Microsoft Outlook is the backbone of communication for many private users and in many offices – as a mail client, for scheduling and managing your contact details. Many users still use older versions of Microsoft Office and Outlook. Why not? Outlook 2010 or 2013 is easily sufficient for many purposes. So save yourself the money for a new version of Office and instead upgrade an older Outlook with smart extensions / add-ins.
You can significantly expand the already impressive range of functions of Microsoft Outlook with a wealth of plugins and add-ons and adapt them to your needs. Many of these plugins for Outlook are even available free of charge, in some cases the free addons may only be used free of charge for private use. Before using an Outlook plug-in in a professional environment, read the terms and conditions if necessary, whether you can actually use the desired add-on in your specific situation for free.
Would you like to know which extensions are already installed in your Outlook? No problem: Under “File, Options, Add-Ins” you can immediately see which Outlook plug-ins you have already installed.
Several addons are made available for download as an EXE file. To install the Outlook add-on, start the EXE as usual with a double click and then follow the installation routine. After installation, you should look for a menu item like “Options” or “Settings” in the Outlook interface in order to optimally adapt the plugin to your needs.
Another format for Outlook plugins is the simple text format hol – this can be used to provide calendar data, for example. The easiest way to integrate data in hol format in Outlook is to copy the relevant hol file into the correct subfolder of Outlook – more on that later. The ics format is also occasionally found in Outlook add-ons. It is an iCal format that is also used for the exchange of calendar data. iCal / ics data is hoisted to Outlook via the “File, Import, Import iCalendar file” menu.
Extensions / plugins / addons for Outlook are in abundance, both paid and free. We present some on this and the following pages really practical, sometimes brilliant free plugins for Outlookthat either make everyday work with Microsoft Outlook significantly easier and save time and / or are sometimes even fun.
Do not immediately install every free add-on that you come across while browsing the Internet. With every add-on installed, your Microsoft Outlook becomes heavier, sometimes starts slower and may react more slowly to inputs. In addition, with every plugin there is a possibility that the addon will not work properly and in the worst case may even disrupt or prevent the operation of Outlook. Before installing the software, carefully consider whether the Outlook plug-in you want is really useful for you.
Note: Not all of the Outlook extensions presented here are compatible with Outlook 2013 or Office 365. Please note the manufacturer’s system requirements. However, you can make an older version of Outlook even more powerful with these extensions.
Do you have problems with Outlook? Is your Outlook client unable to connect to the Office 365 server and you are therefore unable to check your emails? In this case, you can use the free Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 to start troubleshooting.
Enough the preamble, let’s start with our compilation of the best free plugins for Outlook.
With this extremely useful Outlook extension (which replaces the old Xing Connector) you can import all your Xing contacts into Outlook. The advantage is obvious: As soon as something changes in the data of one of your Xing contacts, the corresponding entry in Outlook is updated. So your contacts in Outlook are always up to date. On top of that, you now have a profile picture for every contact in Outlook – namely that from their Xing profile.
Download: Xing for Outlook 2013 or younger, Outlook 2016 for Mac or younger.
The add-in NoReplyAll prevents accidental “all replies” mails on circular mails by deactivating the “all replies” function (ReplyAll) at the recipient’s request. It also prevents the email from being forwarded. The extension comes from Microsoft and is suitable for Outlook versions 2007, 2010 and 2013. Not suitable for Outlook 2016.
NK2Edit from NirSoft is not an addon, but an independent freeware program. If you use Microsoft Outlook and enter an email address, it will be saved for auto-completion. The next time you type in the first few letters, Outlook will give you suggestions on how to automatically complete the address. You can edit, delete or add new mail addresses with the free tool NK2Edit 3.05. With the freeware you can edit the address type, the actual address, the displayed name, the search string and also the ad type.