Those of you who have worked with Microsoft Office 2003 or the 2007 Microsoft Office system know that they provide developers with a wide array of features upon which they can build robust business applications. This story improves dramatically between Office 2003 and the 2007 Office System:  New UI elements, the new XML file format, and SharePoint services are just some of the features that developers can leverage in 2007 Microsoft Office system to create feature-rich, highly collaborative solutions for their customers. 

 

As a part of supporting Office development, I’m very pleased to announce the beta release of Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the 2007 Microsoft Office System (Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Second Edition Beta, or VSTO 2005 SE Beta for short), which empowers developers to build applications targeting the 2007 Office system using their existing Visual Studio development skills.

 

This Visual Studio add-in will be fully supported and is available free to all users of Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition or Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005.  Even if you hadn’t already started using Visual Studio with Office, this release gives you a chance to start.  The release of VSTO 2005 SE Beta in synchronization with the 2007 Office system Beta 2 Technical Refresh demonstrates our deep commitment to build tools that will enable developers to harness the benefits of the 2007 Office System platform and create Office-based solutions using the professional development environment of Visual Studio 2005.

 

VSTO 2005 SE Beta enables developers to create scalable, robust line-of-business applications by providing add-in support for the 6 most popular Microsoft Office applications (Outlook, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Visio, InfoPath) and support for key 2007 Office System features.   Key features in this release include runtime support for the new Ribbon UI, custom task panes and InfoPath regions.  It also provides for safe loading and unloading of add-ins in Office 2003 and the 2007 Office System, which was our number one user requested feature. 

 

For more information on the supported scenarios, features included in this release, and how to obtain your free copy of the VSTO 2005 SE Beta, see KD Hallman’s forum post in the VSTO Forum.

 

We’ve got a lot of community feedback on the forums and through the MSDN Connect Site on Visual Studio Tools for Office since it went out.  The inclusion of PowerPoint and Visio in this release was a direct result of the VSTO team’s response to numerous requests from our customers and the developer community.  As always, we greatly appreciate and are very interested in your feedback, so you can provide it on the Microsoft Connect web site.

 

Namaste!