Office Application Development in Visual Studio


I am introducing the overview of Office Solution Development in Visual Studio. When you develop any solution in which you use Office as a front end, you have various Microsoft Office User-interfaces and tools that you are familiar with and are useful. The tools are given below:

  • Word Processing in Microsoft Word
  • Data Analysis in Microsoft Excel
  • E-Mail Management in Microsoft Outlook

The preceding features played an important role in the development of solutions in Visual Studio to switch over Office apps and you have the ability to add special features that are useful for your business. You can create Office solutions using the Office Developer Tools.


There are various types of characteristics of Office Solution Development, these are given below:

  • Project template selection

    There are the following two types of project templates provided by Visual Studio:
    • Document-level customization that is associated with a specific document.
    • Application-level add-ins that are automatically associated.

    The selection of the project templates depends on you. There are two conditions that occur: your solution only runs when any specific document opens and your solution runs when the app is running.

    Document-level Customization

    There is an assembly that exists in this document level customization that is associated with any specific document, any template or any worksheet of Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. The assembly loads only when you open the associated document. There are some limitations for customizing the solution, for example you can not create a new menu or any tab when you open your document. The toolbox in Visual Studio supports the creation of document-level customization.  In Visual Studio, when you customize your document, it is hosted as a design surface and you can drag and drop controls onto the document.

    Application-level Add-Ins

    There is an assembly that exists in this application-level add-ins customization that is associated with an Microsoft Office Application. When your application starts, your add-ins run. You can also load your add-ins while your app is running. In Visual Studio, there are tools that help you to create add-ins. Add-in projects includes automatically generated classes that provide properties and events that you can use to access the object model of the host application. It also helps to run your code when an add-in is loaded and shut down.

  • Microsoft Office Solution Execution on End Users

    During the creation of an Office Solution, there are the following development choices in deployment:
    • Deployment Options

      In Visual Studio, using Office development tools you can use ClickOnce or Windows Installer to deploy solutions. The ClickOnce deployment helps you create self-updating solutions that can be installed and run with minimal user interaction. The second deployment option named Windows Installer enables easy distribution of files to end users.
    • Installing Prerequisites

      You can define some important types of prerequisites for end user computers in the solution using Office development tools in Visual Studio before the end users run the solution. When you deploy your solution using ClickOnce or the Windows Installer, the prerequisites can be installed with your solution.
    • Security

      Security for Office solutions is constrained by some series of checks that the Visual Studio Tools for Office runtime makes when it installs or loads your solution.  


This article describes the overview of Office Development in Visual Studio. There are various types of characteristics defined in Office Development and the various types of project templates that you can use in Visual Studio was described.

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