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Office 2007 supports all the technologies that users and developers have used to extend Office with custom code over the years.

Maybe most importantly, Office 2007 can run macros embedded in existing Office documents and templates. Because Office 2007, like its predecessors, can run code, it is vulnerable to attacks by malicious code, such as macro viruses. However, Microsoft has taken some steps to tighten the suite's defences:

  • Documents saved in Office 2007's default format cannot contain macros.
  • Excel mucm more choosey about code it runs
  • The suite still includes the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming language and development environment for macros, and it still supports the COM APIs (called object models) that enable macros to trigger functions and trap events in applications such as Outlook and Word. VBA will not be ported to 64-bit processors, but 32-bit builds of the suite will include VBA and run on 64-bit processors.

    Backward compatibility for macros is critical because macros are so widely used. Macros save keystrokes by automating frequently used sequences of commands, and developers use macros to integrate Office with enterprise applications—for example, to extract customer data automatically from Outlook e-mails or to look up related information in CRM systems or to generate Excel spreadsheets from data extracted from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

    Office 2007 also supports other existing technologies used to extend Office, including the following:

    • COM add-ins—code libraries that extend Office with new menus and other user interface features
    • Smart Tags—software components that recognize data embedded in Office applications (e.g., customer numbers) and provide users with menus of actions to take (e.g., look up a customer record in a CRM system)
    • Task Panes—windows that appear inside an Office application and present custom forms and other application-specific features, supplementing standard menu choices
    • ActiveX controls—graphical features such as a calendar control for choosing dates that can be embedded in documents.

    However, Office 2007 changes the user interface, security, and other features, and these changes could require tweaking of macros or other customizations in order to migrate them to Office 2007.

    More on this topic in the future….

    Posted on Sunday, June 11, 2006 4:56 AM | Back to top

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