Accessing at Run Time
In Visual Studio 2010 it is possible to show, hide and modify the Ribbon dynamically.
It is also possible to call the ribbon code from custom task panes and action panes.
This applies to both document level and application level.
Is the Ribbon Visible
vis = CommandBars("Ribbon").Visible
Showing the Ribbon
You can access the Ribbon from the Globals class.
Make sure that the tabs have unique IDs.
Dim objRibbonTab As Microsoft.Office.Tools.Ribbon.RibbonTab
There are ActivateTab and ActivateTabMso methods
ribbon.ActivateTabQ - this is used for tabs shared between multiple add-ins
This also requires an additional string parameter that specifies the namespace of the add-in
Using Microsoft Active Accessibility API
This is a COM based technology which provides the IAccessible interface
MSAA is a legacy API that was introduced in Windows 95
Microsoft UI Automation is the new accessibility model for Windows
Knowledge Base Article (2494267)