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  1. #1
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    Upgrading to Office 2010

    Hi all,

    I work for an organisation with approx 800 users and produce documents by the thousands. We currently run MSO2003 (XP), and our MSWord environment is quite extensively customised whereby we have many, many templates and macros.

    I'm looking for some general advice as to putting a plan in place for upgrading to Office2010. It's likely that we are looking to completely overhaul our Word environment, essentially starting from scratch, which is really where I seek advice.

    I am completely baffled as to how best to develop a new environment given that visual basic is still available, however, xml and vsto are now available . Our 2003 Word environment is developed entirely around vba.

    To say I'm confused is an understatement and am making very little headway in my online research. Any pointers, explanations, insights and shared experiences would be most gratefully received.

    Kind regards.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the Lounge!

    Generally, most code written for Word 2003 will work fine in Word 2010. There are certainly exceptions that need to dealt with, but moving to 2010 is no reason to completely abandon the investment you've already made in VBA code (unless you're not happy with your old system, and want to take the opportunity to improve it now). VSTO has been around for 8 or 9 years now, so if you haven't had a compelling reason to use it before, you probably don't need it now either.

    If your Word 2003 environment features toolbar customizations, you'll need to get into customizing the Ribbon to bring similar functionality to 2010.

    There are also a number of new features that you may find helpful to take advantage of, depending on your requirements. But again, including these new features doesn't usually require starting from scratch.

    Did you have outside help developing your 2003 environment, or did you do it yourself? If you're doing the 2010 development yourself, the best information resource I can point you to is Stephanie Krieger's book on Office 2010. That book covers PowerPoint, Excel and Word in detail, as well as a lot of the Office features that are common across them (such as Themes). The book is targeted to people who are customizing Office and creating their own templates, so the perspective is very useful.

    Gary

  3. #3
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    Thanks Gary!

    I think the general consensus is that our old environment has become over-developed in terms of automating processes that, really, users should know how to do manually. There are aspects that we will retain, however, as a necessity. What, can I ask, would be a compelling reason to use VSTO? I'm not averse to using it for development purposes, especially if it will futureproof our environment, or mean we are able to develop more powerful and/or slicker solutions.

    Our 2003 environment was developed in-house - not by me, but inherited by me and maintained/further developed by me for the last, oooooo, 10 years or so! Essentially its history stretches back to Office 95/97 so we are looking upon this as a good opportunity to start from the ground up as it were. I will be doing the bulk of the development along with a colleague who is less experienced is programming with vba. I will certainly look into Stephanie's book, as any insights are more than welcome.

    Thank you very much for your response - I was beginning to despair!

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    Hi again,

    VSTO development can be appropriate for projects that require more automation, not less. An example might be: An automated publishing system that pulls frequently-updated content and images from large databases. Another example: A third-party add-in for Word that you intend to sell commercially.

    Another thing that argues against using VSTO in your case is that you plan to continue to do the development in-house, and are already familiar with VBA. It's very feasible for people who are not full-time programmers, to do VBA development for their firms - VSTO/.NET development, not so much.

    In the past couple of years, Microsoft has made a couple of important re-commitments to VBA:

    1. VBA in Office 2010 is now version 7.0, the first major version upgrade to VBA in about 10 years.
    2. VBA is available again in Office 2011 for Mac (after being missing from the prior couple of versions of Office for Mac).

    Taken together, these two things have made the future of VBA in Office a lot more secure.

    Certainly if your custom development architecture dates back to Office 95/97, it's way overdue to revisit the whole thing from the ground up!
    It's likely that you're automating things that aren't even necessary to do anymore, given all the new features that exist in Word, compared with those old versions.
    The first thing to do is to make sure you know about all of the features that are now available natively in Word 2010. Then review your current architecture and look at what you need to change to make it work right with 2010.

    Gary

  5. #5
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    I recommend that you review What's new in Office 2007 and What's new in Office 2010. That should give you a starting point.

    Joe

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  7. #6
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    Hi Gary! That was exactly the pointer I was looking for really, is it still feasible and even sensible to continue to develop with vba. Thank you so much for that! Now I can really get started safe in the knowledge I'm not stuck in the past or away off on a tangent! Thanks again, have a great day

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