Twelve must have free add-ons for Outlook (part 1)

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If you use Outlook you have reason to rejoice, because there is a wide range of free add-ons that greatly enhance Outlook’s functionality and add considerably to it’s user experience.

This post will cover twelve must have-Outlook addons; Subtextual, HarmonyGoogle, Gpg4Win, CodeTwo Attach Unblocker, Attachment Explorer, AutoArchive Now, FBLook, InboxEX, OfficeIns, Sender’s Time Zone, NK2Edit, PSTTools for Microsoft Outlook, Reply All with Attachments, and CodeTwo Attach Unblocker.

See the list below for quick descriptions of each. Oh, and we strongly recommend that you only install the add-ons that you need so as not to overburden Outlook.

Also note that we were able to test these with Outlook 2007; you can check each mini review for more info on compatibility with other versions of Outlook.

Must Have Outlook Extensions p1

Here’s the list:

  1. Subtextual: send recipient-specific information on a multi-recipient email
  2. HarmonyGoogleintegrate Google Documents with Outlook
  3. Gpg4win: set-it-and-forget-it email encryption
  4. Attachment Explorerbrowse your email attachments explorer-style, in one place
  5. AutoArchive Nowon the fly email archiving via right click
  6. FBLookadd Facebook integration to Outlook
  7. InboxExquick Outlook task and meeting scheduling, with Google Calendar integration
  8. OfficeInsquickly disable/enable Outlook and Office add-ons
  9. NK2Edit: edit Outlook autocomplete email lists
  10. PSTTools for Microsoft Outlook: dedupe Outlook emails and combine PST email archives
  11. Reply All with Attachmentsincludes attachments in ‘reply’ and ‘reply all’
  12. CodeTwo Attach Unblocker: access attachments typically blocked by Outlook

Note: list edited 10/19/2011; removed Sender’s Time Zone, which was not free, and added NK2Edit.


bccthis1. Subtextual: send recipient-specific information on a multi-recipient email

We all have to send emails with multiple people being replied-to, whether in the “To” field, “CC”, or “BCC”. What this free plugin for Outlook allows you to do is add additional information to be seen only by selected individuals on the email.Subtextual provides an extra window to be used for adding separate messages (or attachment) that are specifically targeted to each individual (see screenshot). Subtextual can also be used to set up follow up reminders.

Note on installing: there are Free and Pro (paid) versions. The free version is somewhat misleadingly labelled ‘trial’, while the latter is ‘Free with Trialpay’, which is not what we mean when we say free here at Freewaregenius. Download and install the so-called ‘trial’ version; it is in fact the full free version and does not expire.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2007, 2010


harmonygoogle2. HarmonyGoogle: integrate Google Documents with Outlook

HarmonyGoogle is a must have free Outlook plugin if you work with Google Documents. It connects to your Google Documents account and installs a sidebar within Outlook that gives full-feature access to your Google Documents, including editing, sharing, moving, starring, renaming, etc. It will even let you search documents, with results appearing as-you-type.

This plugin will also conveniently let you share Google Documents with contacts from either your Outlook or your Gmail contacts lists, which is very cool. Moreover, when you attach a document to your email it will instantly suggest that you upload it to Google Docs and send a link instead. Overall, a fantastic plugin.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2007, 2010


3. Gpg4win: set-it-and-forget-it email encryption

pg4win screenshot1pg4win screenshot2
Here’s news that will surprised no one: it is actually not that difficult to intercept, read, and edit email. The good news is that with Gpg4win email encryption is easy, performed by the software and managing the requisite certificate exchange process in the background without user involvement.

Gpg4win, based on open source standards, is an Outlook plugin designed to encrypt your email and files, and ensure that the content came from the a specific sender and that it was unchanged along the way. Both email and attachments are signed and encrypted in one go in Outlook; as is signature verification and decryption. The end result: email security with no user involvement.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010


Attachment Explorer4. Attachment Explorer: browse your email attachments explorer-style, in one place

If you’ve ever found yourself looking for a specific attachment in a jumble of emails, or if you simply would appreciate the ability to look at all of your attachments in a single place, then this Outlook extension is for you. This software supports excellent filtering options to help you find exactly the file that you are looking for; for example allowing you to specify filetypes/extensions, as well as folders (and folders within folders), to include and/or exclude in the applied filter.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2007 (if it works for you on other versions of Outlook, please let us know in the comments section).


auto archive now5. AutoArchive Now: on the fly email archiving via right click

Archiving is an excellent way to stash email away in a compressed form, for possible future reference. The archiving process itself, however, is typically time consuming and can be amount to a very unwelcome interruption to users’ workflow.

Enter ‘AutoArchive Now’ to the rescue. This outlook extension will let you right click any email (or multiple email ), and select ‘AutoArchive Now’ from the context menu to move all emails or folders into the archive, on the fly.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2007 (if it works for you on other versions of Outlook, please let us know in the comments section).


fblook6. FBLook: add Facebook integration to Outlook

If you have Outlook open most of the time, and if you want to post Facebook status updates, get up-to-date friend updates, and do other Facebook-type activities straight from your Outlook, FBlook is for you.

Not only does this free Outlook extension makes all that possible, but it can even set your status to the name of any song that you might be playing in iTunes or WMP.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010.


7. InboxEx: quick Outlook task and meeting scheduling, with Google Calendar integration

inboxex screenshot1ainboxex Screenshot2

InboxEx installs a sidebar in Outlook designed for quick 1-click scheduling of tasks and meetings. It also adds a fast, powerful email search fucntionality, Google Calendar integration, and a handful of other useful functions.

  • Scheduling works really well; view others’ availability and easily share Google Calendar events with your contacts
  • Filtering of search results by topic, content sender recipient, type, dates, and attachments.
  • Sync events with Google Calendar (including scheduled syncs)
  • Automatic email archiving.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2007, 2010


OfficeIns28. OfficeInsquickly disable/enable Outlook and Office add-ons

This program lists all add-ons that are installed in all MS Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Access, Visio, and FrontPage), and gives the option to enable/disable them, or enable/disable their loading on startup. This is a portable, no-install program that you can simply unzip and run.It is potentially very useful, especially if you overburden your office apps with add-ons from articles like this one 😉

Compatability info: Windows XP through 7


9. NK2Editedit Outlook autocomplete email lists

NK2Edit Outlook AutoCompleteNK2Edit Screenshot

Autocomplete is very nice feature which we all take for granted: type in a few characters in an email field, and Outlook will automatically try to guess and suggest contacts for you (see screenshot upper left). Over time, however, it is possible to have useless or obsolete contacts popping up all the time on autocomplete. If this happens to you, do not fret: NK2Edit will let you edit these autocomplete entries, to fix any inaccuracies and remove entries that you do not want.

NK2Edit is an external tool that can optionally be run portably (i.e. unzip and run) or with installer support.  It will let you edit, delete, or add new contact. You can even backup and merge NK2Files to create the perfect contact list, and use in on multiple Outlook installs. This program is free for personal use; commercial usage requires registration.

Compatibility info: All Windows, All versions of Outlook.


pst10. PSTTools for Microsoft Outlook: dedupe Outlook emails and combine PST email archives

Two tools in one: PST Merger and PST Duplicate Removal. PSTTools acts on Outlook’s PST file(s), provided they are not password protect. It can either merge multiple PST files (i.e. multiple mail archives) into a new file, combining them into a single whole, or otherwise create a new PST file without any of the duplicate emails of the original.

Note that the author of this software recommends that you backup your PSTs before using.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2007 (if it works for you on other versions of Outlook, please let us know in the comments section).


repl with attachment11. Reply All with Attachments: includes attachments in reply and reply all

Most email clients, including Outlook, do not include attachments by default in ‘reply’ or ‘reply to’ actions. Typically, attachments are only included in forwarding operations. This add-on, however, gives you the ability to right click on an email and reply to all with attachments, should you need to do so?

Why would you need to do so? The scenario I can think of is replying to all with attachments when you want to subsequently add more recipients to the list. If you can think of other uses let me know in the comments section.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2007, 2010


CodeTwo Attach Unblocker12. CodeTwo Attach Unblocker: access attachments typically blocked by Outlook

If you work with attachments that are of filetypes that are blocked by Outlook (e.g. .exe, .url, .reg), then this free Outlook plugin is for you. CodeTwo Attach Unblocker.

Of course there’s a reason why Outlook blocks these types in the first place: they present a higher risk of transmitting malicious code/malware onto your system than others. Therefore, unblock them at your own risk, if you are confident in the files that you want to open and know what you are doing.

Guaranteed to work on: Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010.


Do you know of any other must-have Outlook add-ons that I missed? Let me know about them in the comments section.

Thanks go to Alaa K for doing most of the legwork for this article. Want more free Outlook add-ons? Stay tuned for part 2 of this post!