Microsoft Launches Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System

Microsoft Office is the most broadly used client application in the world, used or customized by nearly 3 million developers and over 400 million users. With today’s launch, Microsoft is now providing professional developer customers with the compelling developer tools that they need to take advantage of the power and flexibility of the .NET Framework in their Office-based solutions.

In addition, the Microsoft Office Access 2003 Developer Extensions will be paired with Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System and offered at an upgrade price to users of the previous Office Developer Edition products. The Access Developer Extensions provide the tools and resources developers need to more quickly and easily create, test and deploy sophisticated Microsoft Access solutions.

“Developers wanting to build solutions for Word and Excel will find greater productivity with Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System,” said Eric Rudder, senior vice president of the Servers and Tools group at Microsoft. “The customization opportunities offered by Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System will help businesses achieve faster time to market for their internal and external applications.”

Businesses and developers have long benefited from the ability to use Visual Basic® for Applications (VBA) to customize Microsoft Office applications and integrate them with existing data and systems. While VBA continues to be an important option for Office development, Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System provides significant advances in the areas of language choice and innovation, security, deployment and maintenance, and integrated development environment (IDE).

Developers can now build business solutions that provide the rich power and familiarity of Excel and Word on the desktop; write business logic and data access code in Visual Basic .NET or Visual C#® .NET; integrate with corporate data and Web services; and rely on the deployment, maintenance and security benefits the .NET Framework brings to server-side code. Building Microsoft Office Solutions Inc. is a world leader in delivering software as a service. It offers the award-winning family of products for integrated online sales force automation, customer service and support management, marketing automation, and document and file management to help companies meet the complex challenges of global customer communication. Sforce, the client/service application platform, is completely integrated with Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System, enabling developers to extend and create new customer software-as-service solutions.

“ has been using our sforce platform and Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System to develop Starter Kits that address common business scenarios,” said Peter Gassner, senior vice president and general manager of the sforce Products Division at “The first of these, available today at, is a Microsoft Word-based Proposal Generator that leverages Office 2003 to ease complex document approval processes. The opportunity to use these new tools in conjunction with Visual Basic .NET and Visual C# .NET to extend Microsoft Office 2003 is compelling, and has resulted in greater productivity for our developers and greater value for our customers. We look forward to introducing this and other sample applications to the millions of Microsoft Office 2003 customers.”

Power and Productivity With the Microsoft Office System

The Microsoft Office System can help developers create intelligent business solutions that address today’s demanding business requirements while giving information workers a powerful, familiar user interface. Using Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System developers write business logic and data access code in Visual Basic .NET or Visual C# .NET to enforce business rules, access corporate data and integrate with Web services. The user interface for their applications is the familiar one of Word and Excel. Further, using customer-defined Extensible Markup Language (XML) schemas and XML Web services in Office 2003 Editions, developers can more easily build documents and applications that connect with business processes and data. The results are greater productivity for developers, a shorter learning curve for end users and more powerful solutions for businesses.