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What's New in Office Development

This topic describes some of the new features and capabilities in developing solutions for Microsoft Office 2010 and the 2007 Microsoft Office system by using Visual Studio 2010.

You can use the Microsoft Office developer tools to develop Office solutions for Microsoft Office 2010 as well as the 2007 Microsoft Office system. Visual Studio 2010 includes new project templates for creating solutions that target Microsoft Office 2010. Additionally, you can create solutions for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Office 2010. For more information, see Designing and Creating Office Solutions.

You can use the Ribbon Designer to customize the Ribbon for applications that now support the Ribbon UI in Microsoft Office 2010. These applications include InfoPath 2010, Project 2010, and Visio 2010. You can also use the Ribbon Designer to customize the Ribbon for Explorer windows in Outlook 2010. For more information, see Ribbon Overview.

The following new C# language features help simplify how you write code in Visual C# Office projects:

For more information about using these features in Office projects, see Optional Parameters in Office Solutions.

In Visual Studio 2010, you can develop Office solutions that target the .NET Framework 4 (or the .NET Framework 4 Client Profile). When you target the .NET Framework 4, you can take advantage of the following new features:

  • Deploying solutions without the Office primary interop assemblies (PIAs). When you target the .NET Framework 4, the type information for the PIA types that are used by your solution is embedded into the solution assembly. At run time, the solution uses the embedded type information instead of the PIAs.

  • In Visual C# projects that target the .NET Framework 4, you can use late binding by using the dynamic type. For more information, see Using Type dynamic (C# Programming Guide) and Late Binding in Office Solutions.

For more information about choosing the target .NET Framework for Office solutions, see Designing and Creating Office Solutions.


In most cases, the code that you write in Office projects is the same when you target the .NET Framework 3.5 or the .NET Framework 4. However, some features in Office projects require code changes when you target different versions of the .NET Framework. For more information, see Changes to the Design of Office Projects that Target the .NET Framework 4 and Migrating Office Solutions to the .NET Framework 4.

Microsoft Office 2010 includes the Visual Studio 2010 Tools for Office Runtime components that are required to run Office solutions that target the .NET Framework 3.5. For more information, see Visual Studio Tools for Office Runtime Overview.

You can deploy Office solutions to All Users, instead of installing per user, by using Windows Installer (MSI). Now, Office solutions can be installed once per computer. However, the MSI installer must be run with administrator privileges. For more information, see Publishing an Office Solution by Using Windows Installer.

Customize the solution information that is presented to end users in Add or Remove Programs or Programs and Features. For example, you can change the name of the Office solution to differ from the name of the Visual Studio solution. Also, you can change the add-in load behavior to load on demand, instead of load at startup. For more information, see Publishing Office Solutions by Using ClickOnce.

Combine your document-level and application-level projects and deploy them as a single package. The combined solutions can be installed and uninstalled as a group. These appear as a single entry in the Add/Remove Programs in Windows XP or Programs and Features in Windows Vista.

For example, if your Contoso Software Company develops an Outlook add-in and an Excel worksheet, you can install and uninstall these together as Contoso Office Solutions.

For more information, see Walkthrough: Deploying Multiple Office Solutions in a Single ClickOnce Installer for the .NET Framework 4.

Customize your ClickOnce installation to copy documents or workbooks to the end-user computer, create extra registry keys, or modify a configuration file by using a post-deployment action. These additional actions are completed after the solution is secured with a certificate or ClickOnce trust prompt and then installed onto the end-user computers.

For example, if a Visio template needs to be copied to a specific directory, a post-deployment action can move the file from the installation location to the templates directory.

For more information, see Walkthrough: Copying a Document to the End User Computer after a ClickOnce Installation.