VSTO & .NET & Excel

January 21, 2010

Visual Studio Tools for Office 2007 – Review

Filed under: .NET & Excel, .NET Books, VSTO & Excel, VSTO Books — Dennis M Wallentin @ 11:54 am

Visual Studio Tools for Office 2007 – VSTO for Excel, Word and Outlook
(Note: The Second Edition)
Eric Carter and Eric Lippert
Target group:
.NET Developers, especially C# developers, that want to develop Office solutions based on VSTO technology.
8 (Out of 10)

Perhaps the most important news in the second edition is that it’s only available with C#  and not with VB.NET as the first editions was. Unfortunately the title no longer includes the language in use which can be very misleading for potential book buyers.

The book’s concept is built around two topics; how to work with each software’s object model and event coding. For obvious reasons it cannot cover all the objects in the softwares. Compared with the first edition the major update is  that it now cover VSTO 3.0 . The chapter about managed COM add-in has now been replaced with a chapter that explicit target VSTO add-ins and the second edition now also cover the Ribbon Visual Designer in VSTO. A complete new chapter has also been added about using the ClickOnce technology for deploying VSTO solutions.

The book covers well what we can do with VSTO but not how we should do it. If we fully understand this then the book will be a good resource for us. When covering several softwares the book cannot covering all details about VSTO for each software. However, it covers the more central parts and it does it well too.

With a page numbers of 1015 the book is thick as a brick and consider the content it should be treated as the “bible” for VSTO. I like the book for several reasons; it’s well written and it covers VSTO well. But again, if we do not know C# then the book will be of little value although it provides all examples in VB.NET (available as download from the book’s site).

Kind regards,



  1. Have they completely dropped VB Dennis or do you think they will bring out the VB version, once some poor sucker has converted all the code?

    Thanks, and hope you’re good

    Comment by Ross — January 21, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

    • Ross,
      My guess is that we will not see any VB.NET based second edition. Why? The first edition was probably selling too bad. Although both authors are employed at MSFT, where the first inhouse language is C# followed by F#, I guess this was not the first reason to drop VB.NET.

      Yeah, we’are good and I hope You also are well.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by Dennis Wallentin — January 21, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

      • I guess time will tell Dennis. All good here thanks!

        Comment by ross — January 26, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  2. Hi Dennis,

    Very nice review… I think I will definitely have to add this to my reading list.

    I have the 2005 version of this book, and it was outstanding, so I’m sure that this book is every bit as good. Thanks for describing the new parts of the for us.

    The language change for this 2nd edition is a bit of a surprise for me. The first edition of the book is done in VB.NET and the authors were explicit in explaining why VB.NET is the superior choice for Microsoft Office development — and it is.

    I guess one could say that the first version of the book was more targeting the previous VBA or VB 6.0 developer who was migrating up to .NET and VSTO. This book, by using C#, I suppose is somewhat more geared towards the C# programmer looking to to do MS Office development.

    Fortunately C# 4.0 should make COM interaction much easier, so perhaps this is what the authors are anticipating.


    Comment by Mike Rosenblum — February 1, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

    • Mike,

      Thanks 🙂

      The 1st edition was actually published for both C# and VB. Now only the VB samples are available for download.

      Yes, I guess more VB users targeting Office will look at C# 4.0. Personally I find the coming version very attractive.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by Dennis Wallentin — February 2, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  3. “The 1st edition was actually published for both C# and VB.”

    Ah, I see… Funny, I own the VB.NET version of that book, and they make a very strong case for why they did the book for VB.NET — stating that this was the natural and best choice for doing MS Office development with .NET.

    I didn’t realize until now that there was a C# version of the same book.

    So the choice this time may have simply come from the publishers. Perhaps they have noticed that their C# titles sell better than the VB.NET versions, so it might not be cost effective to change over the code samples and do a separate printing.

    Fortunately, C# and VB.NET really are very similar. So it should not be too hard for a VB.NET coder to follow along, I would think.

    Keep up the good work Dennis…

    Comment by Mike Rosenblum — February 2, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

    • Mike,

      Yes, I share Your opinion on why the 2nd edition is not available as a VB book.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by Dennis Wallentin — February 3, 2010 @ 2:01 am

  4. Seems the fate of VB.NET will be similar to VB6. Typical Micro$oft. Not surprised at all.

    Comment by aivars — February 10, 2010 @ 5:59 am

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