Ty Anderson

Office Newswire: Is Office dead? Developer news, tips and tricks – 12.9.2011

Christmas is just around the corner. This means if you haven’t bought presents for those you care about most… well, you just might be hosed! It’s practically the middle of the month! Get it done man (or woman… I don’t discriminate)! I’m preaching to myself. I haven’t started. Christmas gifts are next week’s challenge.

Speaking of Christmas gifts, Microsoft is hoping you will purchase a Touch Mouse (I saw an ad for this somewhere and chose to skip sharing the ad and link directly to it). We here at Add-in Express, are hoping you will take care of that Office Developer you know and love (either yourself or someone you really, really, care about). If you are thinking of me, well I want these really cool tennis ball cufflinks even though I don’t have a shirt that requires cufflinks.

So honey, if you read this… I’ll need a fancy shirt to go with the cufflinks.

Okay, I’ve settled in. Let’s get started with this week’s Office Newswire!

Office News : Is Office dead?

Last week I shared news of rumors that Microsoft plans to release an Office version for the iPad. I remain skeptical, but hopeful, they will do it. After all, as Bill Gates often says, Microsoft "is a software company" (search for that quote here). If they are a software company, then they should work to have their software on every platform and device possible. Again… Mr. Ballmer, I have ideas… call me.

So… back to last week and the Office for iPad news. This week we have a funny news item regarding the demise of Office. I shouldn’t editorialize like that. I should let you read it and decide for yourself. But I find this difficult to do because I am opinionated. But don’t let me taint your perspective. Please read these articles and decide for yourself and use the comments section to state your opinion.

  • Microsoft Office, enjoy your retirement :: I give the author an "A+" for a catchy title but a "D" for supporting his premise. He says Office is old and there are some new kids in town that will push Office off users’ desktops. I don’t want to spoil it but my take is the author believes we will all use Twitter to write spreadsheets, documents, and presentations in the very near future. He might be on to something because financial models, contracts, and presentations have gone the way of the dinosaurs. I did say I was opinionated right? I could keep going but I’ll let you read it.
  • Why Microsoft Office is our PC’s Kudzu :: This author receives an "F" for a meaningful title. I had no idea what the title could mean because I had no idea what Kudzu is before this morning (You can call me "uncultured" if you want… I did grow up in the plains of West Texas so you would probably be more correct than I care to admit). He receives an "A+" for making valid and correct points. In fact, the author using the word Kudzu in the article title turns out to be quite brilliant.

Office Developer News

I’m still working with the format for the Newswire but I think this is a section that will appear regularly. The goal here is to point you to interesting developer concepts as they relate to Office and SharePoint.

  • Pull SharePoint 2010 document properties into Word :: Did you know you can easily include data from a SharePoint list into Microsoft Word? Well you can and it doesn’t require any code. And even though it doesn’t’ require code it is still something a developer should know is possible as well as knowing how to pull it off. Users love this stuff as it makes authoring documents and integrating their data easy. You can’t pull this off with Twitter… at least not yet… so read it and include it in the work you do with Office and SharePoint.
  • User control reuse for SharePoint web parts :: This is a not-too-lengthy tutorial that shows you how to build an ASP.NET user control and then share it between an ASP.NET web application and a SharePoint visual web part.
  • jQuery Slideshow in SharePoint 2010 :: This article explains how to implement a fancy pants photo carousel in SharePoint. It’s cool because it digs into combining a SharePoint image library with CSS and jQuery to create an impressive feature.
  • How to handle Outlook item’s Reply event :: Our own Andrei Smolin discusses how to respond to Outlook Item events using our version-independent approach. Anytime Andrei writes an article you should read it. He is an expert in writing safe, efficient code when it comes to working with Office’s COM objects.
  • Customizing the SharePoint Ribbon :: Pieter provides an excellent overview of how to develop a custom SharePoint Ribbon. This article walks you through each step, from beginning to end, of developing the ribbon and deploying it Office 365’s SharePoint Online (I believe the strategies discussed also work with the on-premise version of SharePoint 2010 as well). Pieter provides sample source code if you are too busy to read the article but want to check out the code.

Tips & Tricks That Might Be Useful

This section is for tips & tricks to Office users. These might be useful to you; if not now, then maybe sometime in the future. Or they could have been useful last week if only you knew about it. If the latter case is your situation, all I have to say to you is you should have been reading this week’s Office Newswire… last week!

I’ll try to include this section as often as possible although I make no promises.

  • Excel as a Project Management Tool (Excel):: There is tons of news about app stores these days. All the big guys have them or plan to have them. But despite all the slick marketing stating "there’s an app for that", lots of these apps can be handled by a tool loved by many… Microsoft Excel. This article shows how Excel is up-to-the-task of project management. The first line of the article says something about Microsoft Project. I have used Project on projects big and small and always ended up going back to Excel. I think the first line of this article is just the author towing the Microsoft line. Forget project… Excel rocks the project management!
  • Lorem ipsum, lorem ipsum, lorem ipsum – add it fast! (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook):: This is an old, but relatively unknown, trick. Several Office applications support a function that allows you to quickly insert random text. The functions insert Greek text and are useful when designing a document and need some text and you don’t have anything to say just yet. I believe in the advertising and design world, this is known as "Greeking" the design.
  • Organize your recipe hodgepodge with OneNote cookbook (uh, OneNote) :: The OneNote team announces the release of a new holiday recipe notebook for OneNote. OneNote Holiday RecipesIf you are not using OneNote you should be. Other than Outlook, OneNote is the Office application I use most often. If you are an experienced user of OneNote you don’t need to download this notebook. But… if you are not a heavy user of OneNote, you should download this notebook as it contains a great recipe for S’more’s Pudding Pie. Not only will be just a few steps away from some chocolaty marshmallow goodness… you will also learn a thing or two about OneNote.

I will stop here on this high-note.

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend.


  • XL-Dennis says:

    I think You’re overworked so You’re most welcome to my place over the X-mas weekend. Then we can sit together and wait for Santa to come to us; first on the 24th because that’s my tradition and then on 25th since it’s the tradition for You.

    I have only one requirement; no talk about hardware and software over the weekend.

    Yes, we have lot of snow, dark nights and nearly days too. Great X-mas food and lot of bad stories too.

    Looking forward to meet You when You arrive. Meanwhile take care and sleep well.

    Kind regards,

  • Ty Anderson says:

    My kids and I love the idea of enjoying Santa twice! You are definitely on to something with that idea Dennis.
    With the lack of sunlight, could we maybe find some indoor tennis courts?

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