Getting Started With Office Development in Visual Studio 2013 Preview


This article explains Office development in Visual Studio 2013 Preview. In Visual Studio, the Office developer tools helps Office 2013 or Office 2010 to create applications and solutions. Apps target Web Integration and solutions target the .NET Framework. These are deeply integrated with Office Object Model (OOM). Let me divide then into two parts to introduce Office development.

  • Web Integration with Office Apps
  • Solution Integration with Office

Web Integration with Office Apps

If you want to create a visually rich solution that integrates data and web content, you need to create applications for Office. For example, If you want to create an effective sales report in which sales data is associated with a database to manage a customer relationship.

In that context, you need to create an app for Office that is essentially a webpage that appears in an Office app. The JavaScript Object Model is used to access information in the documents that are open in Word, Excel and Project. You can use web-based languages like HTML5, CSS, JavaScript to develop applications for Office. You can also connect with web services using the HTTP and AJAX. The new version of Office 2013 supports various features in which integration with the web is also available. 

Office 2013.jpg

Solution Integration with Office

To create solutions that deeply integrate with Office and utilize the full power of the .NET Framework, customization or add-in is the best feature to develop it. It runs, when any Office application like Word is started. If you use an Add-in or customization, you can create User Interface elements. For example, you can add buttons, tabs in the task pane of your Office documents. The visual designer is used to add controls to create these elements.


To develop the Office development in Visual Studio 2013 Preview, you need to configure your system. There are some prerequisites as in the following before you can use the Microsoft Office development in Visual Studio 2013 Preview:

  • Visual Studio
  • .Net Framework
  • Microsoft Office

Visual Studio

Visual Studio is indispensable for the Office developer tools. There are the following editions in which the Office developer tools are introduced:

  • Visual Studio Premium
  • Visual Studio Professional
  • Visual Studio Ultimate

The Office developer tools are installed by default when you install any Visual Studio edition in the previous list. Office developer tools is an optional component. If you choose "Customize installation of Visual Studio" then specify the Microsoft Office Developer Tools during setup to install it.

.NET Framework

In Visual Studio 2013 Preview, you can use the Office developer tools to create applications that target the .NET Framework 4 or the .NET Framework 4.5.1.

Microsoft Office

Visual Studio 2013 Preview is used to create solutions or applications for Office 2013 or Office 2010. There are the following versions of Office that must be installed locally on the development computer:

  • Any edition of Office 2013 and Office 2010 that include Office Professional Plus for Office 365.
  • Any of the following standalone applications:
    • Excel 2013 or Excel 2010
    • InfoPath 2013 or InfoPath 2010
    • Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2010
    • PowerPoint 2013 or PowerPoint 2010
    • Project 2013 or Project 2010
    • Visio 2013 or Visio 2010
    • Word 2013 or Word 2010  


If you use your Visual Studio 2013 Preview to create applications that target Office 2010 then it won't work. If you are running a version of Office 2010 then you need to upgrade it to Office 2013. The office apps in Visual Studio 2013 Preview are of Office 2013.


When more than one version of Microsoft Office (or various versions of individual apps like Excel 2007, Excel 2010) are installed side-by-side on the development computer, Visual Studio 2013 Preview does not support creating Office applications. Using the Office developer tools in Visual Studio 2013 Preview, you can create Office solutions but it is essential that you must install only Office 2010 or Office 2013 on the development computer.


In the preceding article I introduced the way to use Office development in Visual Studio 2013 Preview and Configuration of your system to develop Office applications in Visual Studio 2013 Preview. I'll describe in future articles Office 2013 application development in Visual Studio 2013 Preview. There are many new features that exist in Office 2013 that are very useful for the development of apps. 

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