This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

Visual Studio Add-ins vs. Shared Add-ins

There are two different Add-in project types: Visual Studio and Shared.

A Visual Studio add-in can be loaded into both Visual Studio and the Visual Studio Macros IDE. Conversely, a Shared add-in can be loaded only into Microsoft Office applications such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Visio, and Microsoft Excel. Also, each type offers a different set of options. For example, the Visual Studio Add-in Wizard allows you to:

  • Create a command bar user interface (UI) for your add-in,

  • Define when the add-in loads, and

  • Insert information into the Visual Studio Help About box.

The Shared Add-in Wizard only allows you to:

  • Specify whether the add-in loads when the host application (that is, the Office application) loads, and

  • Specify whether the add-in is available to all users of the computer or only the person who installed it.

In short, create Shared add-ins for use in Office applications, and create Visual Studio add-ins for use in Visual Studio.