Microsoft Outlook: 6 great add-ins for business users

Learn how to enhance Microsoft Outlook with the right add-ins.

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Image: iStock/Natali_Mis

Microsoft Outlook is an effective and powerful program on its own, but perhaps there are features and options you wish it offered. One way to expand the power and flexibility of Outlook is through add-ins. Microsoft provides an array of add-ins, both free and paid, and many are geared for business users.

Some helpful Outlook add-ins include:

  • Translator for Outlook: Translates a message into the language of your choice

  • Report Message: Reports spam and phishing emails to Microsoft for analysis

  • Mr. Post Email Inspector: Identifies suspicious emails

  • Zoom for Outlook: Lets you set up a Zoom video meeting in Outlook

  • Dropbox for Outlook: Allows you to save email attachments to Dropbox and add files from your Dropbox storage to your messages

  • Send Anywhere for Outlook: Helps you send and share large file attachments

Outlook add-ins are available and accessible only in the business versions of Office 365, so if you have one of the Office 365 consumer versions--either Home or Personal--I'm afraid you're out of luck; however, many Outlook add-ins work with Outlook on the Web, so that may be an option. If you haven't installed an Outlook add-in, refer to my article How to install and manage add-ins in Microsoft Outlook

Let's take a closer look at six add-ins for Outlook.

SEE: 50 time-saving tips to speed your work in Microsoft Office (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Translator for Outlook

Microsoft Outlook comes with a translation tool, but it's clumsy to use and doesn't always work properly. A more effective and free app called Translator for Outlook translates a message to and from English and other languages. After installing this add-in, go to a message you'd like translated, and click on the Translate Message icon on the Home Ribbon. The program displays a sidebar with a quick translation using the last language you accessed. To change the destination language, click the current language, and select a new one from the list (Figure A).

Figure A

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Report Message

Even with strong spam blockers on your network or PC, you're going to receive junk and phishing emails. Whether you know an email is spam or aren't sure, one option is to report the message to Microsoft for analysis through an add-in called Report Message. 

SEE: Microsoft Office 365 for business: Everything you need to know (ZDNet)

Like other add-ins, this one appears as an icon on the Home ribbon. Select a message you wish to report, and click the Report Message icon. You can report a message as Junk or Phishing. If a legitimate message was caught by the spam filter, you can report that as Not Junk. After selecting the appropriate option, a confirmation window pops up. Click the Report button to send the message to Microsoft (Figure B).

Figure B

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Mr. Post Email Inspector

Sometimes you can tell an email is spam or a phishing message; other times, you may not be sure. One add-in that helps you separate malicious messages from legitimate ones is Mr. Post Email Inspector. 

Offered by security firm TrendMicro, Mr. Post analyzes elements of an email to determine if it's safe. Select a message you want to check, and click the Click For Quick Scan icon. The add-in examines the sender's real address, email footprint, and other data and then tells you if it's safe or suspicious. Click any element in the results to learn more. 

For example, clicking the Risk Highlights icon explains why the message was tagged as suspicious (Figure C).

Figure C

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Zoom for Outlook

Do you use Zoom for video meetings and presentations? If so, the add-in called Zoom for Outlook offers a quick and easy way to send an invitation for your video meeting.

To use this add-in, create a new email in Outlook for an appointment or meeting. On the ribbon, click the Add A Zoom Meeting icon, and sign into your Zoom account. The Zoom meeting link, ID, password, and other relevant information appears in the body of your message. Add the recipients, the meeting date and time, and any other information. When you're done, send the message (Figure D).

Figure D

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Dropbox for Outlook

If you use Dropbox, here's a handy add-in that integrates your online storage with Outlook. Using Dropbox for Outlook, you save attachments to the site and place files from Dropbox into your messages.

After installing the add-in, select a message with a file attachment, and click the Save Attachments To Dropbox icon. Sign into Dropbox, select the folder to store the file, and click Save (Figure E).

Figure E

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To attach a file from Dropbox in a new email, click the Share Files From Dropbox icon. Drill down in your Dropbox storage, and select the file. Click the Choose button, and send your email (Figure F). Those who use Box will find a similar add-in called Box for Outlook.

Figure F

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Send Anywhere for Outlook

By default, Microsoft Outlook doesn't let you send email attachments larger than 20 MB. One solution around this limitation is to use a service such as Send Anywhere, which generates a link through which you share files, and access them through Send Anywhere for Outlook. 

SEE: Why I turned off Word's AutoSave feature in Office 365 (CNET)

With this handy add-in, you can send a file attachment as large as 20 GB. In your new email, click the Send Anywhere icon. In the left pane, drag the file you wish to attach, wait for it to upload, and then send your email. On the other end, your recipient clicks a link in your email through which the file you sent is downloaded (Figure G).

Figure G

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