Five useful utilities for Microsoft Outlook

Brien Posey lists five utilities that can provide some extra functionality to Outlook.

On most days I find that I spend more time working in Microsoft Outlook than any other application. Although Microsoft has done a good job of covering the basics in Outlook, there is always room for improvement. This article lists five utilities that can provide some extra functionality to Outlook. Some are intended specifically for use with Outlook. Others probably were not created with Outlook in mind, but are useful nonetheless.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Five Apps

1. ShareO for Outlook

ShareO for Outlook is a utility that makes it easy to share Outlook data with others. Outlook has native capabilities for sharing things like contacts and calendars, but sharing generally requires a compatible E-mail account. ShareO is designed to allow you to share folders, contacts, calendars, etc. with your contacts, even if you do not have an Exchange mailbox.

The software is an add-in for Outlook 2010 and integrates neatly into the Outlook toolbar. Unfortunately, the current version does not seem to work with Outlook 2013.

ShareO for Outlook sells for $34.95, but a 14-day free trial is available for download.

2. vCard Wizard for Outlook

vCard Wizard for Outlook is a utility that is designed to export your contacts to vCard format. The software can create a separate vCard for each contact, or it can group all of your contacts into a single vCard.

vCard Wizard for Outlook is designed to work as an Outlook add-in, but there is also a Start menu option that can be used to launch vCard Wizard. Clicking this icon launches Outlook and opens vCard Wizard.

vCard Wizard for Outlook costs $12.95, but a free 14-day trial is available for download.

3. Active Desktop Calendar

Active Desktop Calendar isn't an Outlook add-in, but rather a utility that might best be thought of as an Outlook supplement. Active Desktop calendar is a standalone application that displays a calendar on your Windows desktop. However, it is possible to link Active Desktop Calendar to Outlook so that items from the Outlook calendar are displayed directly on your desktop.

Active Desktop Calendar costs $29.00, but a free 42-day trial is available for download.

4. X1 Professional Client

X1 Professional Client is a desktop search application that is specifically designed to work with Outlook.

The thing that makes X1 Professional Client so cool is that it has a full view of your mailbox, contacts, calendar, etc. In fact, you can use X1 Professional to read and reply to messages. Of course this utility's real power is in its search capabilities. Search results are divided into a series of tabs. For example, you can search for messages, sent items, contacts, messages with attachments, and much more.

X1 Professional Client sells for $49.95, but a free 14-day trial is available for download.

5. Win2PDF

One of my favorite features in Office 2010 and Office 2013 is the ability to save Office documents as PDF files. For whatever reason though, Microsoft did not include this capability in Outlook. Outlook lets you save messages, but you cannot save them in PDF format. This is where Win2PDF comes into play.

Win2PDF is not designed specifically for use with Outlook, but it is a great Outlook compliment. The software is essentially a print driver that sends documents to a PDF file rather than to a printer. In essence this means that anything that you can print can be turned into a PDF. In the case of Outlook, this means that you could turn things like E-mail messages and contacts into PDF files.

Win2PDF costs $35, but a free trial version is available. The trial version is fully functional and does not expire, but adds an extra page to each PDF file that you create.

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Brien Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP. He has written thousands of articles and written or contributed to dozens of books on a variety of IT subjects.

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