How to make a preliminary distribution of an MS Office piece; can you recommend an entry-level installation process?

I need to make an initial small-scale trial distribution of my demo office piece. It contains excel and visio components that are bound together.  Since changes in these file names will blow up the creation of the worksheet and document objects that enable exchange of data between applications, I think I should hiding these files in the directory and using a shortcut component to start up the piece (is that the best solution?).

The piece also has a set of sub-folders containing graphics and text files.

Hopefully this can be kept simple. This will be my first experience; can you point me in the right direction please?

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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
q: does the end user have office and visio ?  could you elaborate on what you are trying to accomplish?

All that I can think of is to put all of the data files in a subdirectory and use relative directories with a shortcut to the 'working directory"
Kelvin4Author Commented:
Thanks for taking this up. I have office, including visio professional. I write vba and XML for the fluent XL ribbon.

I use Excel 2010 file to open and to control intricate shape processes in Visio 2013 via early binding:
In Excel module:
Set visioApp = New Visio.Application 'early binding
    If IsFileOpen(visFilePath) Then        'visFilePath is a variable that defines the visio file.. relatively or absolutely
        Set visQDoc = visioApp.Documents.Add(visFilePath)
    end if

As there is bilateral passage of event information, the visio file needs to recognise the Excel file as an object ( xlAppFromVis), thus in Visio code module:
 If xlAppFromVis Is Nothing Then
        Set xlAppFromVis = GetObject(dirPath & "VisAuthDev_Current.xlsm").Application
 end if  

Both these objectivisations require the name of the files concerned (and as you say a relative path).

In addition, the Excel file opens and drive page-turns on a PDF file (Help for User).
There are sundry sub-folders.

To limited number of trialists (say <10, for limited time. Plus to archives on cloud.

Also, I would like it if this installation method provided me with a means of archiving versions of the office 'package of applications). It seemed a good way of keeping all the files and sundry sub-folders in good order.

I can hide my program files ok, but I need a Shortcut to start excel (which starts Visio and Acrobat.
My worry is that the TARGET PATH in the standard windows 7 shortcut is accessible, and can be read and altered by the user. How can I raise shortcut security?

Finally, I need to automatically uninstall all components at the end of the period of the trial license agreement.
This would be a practical step toward protecting the code.

I'm too inexperienced in this topic to be more detailed.. I understand your reference to basing the directory structure on a 'working directory' with relative file paths.

** Can you pick up on the type of shortcut that will give me the security of file names and paths?

Otherwise challenging questions from you may well help me better to define my objectives.

David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Unless your users want to pay a huge amount you can't bundle your application for distribution. You would have to include office, adobe acrobat, and visio.

What you can do is use remote desktop and force the opening of your application on login  be sure that you comply with  the various manufacturers terms of service and licensing.  This can be done either in house or using virtual servers.

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Kelvin4Author Commented:
I will follow up Remote Desktop.
Scott HelmersVisio Consultant, Trainer, Author, and DeveloperCommented:
Kelvin -- another thought: it sounds like what you really need is to create an installation program that takes care of all of the file and folder placement for you.

There are quite a few programs available that build installers. I've used several and have settled on Advanced Installer. I have a paid version of the product and it lets you do just about anything, however, they also offer a freeware version that could be sufficient for what you need.

There is a bit of a learning curve but their help text is good and they provide excellent customer support (at least for the paid versions; don't know about the freeware).
Kelvin4Author Commented:
Nice to read you, and many thanks for sharing your experience. I shall look into Advanced installer.

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