Develop Outlook add-in / plugin in VSTO 2005 (SE), 2008, 2010.
Custom menu bar, ribbon tabs, option pages in C#, VB.NET.

Add-in Express™
for Microsoft® Office and VSTO

See the most recent documentation in the Add-in Express Developer Guide:
Program VSTO add-in for Microsoft Outlook - sample project

Developing Outlook plugin / add-in in VSTO

Add-in Express for VSTO provides developers with a useful set of components and controls to speed up the development of your Outlook addins / plugins in Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005 (SE), 2008 and VSTO 2010 in C# and VB.NET.

Key benefits

  • Create the Ribbon interface of Outlook Inspector windows with easy-to-use components: Ribbon tab, Quick Access Toolbar, Office menu.
  • Get command bars you need in every Outlook VSTO addin - custom and built-in, correctly positioned and context-sensitive, natively working in multi-Explorer and multi-Inspector modes.
  • Populate commandbars easily with custom and built-in controls at design-time and at run-time.
  • Develop Options pages and context-sensitive Folder Property pages as easily as you add another tab to the TabControl.
  • Get Outlook Bar / Navigation Pane shortcuts created and keyboard shortcuts intercepted with no coding.
  • Process Outlook Application events with a special component.
  • Add an Event Class to process events of Outlook Item, Items and Folders.
  • Add the Built-In Control Connector to override any built-in control action.

Getting started with Outlook add-ins in VSTO

Whenever you start your Outlook VSTO add-in with Add-in Express, you add an Add-in Module to your project. The Add-in Module is a core component of Add-in Express. It centralizes all programming logics in one place. Its designer allows adding other Add-in Express components and setting their properties at design-time. To create two add-ins in your VSTO project you add two Add-in Modules. To make your add-in a trusted one, you sign it. See also a sample VSTO Outlook add-in with source code.

Time-saving Outlook-oriented components for VSTO

  • Outlook-specific CommandBars
  • Ribbon interface components
  • CommandBar Controls
  • Option Pages
  • Outlook Bar Shortcuts
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Built-In Control Connectors
  • Outlook Event Classes

Explorer and Inspector CommandBars - a must

Both Explorer CommandBar and Inspector CommandBar components represent a command bar in Outlook. To create a custom toolbar use the Add ExplorerCommandBar or Add InspectoCommandBar commands of the Add-in Module designer. Use simple properties to specify the commandbar properties: name, position, protection. Connect to any built-in Outlook command bar by specifying the built-in toolbar name in the command bar's Name property. Make the command bar context-sensitive by specifying the folder name(s) and/or type(s) the commandbar will show up for.

Office 2010, 2007 Ribbon components - easy

Ribbon tab, Quick Access Toolbar, Office menu - you create them in a handy treeview-like design-time editor. You get all the possibilities provided by Microsoft. See also Office 2010 - 2007 Ribbon components.

CommandBar Controls - easy

You populate your Outlook toolbar with commandbar controls the same way you populate a TreeView with nodes. You set all their properties available to Outlook developers: caption, style, state, list contents, image, dimensions, position on the toolbars, shortcut, action parameter. Plus, you decide if the control's default action is run when user clicks the control.

Option pages - a must

You create an Option page as well as a Folder Property page by adding the OptionsPage component to your Outlook VSTO project. To add an Option page to your Outlook add-in you fill in the PageTitle property of the Add-in Module and set the corresponding OptionsPage component in the PageType property. Adding a Folder Property page is also simple - you add an item to the FolderPages collection and set its properties - PageTitle and PageType. You make a Folder Property page context-sensitive by specifying the folder name(s) and/or type(s) the page will show up for. See also Option pages and Property pages components.

Outlook Bar Shortcuts - simple

You get every existing Outlook Bar shortcut group as well as a custom one with the OutlookBarShortcutManager component. Add it to your Add-in Module and populate shortcut groups with custom shortcuts.

Keyboard Shortcuts - handy

The Keyboard Shortcut component allows you to intercept and override every shortcut available in Outlook. Just choose a shortcut you need from the ShortcutText combo. More about creating custom Outlook and Excel keyboard shortcuts, Navigation Pane shortcuts.

Built-in Control Connector - a must

The Built-In Control component allows you to intercept events from any Outlook built-in toolbar control. Just specify the built-in control's ID to intercept its standard action. Plus, you decide if the control's default action is run when user clicks the control.

Outlook Events - handful

You add an Outlook Event Class (Items Events, Item Events, and Folders Events) to create a template class where you process every Outlook event you need: adding, changing, or removing a folder or a folder item. Also you process reading, opening, replying, sending, forwarding, adding and reading attachments in the class. You create several instances of the same Outlook Event Class to cover different aspects of event processing in your add-un. You connect and reconnect Event Class instances to event sources and you get Outlook events domesticated immediately.

Make your VSTO Outlook development easier

Use Add-in Express .NET for VSTO to simplify the development of Outlook plugins. Add it to your set of development components and concentrate on your functional code only. For more information, please see Add-in Express tips and tricks for VSTO add-in, toolbar and ribbons and how to add any button to Outlook toolbar.