Microsoft Office 2003 Editions: Overview of Developer TechnologiesSeptember 2004
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Smart tags are programmed to identify terms and regions in a document that are of interest to those working with the document. They nominally appear as a dotted underline near which a menu icon appears when the user’s mouse cursor clicks in or hovers over the marked region. The context-specific menus for smart tags present users with actions related to the text, cells or regions of a document where they appear. Figure 6 shows a basic smart tag underline with the smart tag icon in the left picture and the resulting menu in the right picture.
Figure 6. –Selecting a smart tag
A. Words marked by a smart tag B. Icon when mouse hovers over C. Custom menu appears upon clicking
Smart Tag Benefits
You can build smart tags to recognize key data terms inside documents and e-mail messages, allowing users to efficiently perform custom actions associated with the specific data elements directly from their document. Smart tags can link users to relevant corporate data, streamline cumbersome tasks, or perform any number of operations that are sensibly associated with the tagged data.
Smart Tag Technology
Smart tags were introduced in Office XP and improved in Office 2003 Editions based on feedback from users and developers. Within Office 2003 Editions, smart tag functionality is available in Word, Excel, Outlook when using Word 2003 as the e-mail editor, Access and PowerPoint. You can also use smart tags with people names using the persona menu in Outlook, all task panes in Office 2003 Editions, and with Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies. You can also use smart tag actions in Microsoft Internet Explorer for smart tags that are embedded in Web pages.
Implementing smart tags involves two primary interfaces, one for recognizing and marking text, ISmartTagRecognizer, and one for executing actions, ISmartTagAction. Office 2003 Editions offer new functionality by using the extended interfaces of ISmartTagRecognizer2 and ISmartTagAction2. You nominally build COM DLLs to implement these interfaces, although PIAs are available so that you can implement smart tags using Visual Studio .NET. "Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (Beta)" also offers a capability for creating managed smart tags, though specifically for Word and Excel document-based solutions. Another option is to implement simpler smart tags through XML files using Microsoft Office Smart Tag Lists (MOSTL). Recognizers and actions are connected through a type identifier and you can even implement them using a combination of these technologies.
Smart tags in Office 2003 Editions include the following improvements:
The ability to alter smart tag action menus at run time, including eliminating individual menu items. This facilitates more solution flexibility.
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