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Office Ribbon Customisation in Visual Studio 2008


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Author: Hi, I am Daniel Moth Smiley

Introduction: Explore Ribbon customisation. If you are a managed developer (e.g. Windows Forms) then you'll find that you already have the skills for extending Microsoft Office applications with your code. Visual Studio 2008 makes it really easy and that is what I demonstrate in this 20' video. For other resources, start at my blog post here.

Video download: Click on the image to play the video (from a streaming file). If you'd prefer to download the wmv packaged in a zip file, you may do so here.


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  • Hi Daniel,
    I just looked at your interesting Ribbon Designer screencast. But there's one more thing I want to know: By designing ribbon tabs using the Ribbon Designer, how can one use the same Ribbon Tab (and maybe also the same Group) in different add-ins? Up to now I was doing that with Ribbon XML by defining a namespace and a qualified ID ("idQ") for the tab (or the group), but I don't know how to do that by using the Ribbon Designer.
    Thanks and regards
  • Hi Ewald

    Thanks for watching. Sorry, I don't know the answer to your question off the top of my head without investigating.

    For generic VSTO questions, I hope you don't mind posting to the dedicated VSTO forum:

    Good luck!

  • Thanks for the video.

    I am following along...added a ribbon (visual designer)....F5...and get the following error:

    Exception reading manifest from file:///[stuff]/ExcelAddIn1.vsto: the manifest may not be valid or the file could not be opened.

    ...and then the exception text...Deployment manifest is not semantically valid

    ...Deployment manifest requires that you specify a publisher and a product

    Any ideas?

  • Thank you for watching.

    Hmm... Assuming you are trying all this on the RTM of Visual Studio 2008 and you are building at a file location where you have access rights, I'd guess you have a bad installation.

    In fact, I suspect even without a ribbon you cannot F5 the VSTO project. I believe that the errors you are getting are related to ClickOnce which we are not explicilty using in this video.

    Either way, please post this to the VSTO forums where you will get the proper assistance rather than my guesses and suspicions.

    Good luck!
  • You are right. I created a new Office Addin...did nothing...F5...and get the same error. I also repaired my install and I still get the same error. I will take it up elsewhere as you suggested.
  • I am sorry I was right. Remember to try the cool ribbon customisation once you get your installation fixed Smiley
  • Finally got it to work. I believe it was my "very locked down" version of Vista.

    In the last minute of your video, you mention that within the OutlookAddIn, RibbonType, the user can select which outlook inspectors to have the ribbon invoked.

    Since Word, excel and powerpoint are in this list, can I infer that my ribbon - designed here - will be available within word/exce/powerpoint?
  • Glad you got it working. Regarding your additional question, sorry I am not sure what you can infer because I haven't personally tried the scenario you propose. Please post your question to the forums I mentioned further up and let me know if you don't get an answer.

  • good webcast!  Question:  if I use the Ribbon designer then export to XML will I still be able to use the Globals.Ribbons.Ribbon1 reference?
  • Hi jolcrews

    Thanks for watching. Sorry, I don't know the answer to your question off the top of my head without investigating.

    For generic VSTO questions, I hope you don't mind posting to the dedicated VSTO forum:

    Good luck!

  • Hey Daniel,

    Nice video!

    I have a question: Can I use and include "Ribbons" in my MFC applications also!?

    I hope I am not asking too much! Smiley

  • Hey Vicky

    Thanks Smiley

    You can use a Ribbon style UI in MFC if you download the VC++ 2008 Feature Pack.

  • Very helpful video!

    When you change over to using the XML for the ribbon, custom images don't follow along. I understand that has to do with the way the information is stored. I added image information to my XML, but cannot get the icon to show up (I've tried with both a jpg and an ico file). I'm not sure if I need to write a callback or not, and haven't been able to figure out how to associate a callback with the button. Here is my XML. Note that I have tried naming the image with and without file extensions and also tried using a path. The image file is a resource in my project.

    <button id="ConvertToPDF" label="Convert To PDF" image="Icon1" size="large" showImage="true" onAction="ConvertToPDFClick"/>

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.


  • terrics, sorry I don't know. Please post questions to the VSTO forums where you will get the proper assistance.





  • G'day Daniel,

    If I was in the UK I would come and kiss you Big Smile


    I have been tearing my hair out for the last 4 days trying to work out how to add an extra tab in Word and then place some buttons in there to open up our standard word templates. Even thou your video is based on Excel, I was able to work out the Word side of things... After watching your video I was able to do excately what I wanted within 1/2 an hour.


    I do have a question thou, is the add-in you shown in your video user based or computer based? Basically I have created my add-in, how would I distribute the add-in to 100 computers?


    Again thank you so much...




  • Hi Stewy


    Thanks for the sentiment… I think Smiley


    Glad the video was useful. May I suggest that you use the free online forums for VSTO questions please:



    Good luck!




  • How about a video on managing multiple ribbons.  For instance if I were to open one document read only the ribbon would disable certain items versus if I opened a non-readonly document.  Or maybe you can point me to some resources for this?

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