How to: Attach Managed Code Extensions to Documents (2007 System)

Applies to

The information in this topic applies only to the specified Visual Studio Tools for Office projects and versions of Microsoft Office.

Project type

  • Document-level projects

Microsoft Office version

  • 2007 Microsoft Office system

For more information, see Features Available by Application and Project Type.

You can attach a Visual Studio Tools for Office customization to an existing Microsoft Office Word 2007 document or Microsoft Office Excel 2007 workbook. The document or workbook can be in any file format that is supported by Visual Studio Tools for Office. For more information, see Architecture of Document-Level Customizations.


The customization will fail to load if the code expects controls that the specified document does not have.

To attach a Visual Studio Tools for Office customization to a Word or Excel document, use the AddCustomization method of the ServerDocument class. Because the ServerDocument class is designed to be run on a computer that does not have Microsoft Office installed, you can use this method in solutions that are not based on Visual Studio Tools for Office projects (such as a console or Windows Forms application).

link to video For a related video demonstration, see How Do I: Attach or Detach a VSTO Assembly from a Word Document?.

To attach managed code extensions to a document

  1. Create a new project that does not start Word or Excel, such as a console application or Windows Forms project.

  2. In the new project, add a reference to the following assemblies.

    • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Tools.Applications.ServerDocument.v9.0.dll

    • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Tools.Applications.Runtime.v9.0.dll

  3. Add the following Imports or using statements to the top of your code file.

    using Microsoft.VisualStudio.Tools.Applications;
    using Microsoft.VisualStudio.Tools.Applications.Runtime;
  4. Call the static AddCustomization method.

    The following code example uses the AddCustomization overload. This overload takes the full path of the document and a Uri that specifies the location of the deployment manifest for the customization you want to attach to the document. This example assumes that a Word document named WordDocument1.docx is on the desktop, and that the deployment manifest is located in a folder that is named Publish that is also on the desktop.

    string documentPath = System.Environment.GetFolderPath(
        Environment.SpecialFolder.Desktop) + @"\WordDocument1.docx";
    int runtimeVersion = 0;
        runtimeVersion = ServerDocument.GetCustomizationVersion(documentPath);
        // Make sure that this document does not yet have any Visual Studio Tools  
        // for Office customizations. 
        if (runtimeVersion == 0)
            string deployManifestPath = System.Environment.GetFolderPath(
                Environment.SpecialFolder.Desktop) + @"\Publish\WordDocument1.vsto";
            Uri deploymentManifestUri = new Uri(deployManifestPath);
            ServerDocument.AddCustomization(documentPath, deploymentManifestUri);
            System.Windows.Forms.MessageBox.Show("The document was successfully customized.");
            System.Windows.Forms.MessageBox.Show("The document is already customized.");
    catch (FileNotFoundException)
        System.Windows.Forms.MessageBox.Show("The specified document does not exist.");
    catch (DocumentNotCustomizedException ex)
        System.Windows.Forms.MessageBox.Show("The document could not be customized.\n" +

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