Five Excellent Outlook Add-ons

Many people rate Microsoft Outlook as an indispensable business tool, using it to organize their emails, contacts and appointments. However, there are many add-ons available that can improve Outlook’s usefulness by adding new features or making it work better. A few of these are described here but there are many more to try and some of them are available for free.

1. Easy Mail Merge

If you need to send personalized versions of the same message to a large number of contacts, this may be the application you need. It can be used to send marketing messages, newsletters, product announcements and numerous other standard messages.

Email addresses can be obtained from your Outlook contact list or can be imported as CSV files and merged with a standard message, customizing selected parts with input from the contact records. Rules can be set up to define what is output and messages can be scheduled to be sent out at set times, with delay periods between batches of messages.

A free trial download is available so you can test the product before buying.

2. Xobni

This product, with its name being inbox spelt backwards, provides fast searching of your emails and displays a history and full information about your contacts, with details obtained from Facebook, LinkIn and other sources. You can follow conversation threads between yourself and your contacts and can look at attachments they’ve sent to you. Everything is conveniently displayed on a sidebar that slides out of the way when not in use.

Xobni is a free add-on that had over two million downloads in 2008. There’s also a paid Xobni Plus version that costs $29.95 and offers advanced searching and auto-suggest features, with a mobile version also scheduled and links to other email applications and other products planned.

3. Quick File

Incoming messages generally go into your inbox and outgoing ones are simply filed as sent. This can make finding messages difficult unless you manually file them elsewhere, which can be a time-consuming process.

QuickFile offers a solution to this problem by filing your messages exactly where you want them. Received messages are automatically re-filed once read, based on who sent them, and sent messages also go into particular sub-folders.

The product comes with a 90 day money back guarantee that promises a full refund with no questions asked.

4. Auto BCC/CC

If you always need to send copies of email messages to certain people in particular situations, this add-on will save you having to remember to do it each time. It will also avoid the embarrassment of forgetting to send a copy.

You can set up a flexible rule structure to cover al, situations. This may include creating copies for all emails or only those sent from particular profiles or accounts. You can also choose to generate copies to certain people for messages sent to specified addresses or those that have certain subjects or attachments.

The product comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and includes support.

5. Send Personally

This is a bulk email add-on that you can use to send messages to a group, with each member of the group getting a personalized copy that does not indicate who else received the message.

Simply create the message, select the group to which it is to be sent and then click the Send Personally button rather than the standard Send button. You can also choose to from the distribution certain exclude people in the group and can include macros in the message text so that it is personalized with each recipient’s details.

A free trial download is available.