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Smart Tags Overview

Note Required applications

The features in this topic are available only if you have the required applications installed.

For more information, see Features Available by Product Combination.

  • One of these development environments:

    VSTO 2005


    Visual Studio Team System

  • Microsoft Office 2003

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System provides an easy way for you to add smart tags to documents and workbooks. Smart tags are strings of text that have type information attached to them; when a text string that matches the criteria appears in a document, it is recognized and the user is able to perform actions appropriate for that type of string. For example, you could create a smart tag that recognizes stock symbols. When the user types an uppercase string of four letters, a list of stock-related actions, such as looking up a stock price on the Internet, could appear.

Features of Visual Studio Tools for Office Smart Tags

Visual Studio Tools for Office smart tags are designed to be easy and efficient to program in the Visual Studio environment. When you write code for smart tags, you get IntelliSense, integrated Help, and the other features of Visual Studio. All of the code for the smart tags is in one class; you do not have to create a separate actions class and recognizer class.

Project Access

You have access to other objects in your project from smart tags code, including the actions pane. The actions pane enables you to display controls that provide text, pictures, or additional functionality in response to smart tag actions selected by the user. For more information, see Actions Pane Overview.

You have access to a Range object of the document or workbook that includes the recognized text. The range is passed to your event handler as part of the ActionEventArgs. You can use the Range object to manipulate the text.

Document Scope

Visual Studio Tools for Office smart tags are scoped to the document that is part of a specific solution, rather than running in every document that is opened in Microsoft Office Word or Microsoft Office Excel the way Office smart tags do. This means that you can recognize text that might be too general to recognize if the smart tag is applied to multiple kinds of documents; for example, a five-digit number might only represent a product number in an invoice, but it might represent an employee number in a human resources document. If the smart tag only works in the invoice, you do not need to worry that it will incorrectly recognize and assign actions to an employee number.


Visual Studio Tools for Office smart tags are part of the Visual Studio Tools for Office project, so no separate deployment is necessary for them. There is also no need to set security policy specifically for the smart tags; they will run when security is set for the solution.


You do not need to register the smart tags. Visual Studio Tools for Office registers the smart tags for you, creating one registry entry that includes all of the Visual Studio Tools for Office smart tags.

See Also