Mathias Brandewinder on .NET, F#, VSTO and Excel development, and quantitative analysis / machine learning.
by Mathias 12. October 2009 10:54

I just found a solution to an issue which has been bothering me for a while. The reference article by Microsoft which describes how to deploy a Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office solution using Windows Installer (a life-saver) doesn’t say anything about how to grant trust to multiple assemblies. This is a problem if you want to use satellite dlls in your add-in.

I figured out a workaround a while back, but I wasn’t convinced this was a good solution. Today, I came across this thread, where the second post (by Lex007) describes a simple way to do that, by modifying the SetSecurity project. Instead of passing only one dll, the tweak allows to pass a comma-separated list of dlls. I just tried it out, and it works like a charm.

by Mathias 28. August 2008 18:22

Update, Oct 12, 2009: if you are looking for a way to install a VSTO add-in with multiple dll, I found out there was a better solution here.

I just completed my first real-life VSTO project, and I am officially a convert: I can do everything I did in VBA, using mature languages like C#, and the comfort of the Visual Studio development tools.

Everything has not been smooth, though. I struggled quite a bit initially with deployment, a problem which just does not exist with VBA. However, after some digging, I came across this great post, which provides comprehensive step-by-step guidelines on setting up an add-in project for Office 2003.

At that point, I thought my issues were over, and I just cruised along, happily coding in C#. And then I decided that I would extract the logic of my calculation engine in a separate dll, which I would reference in my Excel add-in as a “satellite assembly” – and had a bad surprise. On my development machine, everything worked beautifully, and when I ran the installer on a clean machine, it installed my add-in without any complaint (The satellite dll was even added to the add-in folder), but somehow, the add-in did not run. No error message, no indication of a problem, but where I expected my dll to perform calculations, nothing happened.

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