add the button there as well.  We want to name our toolbar “Insert Shape”, dock it to the top,  make it not a menu bar and make it so that it removes itself when the document is closed (by forcing it to be temporary)

    Set myCommandBar = app.CommandBars.Add ("Insert Shape", MsoBarPosition.msoBarTop, False, True)


The next step is to actually add the buttons that we’ll link to our sub. For that we’ll use the default values for most of the parameters except for temporary, which we’ll set to True so that the buttons are removed when we close the file.


    Set myButton1 = objectsCommandBar.Controls.Add(MsoControlType.msoControlButton, , , , True)

    Set myButton2 = myCommandBar.Controls.Add (MsoControlType.msoControlButton, , , , True)



Once we have our buttons, now we need to give them an icon and an action:

For the icons, you want to create 2 bitmaps, each 16 pixels by 16 pixels in size. One of the bitmaps represents the main icon the other one the mask. (So that we can make some of the pixels transparent). In my code I hardcode the paths to the images to my “c:” drive just for sample purposes.


    Set picPicture = stdole.StdFunctions.LoadPicture("c:\funkyimage.bmp")

    Set picMask = stdole.StdFunctions.LoadPicture("c:\funkymask.bmp")


    myButton1.Picture = picPicture

    myButton1.Mask = picMask

    myButton2.Picture = picPicture

    myButton2.Mask = picMask


The OnAction property on the button contains the name of the sub that will be run when the button is clicked.


    myButton1.OnAction = "DrawMyFunkyShape"

    myButton2.OnAction = "DrawMyFunkyShape"

    myCommandBar.Visible = True


Now, we need to ensure that this method runs whenever we open the file. For that, we need to use the Open event in the document.

Private Sub Document_Open()


End Sub


Finally, we need to implement the method that will execute our action. In our example, the method that we are using will insert a custom shape in the middle of the page. The shape is composed of a polyline and some ovals that get grouped to create the final shape. Since the focus of this example is not the actual sub that gets called, but the creation of the UI entry points, I’m not going to go into detail for this subroutine. Here is the code:


Sub DrawMyFunkyShape()


    'Insert our funky shape on the middle of the page

    Dim app As Application

    Dim centerX As Single

    Dim centerY As Single

    Dim shapeHeight As Single

    Dim shapeWidth As Single

    Dim body As shape

    Dim rightEye As shape

    Dim leftEye As shape

    Dim rightEar As shape

    Dim leftEar As shape

    Dim initialX As Single

    Dim initialY As Single

    Dim shapePoints(1 To 11, 1 To 2) As Single

    Dim eyeWidth As Single

    Dim eyeHeight As Single

    Dim earWidth As Single

    Dim earHeight As Single

    eyeWidth = 10

    eyeHeight = 5

    earWidth = 18

    earHeight = 9

    shapeHeight = 100

    shapeWidth = 100

    Set app = Application

    centerX = app.ActiveDocument.ActiveView.ActivePage.Width / 2

    centerY = app.ActiveDocument.ActiveView.ActivePage.Height / 2

    initialX = centerX - shapeWidth / 2

    initialY = centerY - shapeHeight / 2


    'Our funky shape will be a polyline grouped with 4 ovals: 2 for the eyes and 2 for the ears

    shapePoints(1, 1) = initialX

    shapePoints(1, 2) = initialY

    shapePoints(2, 1) = initialX + shapeWidth

    shapePoints(2, 2) = initialY

    shapePoints(3, 1) = initialX + ((shapeWidth / 3) * 2)

    shapePoints(3, 2) = initialY - ((shapeHeight / 3) * 2)

    shapePoints(4, 1) = initialX + shapeWidth

    shapePoints(4, 2) = initialY - (((shapeHeight / 3) * 2) + (shapeHeight / 12))

    shapePoints(5, 1) = initialX + shapeWidth

    shapePoints(5, 2) = initialY - (((shapeHeight / 3) * 2) + ((shapeHeight / 12) * 2))

    shapePoints(6, 1) = initialX + ((shapeWidth / 4) * 3)

    shapePoints(6, 2) = initialY - shapeHeight

    shapePoints(7, 1) = initialX + (shapeWidth / 4)

    shapePoints(7, 2) = initialY - shapeHeight

    shapePoints(8, 1) = initialX

    shapePoints(8, 2) = initialY - (((shapeHeight / 3) * 2) + ((shapeHeight / 12) * 2))

    shapePoints(9, 1) = initialX

    shapePoints(9, 2) = initialY - (((shapeHeight / 3) * 2) + (shapeHeight / 12))

    shapePoints(10, 1) = initialX + (shapeWidth / 3)

    shapePoints(10, 2) = initialY - ((shapeHeight / 3) * 2)

    shapePoints(11, 1) = initialX

    shapePoints(11, 2) = initialY

    'Add the body

    Set body = app.ActiveDocument.ActiveView.ActivePage.Shapes.AddPolyline(shapePoints)

    'Add the eyes and ears

    Set rightEye = app.ActiveDocument.ActiveView.ActivePage.Shapes.AddShape(msoShapeOval, initialX + ((shapeWidth / 3) * 2), initialY - ((shapeHeight / 12) * 10), eyeWidth, eyeHeight)

    Set leftEye = app.ActiveDocument.ActiveView.ActivePage.Shapes.AddShape(msoShapeOval, initialX + (shapeWidth / 3) - eyeWidth, initialY - ((shapeHeight / 12) * 10), eyeWidth, eyeHeight)

    Set rightEar = app.ActiveDocument.ActiveView.ActivePage.Shapes.AddShape(msoShapeOval, initialX + ((shapeWidth / 4) * 3), (initialY - shapeHeight) - (earHeight / 2), earWidth, earHeight)

    Set leftEar = app.ActiveDocument.ActiveView.ActivePage.Shapes.AddShape(msoShapeOval, initialX + (shapeWidth / 4) - earWidth, (initialY - shapeHeight) - (earHeight / 2), earWidth, earHeight)



    'Blue Fill

    body.Fill.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(0, 0, 255)

    rightEar.Fill.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(0, 0, 255)

    leftEar.Fill.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(0, 0, 255)

    'White Fill

    rightEye.Fill.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(255, 255, 255)

    leftEye.Fill.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(255, 255, 255)

    'Select all and group

    body.Select (True)

    rightEar.Select (False)

    leftEar.Select (False)

    rightEye.Select (False)

    leftEye.Select (False)



End Sub


Here is a screenshot of what the final results looks like:

View of custon UI


Then, after you click on the button, we call the sub and our custom shape gets inserted into the document

Funky shape on the page


Hopefully you’ll find this useful when working with macros in Publisher. You can find the publication with the macro and the icons that I’m using from this location.


About the contributor: Miguel Gonzalez-Gongora  is a Software Design Engineer in Test and has worked for Microsoft for 4  years, all of them in the Publisher Test Team. Besides writing macros using Publisher, he is the resident expert in tequila in all its permutations.

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