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How to: Create Smart Tags With Custom Recognizers in Excel and .NET Framework 4

How to: Create Smart Tags With Custom Recognizers in Excel and .NET Framework 4

Visual Studio 2010

In Excel projects that target the .NET Framework 4, you can control how Word recognizes smart tags in documents by implementing the ISmartTagExtension interface.

To run a smart tag, end users must have smart tags enabled in Word or Excel. For more information, see How to: Enable Smart Tags in Word and Excel.

Applies to: The information in this topic applies to document-level projects and application-level projects for Excel 2007. For more information, see Features Available by Office Application and Project Type.

To add a smart tag with a custom recognizer to an Excel workbook

  1. Create a document-level or application-level project for Excel 2007. For more information, see How to: Create Office Projects in Visual Studio.

  2. Add a reference to the Microsoft.Office.Interop.SmartTag assembly (version from the .NET tab of the Add Reference dialog box.

  3. Add a class file to the project and create a class that implements the ISmartTagExtension interface.

  4. In the new class, create a SmartTag object that represents the smart tag, and create one or more Action objects that represent the smart tag actions. Use the Globals.Factory.CreateSmartTag and Globals.Factory.CreateAction methods to create these objects.

  5. Implement the Recognize method, and write your own custom recognizing behavior. Your implementation must call the PersistTag method of the context parameter to make Excel recognize the smart tag.

  6. Implement the ExtensionBase property to return the SmartTag object.

  7. Create event handlers to respond to the Click event, and optionally the BeforeCaptionShow event, of the actions that you created.

  8. In the code file for the project workbook, add the smart tag instance to the VstoSmartTags property of the ThisWorkbook class (for a document-level project), or the VstoSmartTags property of the ThisAddIn class (for an application-level project).

The following code example shows how to create a custom smart tag in an Excel workbook. The example implements the Recognize method to recognize the terms sales and organization in a worksheet cell. The Recognize method adds a key and value pair to the collection of keyed properties for the smart tag. The method then calls the PersistTag method to recognize the smart tag and save the new smart tag property. To test the example, type the words sales and organization in different cells in the workbook, and then try the smart tag actions. One action displays the corresponding property value for the recognized term, and the other action displays the smart tag namespace and caption.

Imports System
Imports System.Windows.Forms
Imports Microsoft.Office.Interop.SmartTag
Imports Microsoft.Office.Tools.Excel

Public Class CustomSmartTag
    Implements ISmartTagExtension

    ' Declare the smart tag.
    Private smartTagDemo As Microsoft.Office.Tools.Excel.SmartTag

    ' Declare actions for this smart tag.
    WithEvents Action1 As Microsoft.Office.Tools.Excel.Action
    WithEvents Action2 As Microsoft.Office.Tools.Excel.Action

    Public Sub New()
        Me.smartTagDemo = Globals.Factory.CreateSmartTag(
            "http://www.contoso.com/Demo#DemoSmartTag", "Custom Smart Tag", Me)

        Action1 = Globals.Factory.CreateAction("Display property value")
        Action2 = Globals.Factory.CreateAction("Display smart tag details")

        smartTagDemo.Terms.AddRange(New String() {"sales", "organization"})
        smartTagDemo.Actions = New Microsoft.Office.Tools.Excel.Action() {Action1, Action2}
    End Sub

    Private Sub Recognize(ByVal text As String, 
        ByVal site As ISmartTagRecognizerSite, ByVal tokenList As ISmartTagTokenList, 
        ByVal context As SmartTagRecognizeContext) Implements ISmartTagExtension.Recognize

        ' Determine whether each smart tag term exists in the document text.
        Dim Term As String
        For Each Term In smartTagDemo.Terms

            ' Search the cell text for the first instance of 
            ' the current smart tag term.
            Dim index As Integer = context.CellText.IndexOf(Term, 0)

            If (index >= 0) Then

                ' Create a smart tag token and a property bag for the 
                ' recognized term.
                Dim propertyBag As ISmartTagProperties = site.GetNewPropertyBag()

                ' Write a new property value.
                Dim key As String = "Key1"
                propertyBag.Write(key, DateTime.Now)

                ' Attach the smart tag to the term in the document.

                ' This implementation only finds the first instance
                ' of a smart tag term in the cell. 
                Exit For
            End If
    End Sub

    ' This action displays the property value for the term.
    Private Sub Action1_Click(ByVal sender As Object,
        ByVal e As Microsoft.Office.Tools.Excel.ActionEventArgs) Handles Action1.Click

        Dim propertyBag As ISmartTagProperties = e.Properties
        Dim key As String = "Key1"
        MessageBox.Show("The corresponding value of " & key & " is: " &
    End Sub

    ' This action displays smart tag details.
    Private Sub Action2_Click(ByVal sender As Object,
        ByVal e As Microsoft.Office.Tools.Excel.ActionEventArgs) Handles Action2.Click
        MessageBox.Show("The current smart tag caption is '" &
        smartTagDemo.Caption & "'. The current smart tag type is '" &
        smartTagDemo.SmartTagType & "'.")
    End Sub

    Public ReadOnly Property Base() As Microsoft.Office.Tools.Excel.SmartTag
            Return smartTagDemo
        End Get
    End Property

    Public ReadOnly Property ExtensionBase() As Object Implements ISmartTagExtension.ExtensionBase
            Return smartTagDemo
        End Get
    End Property
End Class

  • Add a reference in the project to Microsoft Smart Tags 2.0 Type Library from the COM tab of the Add Reference dialog box. Ensure that the Copy Local property of the reference is false. If it is true, the reference is not to the correct primary interop assembly and you must install the assembly from the Microsoft Office installation media. For more information, see How to: Install Office Primary Interop Assemblies.

  • Place the example code in a new class file named CustomSmartTag.

  • In C#, change the namespace to match the project name.

  • Add Imports (in Visual Basic) or using (in C#) statements for the Microsoft.Office.Tools.Excel and Microsoft.Office.Interop.SmartTag namespaces at the top of the class file.

  • Add the following code to the ThisWorkbook_Startup or ThisAddIn_Startup event handler in your project. This code adds the custom smart tag to the workbook.

    Me.VstoSmartTags.Add(New CustomSmartTag().Base)

    this.VstoSmartTags.Add(new CustomSmartTag().Base);

You must enable smart tags in Excel. By default, they are not enabled. For more information, see How to: Enable Smart Tags in Word and Excel.

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