Is it possible to add a button to the standard ribbon to SharePoint 2010 without Visual Studio 2010?

I'm trying to follow this tutorial:


After searching around I cannot find which files to edit, only how to do it using VS.

  • 2
    SharePoint designer allows to create some actions on lists (with a narrow possibility range)
    – Steve B
    Jul 20, 2012 at 15:58

2 Answers 2


If it's in the ribbon of the forms or view of a list/document library, then you can add it though SharePoint Designer by opening the list and then use the Custom Action button in the new section of the ribbon.

Initially it may look as it's very limited what you can do in the custom action, but one of the options is to navigate to an url (with parameters like Selected Item) this can either be the url to a page with does a lot using client side object model and the supplied parameters or it can be javascript directly in the link. Another option is that the ribbon button can initiate a workflow on the selected item.

If "without Visual Studio" means "without Farm Solutions" but "Sandboxed solutions" are allowed then that's an option but of cause that would not really be "without Visual Studio".

If "without Visual Studio" means we'll not pay for that tool, then using CloudShare might be an option.


It should be possible to do this as simply adding a button doesn't require code but doing so means a lot of manual maintenance. You would most likely need to do something like this :

  • create a folder under 14/TEMPLATE/FEATURES using the feature name as the folder name
  • create a properly formed feature.xml and place it in that folder
  • Create a properly defined elements.xml and place it in that folder
  • Copy that folder to 14/TEMPLATE/FEATURES on all servers in your farm
  • use the normal PowerShell commands (Enable-SPFeature) to activate your feature

I've never done it that way but it should work...

  • 1
    While this approach is possible I would warn against it. If the installation allows this then it should also allow installing WSPs as it's almost the same. At least it has all the bad parts about affecting the server, but without the good parts about automatically adding it to new server, save solutions in config database for easy move to new farm. Jul 20, 2012 at 16:34
  • Agreed, but how do you make WSP files without Visual Studio or having the solution in SharePoint already? MakeCab is an option but 'friendly' isn't in the top 25 words I'd use for it (niteshluharuka.com/2011/11/how-to-create-a-wsp-file-manually)
    – Dave Wise
    Jul 20, 2012 at 16:47
  • 1
    If I had to create a WSP without VS then I'd use (WSPBuilder)[wspbuilder.codeplex.com], but the best way would be to use Visual Studio. I know this is in conflict with the question, but usually what organisations mean (or ought to mean) when they say without Visual Studio is without (farm) solution and if they say that they SHOULD also say without changes to SharePointRoot (and the servers in general) as these are worse than WSPs Jul 20, 2012 at 16:52
  • Interesting tip as I was not aware that WSPBuilder worked without Visual Studio. That tool was worth its developer's weight in gold for SP2007 development!
    – Dave Wise
    Jul 20, 2012 at 16:57
  • Well I'd say more Carsten Keutmann isn't that heavy ;-). But I'll say this would be breaking the rules, if not then you can do anything possible with Visual Studio, by just using another editor, the commandline compiler, ... Jul 20, 2012 at 17:01

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