HOW TO: Write Your First Outlook 2010 Addin

Writing an Outlook 2010 Addin is a very easy task given the tools that Microsoft provides.  While it does require some knowledge about what you are doing and where you are going, overall the Outlook 2010 addin functionality is a robust system that gives you the flexibility you need to get the information required.

I am a big supporter of Outlook as an email client as well as a scheduling tool.  A huge advantage that Microsoft Office has over most of the competition is the ability to easily write addins and communicate with all other tools that are Office related.  An Outlook 2010 addin is no exception to this and it provides a great way to embed ideas and activities into your own interface without much work.  Developing an Outlook 2010 addin has been designed to be so easy that you can start right away simply by installing Visual Studio 2010 and Office 2010.

Creating an Outlook 2010 Addin

To get started an Outlook 2010 addin, Open up the New Solution window and navigate to the Office -> 2010 Section of your preferred language.

outlook 2010 addin - new  solution window

As a test, let’s create a custom tab in our Outlook and use it to pop a Hello World window.  To do this, open the Add New Item window and navigate to Office -> Ribbon (Visual Designer)

outlook 2010 addin - new  item window

How to implement an Outlook 2010 Addin that shows a new ribbon

To choose which Ribbon you are modifying, select the Ribbon Type on the right hand side.  For this example I chose the Explorer Ribbon so it shows up directly on the Office 2010 main ribbon.

On the left side of the Ribbon Designer you will get some nice pre-built Microsoft Office controls to use, simply drag a button onto the Ribbon.

outlook 2010 addin - new  ribbon button

At this point simply double click your button to bring up an event and type in the Message Box command to print Hello World.  If your Outlook is running you will need to close it to deploy.  Once closed, run your add-in through debug mode and it will pop up Outlook with your added loaded into it.

outlook 2010 addin - hello world

Writing an Outlook 2010 addin can be very simple or very complex based on what you want to do with it.  Just like with any coding you should start easy and have fun to start.  If you are interested in more information about writing an Outlook 2010 addin check out this MSDN article for more detail.

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