Adding a Ribbon to Visio

Unlike Word 2007 and Powerpoint 2007, Visio 2007 doesn’t have the new Ribbon UI. Using Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Second Edition, we can make our own.

The screenshot below shows a ribbon-like UI. It is a simple Vision anchored window hosting a winforms control whose primary element is a tab control.

I started with one of the VB examples in the Visio 2007 SDK and converted it to C# and then, in a few days had this working:



It’s hardly attractive, but it gets the job done.

The purpose

As a firm believer in dogfood, I insist the team I manage use Visio whenever possible if a diagram or illustration needs to be created. Some of their struggles were that Visio simply doesn’t behave like graphics apps to which they are accustomed and it was unclear where to find the features they needed. Upon the recent release of VSTO 2005 SE, I took it as an opportunity to learn more about Office Add-ins and help address the feedback they had.


  • When this prototype is a bit more polished I may publish the code.
  • Soon I plan to give visio an interactive command-line interface.

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