Ribbons and Task Panes in Office 2007
Two of the major enhancements to Office 2007 are the addition of ribbons and task panes for developers adding on to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other Office applications. Together, they represent a major opportunity for ISVs to leverage the productivity tools many millions of users are familiar with in their products.
If you're fortunate enough to have access to either the Beta 1 or the Beta 1 Technical Refresh builds of Office 2007, you're probably already familiar with the power ribbons and task panes bring. If you've been playing with the pre-release builds of the Visual Studio Tools for Office 2007, you're familiar with the accessibility to these features our forthcoming development tools provide.
All that adds up to an opportunity to provide deep and natural integration with Office and your applications, which in turn provides an opportunity to surf the coming Office/Vista wave. How?
- If you currently export your data to Excel, consider exporting to Excel's OpenXML file format and use a ribbon as the means to make that happen
- If you currently use Word mail merges, consider generating documents in Word's OpenXML file format and use a ribbon as the means to make that happen
- If you currently need to walk users through a multi-stage process or provide handy access to contextual data, consider using a task pane to provide the UI
It's a bit to get your mind around, but I think it's worth the effort.