This month I have an article on DevProConnections:

Taking Advantage of LINQ and XML in Microsoft Office 2007

In this article, I talk about how a lot of applications that need to take advantage of Microsoft Office can do so without going through COM. Many programs that need to process documents often require manipulation of the file formats directly and doing that through the Office component object model won’t scale very well. It also requires that Microsoft Office be installed to run. A better route in a lot of these cases is to use the Open XML SDK. With the release of Office 2007, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations are based on an open standard for packaging XML files called Open XML. Using Visual Basic’s powerful and simple implementation of LINQ to XML you can work with these new document formats much easier than ever before.

I show a couple practical examples of reading data from Word documents and updating a database as well as reading data from a database to create Word documents – all without COM. No Office applications need to be installed in order to read and write to these formats directly. 

This article is based on the two episodes I did on DnrTV:

[UPDATE: Here's code samples (also includes a presentation pptx)]

More resources: