Archive for February, 2011

Outlook custom actions

February 9, 2011

Recently I wanted to write a small Outlook plugin to solve a problem I was having (mainly dealing with support). I looked at the various options of writing code that interacts with Outlook. And here’s a quick, non comprehensive list:
1. VBA – not too bad, but unfortunately not portable – it’s not possible to easily export, import, install, distribute this code (Outlook is not advanced as Excel). So with VBA you can write your own macros or import .bas modules or VBA code manually
2. Outlook plugins – this uses the Office Extensibility interface – which all the Office plugins share. This is pretty good, as it gives you access to the full object model
3. Custom actions – this uses the rules wizard (in the actions screen, you can select to perform a custom action). I was puzzled by this, and even more intrigued when I couldn’t find any documentation on this. It seems Microsoft have deprecated the custom actions. They still support them, but they have removed both the documentation and the header files.
They want to encourage developers to write Outlook plugins instead.