Walkthroughs for Customizing Visual Studio By Using VSPackages
There are three ways to customize the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE). You can create add-ins to add features and customizations that are available in the Visual Studio Automation Model, and then distribute them in a compiled form. The tools to create add-ins are included in Visual Studio and do not require the SDK. For more information about add-ins, see Automation and Extensibility for Visual Studio.
The third way to customize Visual Studio is by creating VSPackages. These are the software modules that Visual Studio itself is made of. Feature development in VSPackages is not limited to the Automation Model. Tool windows, editors, services, and project types all are VSPackages. The Visual Studio SDK lets you create your own VSPackages.
The walkthroughs in this section teach how to create VSPackages, give them functionality, integrate them into Visual Studio, and distribute them to other users. For more information about VSPackages and what they can do, see the Inside the Visual Studio SDK.