How to: Add an Actions Pane to Word Documents or Excel Workbooks

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

To add an actions pane to a Microsoft Office Word document or a Microsoft Excel workbook, first create a Windows Forms user control. Then, add the user control to the Controls property of the ThisDocument.ActionsPane field (Word) or ThisWorkbook.ActionsPane field (Excel) in your project.

Applies to: The information in this topic applies to document-level projects for Excel and Word. For more information, see Features available by Office application and project type.


Your computer might show different names or locations for some of the Visual Studio user interface elements in the following instructions. The Visual Studio edition that you have and the settings that you use determine these elements. For more information, see Personalize the Visual Studio IDE.

Creating the User Control

The following procedure shows how to create user control in a Word or Excel project. It also adds a button to the user control that writes text to the document or workbook when it is clicked.

To create the user control

  1. Open your Word or Excel document-level project in Visual Studio.

  2. On the Project menu, click Add New Item.

  3. In the Add New Item dialog box, select Actions Pane Control, name it HelloControl, and click Add.


    You can alternatively add a User Control item to your project. The classes generated by the Actions Pane Control and User Control items are functionally equivalent.

  4. From the Windows Forms tab of the Toolbox, drag a Button control onto the control.


    If the control is not visible in the designer, double click HelloControl in Solution Explorer.

  5. Add the code to the Click event handler of the button. The following example shows code for a Microsoft Office Word document.

    private void button1_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
        Globals.ThisDocument.Paragraphs[1].Range.Text = "Hello World!";
  6. In C#, you must add an event handler for the button click. You can place this code in the HelloControl constructor after the call to InitializeComponent.

    For information about how to create event handlers, see How to: Create Event Handlers in Office Projects.

    public HelloControl()
        this.button1.Click += new EventHandler(this.button1_Click);

Add the user control to the actions pane

To show the actions pane, add the user control to the Controls property of the ThisDocument.ActionsPane field (Word) or ThisWorkbook.ActionsPane field (Excel).

To add the user control to the actions pane

  1. Add the following code to the ThisDocument or ThisWorkbook class as a class-level declaration (do not add this code to a method).

    private HelloControl hello = new HelloControl();
  2. Add the following code to the ThisDocument_Startup event handler of the ThisDocument class or the ThisWorkbook_Startup event handler of the ThisWorkbook class.


See also