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Walkthrough: Embedding Type Information from Microsoft Office Assemblies (C# and Visual Basic)

If you embed type information in an application that references COM objects, you can eliminate the need for a primary interop assembly (PIA). Additionally, the embedded type information enables you to achieve version independence for your application. That is, your program can be written to use types from multiple versions of a COM library without requiring a specific PIA for each version. This is a common scenario for applications that use objects from Microsoft Office libraries. Embedding type information enables the same build of a program to work with different versions of Microsoft Office on different computers without the need to redeploy either the program or the PIA for each version of Microsoft Office.

In this walkthrough, you will perform the following tasks:

  • To publish the application to a computer on which a different version of Microsoft Office is installed.

  • To publish the application to a computer on which a different version of Microsoft Office is installed.

NoteNote

Your computer might show different names or locations for some of the Visual Studio user interface elements in the following instructions. The Visual Studio edition that you have and the settings that you use determine these elements. For more information, see Customizing Development Settings.

This walkthrough requires the following:

  • A computer on which Visual Studio and Microsoft Excel are installed.

  • A second computer on which the .NET Framework 4 and a different version of Excel are installed.

To create an application that works with multiple versions of Microsoft Office

  1. Start Visual Studio on a computer on which Excel is installed.

  2. On the File menu, choose New, Project.

  3. In the New Project dialog box, in the Project Types pane, make sure that Windows is selected. Select Console Application in the Templates pane. In the Name box, enter CreateExcelWorkbook, and then choose the OK button. The new project is created.

  4. If you are using Visual Basic, open the shortcut menu for the CreateExcelWorkbook project and then choose Properties. Choose the References tab. Choose the Add button. If you are using Visual C#, in Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the References folder and then choose Add Reference.

  5. On the .NET tab, choose the most recent version of Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel. For example, Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel 14.0.0.0. Choose the OK button.

  6. In the list of references for the CreateExcelWorkbook project, select the reference for Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel that you added in the previous step. In the Properties window, make sure that the Embed Interop Types property is set to True.

    Note Note

    The application created in this walkthrough runs with different versions of Microsoft Office because of the embedded interop type information. If the Embed Interop Types property is set to False, you must include a PIA for each version of Microsoft Office that the application will run with.

  7. If you are using Visual Basic, open the Module1.vb file. If you are using Visual C#, open the Program.cs file. Replace the code in the file with the following code.

    Imports Excel = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel
    
    Module Module1
    
        Sub Main()
            Dim values = {4, 6, 18, 2, 1, 76, 0, 3, 11}
    
            CreateWorkbook(values, "C:\SampleFolder\SampleWorkbook.xls")
        End Sub 
    
        Sub CreateWorkbook(ByVal values As Integer(), ByVal filePath As String)
            Dim excelApp As Excel.Application = Nothing 
            Dim wkbk As Excel.Workbook
            Dim sheet As Excel.Worksheet
    
            Try 
                ' Start Excel and create a workbook and worksheet.
                excelApp = New Excel.Application
                wkbk = excelApp.Workbooks.Add()
                sheet = CType(wkbk.Sheets.Add(), Excel.Worksheet)
                sheet.Name = "Sample Worksheet" 
    
                ' Write a column of values. 
                ' In the For loop, both the row index and array index start at 1. 
                ' Therefore the value of 4 at array index 0 is not included. 
                For i = 1 To values.Length - 1
                    sheet.Cells(i, 1) = values(i)
                Next 
    
                ' Suppress any alerts and save the file. Create the directory  
                ' if it does not exist. Overwrite the file if it exists.
                excelApp.DisplayAlerts = False 
                Dim folderPath = My.Computer.FileSystem.GetParentPath(filePath)
                If Not My.Computer.FileSystem.DirectoryExists(folderPath) Then
                    My.Computer.FileSystem.CreateDirectory(folderPath)
                End If
                wkbk.SaveAs(filePath)
    	Catch 
    
            Finally
                sheet = Nothing
                wkbk = Nothing 
    
                ' Close Excel.
                excelApp.Quit()
                excelApp = Nothing 
            End Try 
    
        End Sub 
    End Module
    
  8. Save the project.

  9. Press CTRL+F5 to build and run the project. Verify that an Excel workbook has been created at the location specified in the example code: C:\SampleFolder\SampleWorkbook.xls.

To publish the application to a computer on which a different version of Microsoft Office is installed

  1. Open the project created by this walkthrough in Visual Studio.

  2. On the Build menu, choose Publish CreateExcelWorkbook. Follow the steps of the Publish Wizard to create an installable version of the application. For more information, see Publish Wizard (Office Development in Visual Studio).

  3. Install the application on a computer on which the .NET Framework 4 and a different version of Excel are installed.

  4. When the installation is finished, run the installed program.

  5. Verify that an Excel workbook has been created at the location specified in the sample code: C:\SampleFolder\SampleWorkbook.xls.

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