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What Should I Start With to be Able to Develop Outlook Add-ins?

P: 6
I am an Undergrad student and want to learn how to develop Add-Ins for MS Outlook.

I have not developed add-ins or any type of plugins before. I am just 1st year student so I know my basics and just finished C# from whatever Tutorials I could find.

I then tried to search the internet that could help me learn how to develop an Add-in but after 2 full days, I did not find much of use.

Can someone please point me in the right direction? Just what prerequisites are there to start working on such a thing or if this is out of my league and I should do easy stuff (but where's the fun in that :( ).

Basically, What should I know before I can build Outlook Plugins?
Jun 14 '17 #1

✓ answered by NeoPa

What you should know would include the Outlook Object Model as a starter, but also how Add-Ins are created and how they can be rolled out most straightforwardly to ensure the users always have available any pre-requisites, such as libraries.

I may be able to help with more specific questions on the Object Model itself when you get further into the project but it's not the object model I'm most familiar with for sure. I'm afraid I've done very little with Add-Ins so far so can't be much help there either really.

What I did find on the Add-In front, was that in the VBAIDE for Outlook 2010 (at least) there is a fair number of items found in the Help system when searching on "Add-Ins". If I were in your shoes I'd start there.

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10 Replies


NeoPa
Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,418
What you should know would include the Outlook Object Model as a starter, but also how Add-Ins are created and how they can be rolled out most straightforwardly to ensure the users always have available any pre-requisites, such as libraries.

I may be able to help with more specific questions on the Object Model itself when you get further into the project but it's not the object model I'm most familiar with for sure. I'm afraid I've done very little with Add-Ins so far so can't be much help there either really.

What I did find on the Add-In front, was that in the VBAIDE for Outlook 2010 (at least) there is a fair number of items found in the Help system when searching on "Add-Ins". If I were in your shoes I'd start there.
Jun 15 '17 #2

NeoPa
Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,418
I've moved your thread to the Access Answers forum as Outlook work comes under Office and VBA rather than VB as such.

Access is the busiest forum on the site and also includes many VBA experts whose skills are transferable across all Office applications.

Good luck with your project.

PS. I'd be surprised if other experts didn't jump in with some other ideas. We have a vast array of experience here.
Jun 15 '17 #3

P: 6
Thanks for the answer. I will start with these.

I don't know if this will sound stupid, but I want to ask it regardless, is my basic knowledge (I finished everything I found on a tutorial website, not sure if specific names are allowed on forum) of C# enough to start with this? Or should I invest time in this?
Also, should I know any other language to work on this?

The 'Object Model' part was something I was looking for (because I know very little about the functions and 'names') but I was not sure what it's called. That always scared me when I looked at the code of other Devs (on Github, etc).

Also, I have a (un)related question. Do developers usually remember most of the list or they just get a general idea of the functions and just browse the list if they need something specific?
Jun 15 '17 #4

NeoPa
Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,418
We do generally like to keep individual threads on topic Vinit but I'll try to respond helpfully without getting into any detail as I can understand where you're coming from and hopefully stop the thread getting too far off-track with simple answers - as far as they go.

It may be possible to work in C# but my only experience with Office apps is in VBA. VBA and C# are very different animals and the calling protocols between the two even are inconsistent. Using C# in an environment designed for VBA is in area fit for experienced and skilled devs only I would suggest.

Using the object model is always very important in Office apps. Using F2 & Shift-F2 from the VBAIDE window can be extremely helpful in that respect. Debugging in VBA may help.

Developers remember more or less what it is they use most often. Some remember more and look less up. Some remember less and look up more. Very few remember everything as it's vast.

For best help on here narrow down your individual question and deal with one problem at a time. Time spent getting the question right helps both sides to get you better answers quicker.
Jun 15 '17 #5

P: 6
Thank you for the response. I went through most of the material and also found a guide on msdn that helped me make a simple Add-in for Outlook.

The basic idea for my Add-in is to be able to select and upload Emails as well as attachments from Outlook to a Web Server (which is Fixed).

That I believe will be a lot more complex and I tried to look for the 'source code' of any Add-ins (any topic, just not the easy ones) that other users might have made to get a bit familiar with the process and to actually start my work.

Can you suggest any source from where I can view the code the Add-in creator wrote? I am hoping that will give me a much better idea of what I am about to get myself into.

Thanks Again!
Jun 16 '17 #6

NeoPa
Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,418
I'm sorry. I don't know of any such sources. I expect most developers want to keep their Add-In code private and proprietary.

That's not to say it's an impossible quest. Just that I can't help and it may prove hard to find.

Best of luck :-)
Jun 17 '17 #7

jforbes
Expert 100+
P: 1,107
I haven't developed an add-in in 8 or 9 years. When I did it was done using VSTO (Visual Studo Tools for Office)
Jun 17 '17 #8

ADezii
Expert 5K+
P: 8,623
As stated by jforbes, it also understanding that Visual Studio Tools for Office is an excellent tool for developing Add-Ins.
Jun 17 '17 #9

P: 6
Yeah, that is what I started now. But, I found a few tutorials that used HTML, JS, XML, etc (I don't really remember) instead of C# or VB and that is what confused me the most.
I wasn't sure which was the correct way to go, but Neo's responses helped me figure this one out and I finally reached the conclusion you guys just suggested.
Thank you all for helping a newbie here. I visited other forums as well for help and they weren't really so friendly. I really appreciate this. :)
Jun 18 '17 #10

NeoPa
Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,418
You're very welcome. We all here wish you the best at Bytes.com :-)
Jun 19 '17 #11

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