Andrew Whitechapel

Shiny things that caught my eye

  • Andrew Whitechapel

    VSTO Add-ins, COMAddIns and RequestComAddInAutomationService

    • 73 Comments
    The COMAddIns property is a collection of COMAddIn objects exposed by Office applications that support COM add-ins. The COMAddIn interface defines a small number of methods/properties, such as the ProgId of the add-in and the Connect state. It also defines...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    COM Shim Wizards v2

    • 6 Comments
    Today we release v2 of the COM Shim Wizards. These are updated versions of the wizards we released in 2004 for Visual Studio 2003. The new wizards work with Visual Studio 2005. There's a covering article here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Creating a PivotTable Programmatically

    • 59 Comments
    I received an email from a customer the other day asking how to set up an Excel pivot table programmatically. The Excel OM exposes a number of objects and methods that you can use to create pivot tables, some more sophisticated than others. I wanted the...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Building an Excel XLL in C/C++ with VS 2008

    • 49 Comments
    As part of a little investigation I'm doing at present, I needed to build some simple native XLLs for testing purposes. This was the first time I had a need to build XLLs since the Excel XLL SDK was updated back in September. The updated Excel 2007 XLL...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Can you build one add-in for multiple versions of Office?

    • 31 Comments
    This of course is the advantage of using the old "shared add-in" project types – you can build one add-in that targets all versions of all Office apps that support COM add-ins (ie, 2000 onwards). The question is, can you do something similar with VSTO...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Converting between IPictureDisp and System.Drawing.Image

    • 5 Comments
    This is an interesting manifestation of the gap between COM-based native servers, such as the Office client apps, and managed code. There are a number of scenarios where you need to convert image formats between the native COM-based IPictureDisp and the...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Launching Office Apps Programmatically

    • 3 Comments
    There are at least 9 different ways to start or connect to an Office app programmatically in managed code, as summarized in this table: PIA Interop Using the Office PIAs is the most RAD approach, with the greatest level of design...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Silverlight Web Part in SharePoint

    • 1 Comments
    Having looked at Silverlight in Office client , I thought I’d round out the exercise by looking at Silverlight in Office server . It turns out that lots of people have looked at this before, and I relied heavily on information from several other people...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Implementing IMessageFilter in an Office add-in

    • 13 Comments
    First a warning: this is an advanced scenario, and you should not attempt to use this technique unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing. The reason for this warning is that while the technique described here is pretty simple, it’s also easy to get...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    VSTO Loader and Runtime Components

    • 42 Comments
    Perusing the forums over the last few months, it’s clear that there’s some confusion about the various VSTO loader and runtime components. At the time of writing, there are 4 versions of VSTO in existence, including 4 sets of design-time tooling and 3...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Excel Services Setup and Getting Started

    • 6 Comments
    As part of an internal prototype I was working on recently, I had to set up a machine for Excel Services – and do this repeatedly as my prototype messed up the installation in various ways. I found lots of MSDN documentation that covered all aspects of...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    VSTO/VSTA Power Tools v1.0

    • 33 Comments
    As I announced at the Office Developers Conference in San Jose this week, we’re releasing a set of power tools that complement the developer’s experience when building Office-based or VSTA-based solutions. These tools are freely downloadable here . We...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Excel Interop Types in Shimmed Automation Add-ins

    • 6 Comments
    In my previous posts on shimming Excel automation add-in UDFs, I've used simple examples where the methods tended to take and return standard types such as doubles and ints. Someone asked a question recently - what about Excel types as parameters? In...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Why is VS development not supported with multiple versions of Office?

    • 27 Comments
    First, the Office client apps are COM-based. Normal COM activation relies on the registry. COM registration is a "last one wins" model. That is, you can have multiple versions of a COM server, object, interface or type library on a machine at the same...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    VSTO Add-ins for Access?

    • 34 Comments
    In my previous post , I looked at how the VSTO add-in model is flexible enough to be used in prototyping scenarios for versions of Office not yet released. In principle, the same applies to Office host applications that are not currently supported. ...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Why your COMAddIn.Object should derive from StandardOleMarshalObject

    • 14 Comments
    In general, it is important that any code in a managed Office add-in should execute on the main UI thread. The reason for this is that there are several components that simply will not work when executed from any other but the main UI thread – examples...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Interaction Between Loaded Add-ins

    • 0 Comments
    Can you talk across add-ins? With the old IDTExtensibility2 model? With the new VSTO model? COM Add-ins can be accessed (from any code that can talk to the host application’s OM ) via the COMAddins collection property on the host Application object...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Synchronizing Ribbon and Task Pane

    • 7 Comments
    The new custom task pane model in Office 2007 is interesting. It certainly opens up a wide range of opportunities for providing a better user experience than the doc-level ISmartDocument-based task pane. It’s also interesting in that it provides some...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    The Anomalous Behavior of Custom Task Panes in Word and InfoPath

    • 3 Comments
    Try this: create an add-in for Excel/Outlook/PowerPoint/Access with a custom task pane. Run the solution, see the custom task pane. Open another Excel workbook, see the custom task pane. Now, create an add-in for Word or InfoPath with a custom task pane...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Add-ins for Multiple Office Versions without PIAs

    • 10 Comments
    In a previous post , I discussed how you could build an add-in for multiple versions of Office, and explained the problems in this approach (and why it is not officially supported). One of the reasons this is not supported is because you end up building...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    The Evolution of VSTO ‘v3’

    • 3 Comments
    We have two main reasons for releasing early builds of VSTO v3. The first is to unblock developers so that they can get started building solutions against Office 2007, ready for when it releases. The second is to get feedback on our designs and the early...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Custom Task Panes: Doc-Level and App-Level

    • 4 Comments
    With VSTO 2005, you can build doc-level custom task panes (although we called them ActionsPanes). Our doc-level task panes were built on the old ISmartDocument technology – effectively, VSTO offered a streamlined RAD mechanism for building smart doc solutions...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Preserving the alpha channel when converting images

    • 10 Comments
    Here is a guest post by Eric Faller, Ribbon developer guru and all-round nice guy. It's a follow-up to my post about converting between the image formats used by Office and the .NET framework. I’ll be talking about handling the alpha channel (transparency...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Delay-loading the CLR in Office Add-ins

    • 11 Comments
    Suppose you control your enterprise desktops to the extent that you control which add-ins are installed. Suppose, further, that you want to avoid the hit of loading the CLR at application startup. One way is to delay-load your managed add-ins. The registered...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Back To The Future

    • 6 Comments
    Or, Prototyping VSTO Add-ins for Unsupported Office Versions/Applications It is in the nature of the VSTO 2005 SE and VSTO 2008 add-ins that they will run in multiple versions of Office. One of the main reasons for designing them this way is to mitigate...
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