Create Outlook Express add-ons / plugins in VB.NET, C#, C++.
Customize OE toolbar, menu, add new buttons & menu items.

Add-in Express™
for Outlook® Express and Microsoft® .net

Add-in Express .NET and Outlook Express add-ins

The feature-rich technology of Add-in Express makes Outlook Express plugin development quick and easy. Add-in Express implements everything required by the supported technologies and you focus on the applied code only. Just follow 6 steps below and see that the development of Outlook Express plug-ins with Add-in Express can be something one can enjoy :-)

The sample Outlook Express add-on below is written in VB.NET, but you can also write in C#, C++ and RemObjects Chrome.

1. Create a new Outlook Express add-in solution

Run the Outlook Express Add-in wizard located in the "Other Projects | Extensibility Projects" item of the "New Project" dialog box.

Outlook Express Add-in project template

Then, choose the programming language for your add-on solution (it is Visual Basic in our OE plug-in project) and click Ok.

Outlook Express Add-in project settings

The wizard creates Outlook Express solutions by using the Add-in Express solution template that consists of two projects: the add-in project itself and its setup project used for deploying your completed OE add-in.

Outlook Express Add-in solution in Visual Studio

2. Add-in module

AddinModule.vb (AddinModule.cs) is the heart of your Outlook Express add-on. You place components onto the Add-in Module designer in order to create the user interface of your OE add-in. You also write the code of your add-on to the Add-in module. So, right click the AddinModule.vb and select View Designer.

Outlook Express add-in module designer

Then, you can add Outlook Express-related components to the add-in module designer. Right click on the add-in module designer and select Add OE Explorer Toolbar. It adds a new toolbar component to the add-in module.

Outlook Express add-in components

Add-in Express allows you to add:

  • toolbars to the main Outlook Express window (Explorer window) with the Add OE Explorer Toolbar command
  • toolbars to the message windows (Inspector window) with the Add OE Inspector Toolbar command
  • new menu items or sub-menus to main menu of Outlook Express (Explorer window) with the Add OE Explorer Menubar command
  • new menu items or sub-menus to the menu on the message windows (Inspector window) with the Add OE Inspector Menubar command

Find more about customizing Outlook Express menus.

3. Customize your Outlook Express toolbar

Select the toolbar component and customize it via the Properties window.

Outlook Express toolbar properties

Then, using the appropriate properties you can specify the name and the code name of your OE toolbar, text position and image size for toolbar buttons. Note, you can use an ImageList and the Images property of your toolbar to store images and bind them to your buttons. More about customizing Outlook Express toolbar.

4. Add a new simple button to your Outlook Express toolbar

To add a custom button to your Outlook Express toolbar, you can use the editor of its Controls collection.

Adding Outlook Express toolbar button

Then, use the appropriate properties to specify the caption and image for your button. With the Style property you can indicate the type of the button. Now you can add:

  • simple buttons (like msoControlButton - see the msoControlType enumeration of MS Office)
  • pop-up buttons (like msoControlButtonPopup)
  • dropdown buttons (like msoControlButtonDropdown)
  • split buttons (like msoControlSplitButtonPopup)

To add a separator between your buttons use the BeginGroup property. More about OE toolbar button styles.

5. Handle your button click

Then, add a new event handler for the Click event of your button. See two examples of such handlers below.

    Private Sub AdxoeToolbarButton1_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs)
Handles AdxoeToolbarButton1.Click
        MsgBox("Hello, World!")
    End Sub

    Private Sub AdxoeToolbarButton1_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs)
Handles AdxoeToolbarButton1.Click
        If Me.Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection.Count > 0 Then
        End If
    End Sub

6. Build, register and run your Outlook Express add-in

Finally, close all running instances of Outlook Express and save the project. Using the Build | Register Add-in command of the Visual Studio main menu, build and register the add-on and run Outlook Express.

Outlook Express add-in in action