Creating a Ribbon Add-in for Office Word in NetOffice Visual Studio Express 2008 without VSTO

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Usually, to create an add-in for office, you will need Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) which you will need to buy with Visual Studio Professional Edition which is something like $800. However, there are free alternative which work quite well: NetOffice. NetOffice is a free C# / VB library you can use to create your own ribbon add-ins for Office. In this tutorial we will be doing Word.

1. Install NetOffice

Extract the folder somewhere convenient

2. Create a project

Run NetOffice.DevelopToolbox
Go to VS Project Wizard tab -> Click New project 
Select automatic add-in under project type 
Select VS2008 Express under Environment
Select C# under Language (or VB if you want to use VB instead)
Version 3.5 .NET runtime
Select VS Project folder under project folder
Check off Word
Fill out the description of your add-in
Fill out additional options
Check out I want to customize Ribbon UI
Hit finish

3. Run Project

Open project with C# Visual Studio Express 2008
You should have these files already in:
Compile the project (Press F5)
You should get this error:

4. Run Office Word 2007

And we should have our first add-in working:
If you click any of the buttons, you will get a message box!


  • pablo
    April 19, 2014

    Thank you for this tutorial.
    I got the Office add-in running.

    How Can I build an installer for installing it on other machines?
    Should I use wix for this?
    Another tutorial will be great.

  • MrBrave
    May 9, 2015

    I am also looking for any help regarding installer project.
    I am trying for a week, but haven't got any solution for 32 and 64 bit.

  • Testinge Purposee
    April 12, 2016

    how can you solve the problem shown in step 3?
    can u explain procedure of using netoffice with visual studio for developing outlook addin

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