Essential Add-Ins for Microsoft Outlook
Here are some of the best Outlook add-ins that can change your email experience for the better!
1. Taglocity (tagging, search) - Taglocity is a free Outlook add-on that lets you to quickly add one or more tags to your email messages just like Gmail. Now when you search for an email message in Outlook, or through desktop search programs, these attached tags will help you to quickly find the relevant messages even if the search phrase is nowhere inside the message body. When you are assigning tags to an email, Taglocity can also make suggestions based on the content of the message.
2. FedEx QuickShip (utility) - If you are frequently use FedEx, this Outlook add-on from FedEx will come handy as it makes shipping packages almost as simple as sending an email. Using the FedEx QuickShip add-on, you can calculate shipping rates, schedule pickups, find drop-off locations and also keep a track of all previous shipments all through Outlook without having to visit fedex.com.
4. PrimoPDF (print, pdf) - Although Office 2007 contains support for PDF, that feature is only available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs. If you are using Outlook (any version) and would like to archive some of your emails as PDF file, you should download PrimoPDF. It is a free PDF printer driver* for Windows that can not only convert emails to PDF documents but you may also secure your PDFs with a password.
PS:For more PDF related online utilities, check the PDF Guide.
5. Bing Translator (translation) - You can install this add-on to translate emails into your native language without leaving Microsoft Outlook. You can translate individual words, sentences or even the the full email message using the Microsoft Translator plug-in - simply select some text and choose “translate” from the right-click menu.
6. Sender Time Zone(utility) - If your friends, clients or office colleagues work in different time zones, you will find the Sender Time Zone add-on helpful. This will show you the current local time of the sender and the difference between your time zone and that of the sender. You can therefore plan when to reply to your contacts or why they keep emailing you at odd hours.
7. SendShield (privacy) - PowerPoint presentations, documents and other Office files can often contain author information, document editing history and other sensitive data that you do not want to share with the outside world. When you attach a document to an email message, SendShield will automatically scan that file for hidden data so that you don’t send out private information unintentionally. If something is found, you can either remove that data before send or even export that file to a PDF to guarantee that no invisible data is contained in the document.
8. OneNote (note taking) - OneNote is included in Office 2007 Home & Student, Enterprise and Ultimate editions or you can purchase it separately online. You can click the “Send to OneNote” button in your Outlook toolbar and it will save the current email as a note in your default OneNote notebook. And with the upcoming release of Office Web Apps, you will soon be able to sync these OneNote notes (and your emails) with the cloud and access them anywhere, anytime.
9. Evernote (note taking) - If you don’t have OneNote, you can look at EverNote for similar features. Like OneNote, you can send emails from Outlook to EverNote with a click and these can then be accessed from any Windows PC, Mac, smartphones, or the web browser. This is not just useful for archiving but also for sharing emails with a large group since you can create public notebooks with EverNote.
10. Windows Search (search) - If you have Outlook 2007 running on a Vista or Windows 7 computer, you can search for email messages right from the Start Menu or Windows Explorer using the built-in Windows Desktop Search. Users of Windows XP and Outlook 2003 (or earlier versions) however need to download Windows Search separately to find emails through the taskbar or start menu.
11. Desktop Search (search) - Copernic Desktop Search, Google Desktop Search and X1 Search are the three most popular desktop search programs that can also index your Outlook Email. Copernic and Google Desktop are free programs while X1 is paid though it offers lot of extra features including the ability to search emails stored inside archived PST files, all from a single interface.
12. Foxit PDF Preview (pdf)- If you have Adobe Reader on your system, you can automatically read PDF attachments right inside Outlook. Another option is the Foxit PDF Preview Handler that lets you preview PDF files in Outlook using the light-weight Foxit Reader without requiring Acrobat.
13. SMSOfficer(text messaging) - With SMS Officer, you can send SMS messages from Outlook to any cell phone worldwide. The same service can also be used for setting up SMS reminders for any upcoming meeting / appointment in your Outlook Calendar. SMS Offices costs money but you get 10 free credits upon registration which are good enough for sending up to 10 text messages.
14. Skype toolbar - With the Skype Toolbar installed, you can call regular phones and Skype names directly from your Outlook emails. You can also use the toolbar to know when a contact goes online so you can initiate a phone call or send them an IM over Skype.
15. Forgotten Detector - This Office Labs plug-in will scan all your outbound emails for keywords like “attachment”, “included”, etc. and if you try sending an email with one of these keywords in the message but fail to attach a file, Outlook will prompt you to include a attachment.
16. Acrobat Plug-in - This will come very handy if you ever need to send large files via Outlook. When you attach a file to your Outlook email, the Acrobat add-in will upload them to your acrobat.com account and will then insert the links in the email message. The recipient can download the files directly without requiring an Acrobat.com account.
17. SpyPig - This a web-based email tracking service that can also be used with Outlook. SpyPig will provide you with a white (invisible) image that you need to include in your outgoing emails inline. You’ll them get a read receipt as soon as someone opens your email provided they have enabled web-images in their email clients.
18. Jott - With Jott, you can interact with Outlook using voice-commands. You can make a call to Jott and create tasks, add calendar appointments or compose emails in Microsoft Outlook over the phone. The Jott service is now a part of Nuance that are popularly known for their speech recognition software including Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
19. ESL Assistant - If English is not your native language, you can install the ESL Add-in from Microsoft Research to find common errors in your emails before you hit the Send button. Requires Silverlight.
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Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.