My Blog

Add-in Express

Not sure if you have heard about it

I first came across “Add-In Express” couple of months ago while answering questions in the MSDN forum and I was always wondering what was it all about. Do I really need it considering the fact that I had all the tools readily available in Visual Studio. So finally one day, I downloaded a copy to see myself what was so unique about it?

Much to my dislike, I realized my mug of coffee had gone cold by the time I moved away from my laptop (And I love my coffee!!!). However at the same time I was pleasantly surprised with the ease I could now build my Add-ins using Add-In Express.

I went back to the site to see if there was something that I had not yet discovered and found a blog post by Pieter van der Westhuizen. As I started reading it, I felt as if he was echoing my thoughts. Especially this part.

You might be thinking:

  • “Why do I need Add-in Express? I get the tools I need for Office development with Visual Studio.”


  • “Yes, you do get the tools needed for Microsoft Office development with Visual Studio, but comparing the two is like comparing driving a nail into a piece of wood with either a hammer or a wrench. With the wrench you’ll eventually get the nail into that piece of wood which will take a lot of time and maybe missing the nail and hitting your finger a few times but it’ll work. Whereas with the hammer, driving the nail into that piece of wood will be quick, although you might still miss and hit your finger.”
How true!

In today’s world, time is really important. As a freelance consultant, I have to work on multiple projects at any given time. And this tool actually made my life much simpler. If you are a serious developer of VSTO add-ins (Be it Excel, Word, Outlook or any other MS-Office App) then I would recommend you to have a look at

I would also like to thank Andrei Smolin (You can also see him selflessly assisting people in the msdn forum) for promptly answering questions that I had about the product. Talk about support! Thanks Andrei.