Microsoft Project and Microsoft Excel Integration Architecture
Team Foundation integrates with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project to manage your project and at the same time stay synchronized with the Team Foundation work item database.
The following illustration shows the integration between Team Foundation and Microsoft Project and Microsoft Excel.
Work Item Database
Team Foundation Server contains a work item database where all work items for all team projects are stored. All work item changes from all team members are tracked and stored in this database.
Work Item Add-in
When you install Team Explorer on your computer, a work item add-in is installed that enables Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project to communicate with Team Foundation Server. In Microsoft Project the add-in appears visually as both a Team toolbar, and Team menu. In Microsoft Excel the add-in appears visually as a Team tab. In Microsoft Excel, the add-in displays work items in a list. In Microsoft Project the add-in displays work items as tasks in a project plan.
Publishing and Refreshing
Like Team Explorer, the work item add-in is a client of Team Foundation Server. However, the add-in behaves differently because it enables you to work offline in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project. Team Explorer always requires a network connection to Team Foundation Server.
As you change work items in Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Project, the changes are saved in the local file. To update the Team Foundation Server work item database with your changes, you must publish them. When you publish, the work item add-in connects to Team Foundation Server and submits all your work item changes.
Similarly, if you want to update the local work items to reflect recent changes from the Team Foundation Server work item database, you must refresh the work items. When you refresh the work items, the add-in connects to Team Foundation Server and updates the local work items to reflect current values in the work item database.