Microsoft Outlook is a feature-rich email client, but have you ever wanted a feature it doesn’t have? There are many third-party tools available, both free and paid, that add functionality to Outlook or improve existing functionality.
Today we’ll cover five tools for the Microsoft Outlook desktop app for Windows that add some useful functionality or provide quick access to Outlook settings and features.
OutlookTools is a free toolkit for Outlook on Windows that provides quick and easy access to Outlook settings and data folders. You can also access some Windows tools in OutlookTools, like the Registry Editor and Event Viewer.
The OutlookTools window includes a menu on the left where you can access the various tools available.
The General screen displays information about your Outlook installation and some Quick Access buttons providing access to Outlook and Windows tools.
If you’re having problems with a PST or an OST Outlook data file, use the Run ScanPst button to scan the file. The Run ScanOst is obsolete now because it is not supported by Outlook. But, the Run ScanPst tool will work for OST files also.
You can also Start Outlook in Safe Mode directly from the General screen, which is handy if you’re having trouble with Outlook.
The Folder Paths screen provides quick access to folders Outlook uses to store data and settings. Most of these are just for reference, but you can open the folders directly from the Folder Paths screen.
There is a temporary folder used when opening attachments, listed at the bottom of the window. You can empty this folder using the Empty Folder button.
HowTo-Outlook, the company that makes OutlookTools, also makes a separate tool for managing the temporary attachments folder, which we’ll cover next.
The Startup Switches screen lists all available command line switches you can use to launch Outlook in specific ways. Hover your mouse over each switch to learn what it does. For example, you can remove all the names and email addresses from the AutoComplete list when starting Outlook.
Once you select a switch, you can click Start Outlook to open Outlook using that switch. If you’d rather use the switch directly on the command line, click Copy Command. Then, open a Command Prompt window, paste the command at the prompt, and press Enter.
Outlook maintains several Most Recently Used (MRU) lists. On the Clear MRU screen, select your mail profile at the top. Then, click a button to clear that MRU list in the selected mail profile.
Outlook includes a security feature that blocks attachments that might damage your computer with viruses or other threats. Certain types of files, like EXE files, sent as attachments are automatically blocked. A blocked attachment remains in the email message, but you cannot access it.
The Blocked Attachments screen lists the file types that are blocked by Outlook. You can find out what each extension is in Microsoft’s support article about blocked attachments.
To unblock a file type, check the box for the desired type in the list.
Be careful what you unblock. Outlook blocks these file types because they can pose a risk to your computer. When unblocking file types, be sure you trust the sender when you receive attachments of those types.
The Support Guides screen provides links to various Outlook support articles on the HowTo-Outlook web site. The More Tools screen contains links to free and paid Outlook add-ins and tools.
OutlookTools is a free tool, but you can Donate to help the developer keep it up-to-date.
When you send an attachment or open an attachment in an email message, Windows stores temporary files. All these files hang around in the temporary folder, taking up space. Your files are also accessible to anyone who gains access to your computer and the temporary folder.
Windows stores these temporary files in a subdirectory in the temporary internet files directory on your PC. There are many ways to delete temporary internet files, but HowTo-Outlook makes a free, small tool, called OutlookTempCleaner, just for deleting the temporary attachment files stored by Outlook.
OutlookTempCleaner does the same thing as the Outlook uses the following temporary folder to open attachments feature under Folder Paths in OutlookTools, except it also allows you to see the size of the Outlook temporary folder for attachments. Click the Folder Size button.
An information dialog box displays telling you how much space will be freed up by emptying the temporary folder for attachment files.
2. Email Insights
Email Insights is a lightweight search client for Outlook and Gmail. It provides a fast autocomplete feature and a fuzzy name search, and it automatically corrects spelling. Email Insight allows you to perform searches faster and presents relevance-based and time-ordered search results, making it easier to find the email you’re looking for.
When you run Email Insights, the Account Selection screen displays. Click Outlook.
Then, on the next dialog box, select the account you want to search.
Enter your search term in the search box. As you type, suggestions are listed below the search box. If you see your search term in the list, select it with the mouse or use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select the term you want.
Press Enter or click the Search icon to perform the search.
You can also open additional tabs to do multiple searches in the same window. Each tab is labeled with the search term for that tab.
3. Outlook-Google Calendar Sync
Do you use both Google and Outlook calendars? If so, are you looking for a way to keep the two calendars in sync? You can add your Google Calendar to Outlook, but we have a solution for you that allows you to sync your Google calendar with your Outlook calendar, so you don’t have to maintain separate calendars.
Outlook Google Calendar Sync is a free tool that provides one- and two-way sync between your Google and Outlook calendars. You can sync from Google to Outlook, Outlook to Google, or sync both directions, merging the two calendars. Event attributes like subject, description, location, attendees, reminder events, availability, and privacy are synced. Only new attributes or attributes that have changed are updated.
When you open Outlook Google Calendar Sync, you must choose the Outlook mailbox and Google calendar you want to sync. On the Outlook tab, select Default mailbox or Alternative mailbox and then select the mailbox you want to use. If you have more than one calendar for the selected mailbox, select the calendar you want to sync from the Select calendar dropdown list.
Then, click the Google tab, click Retrieve Calendars, and select the email account containing the calendar you want to sync from the Select calendar dropdown list.
You’ll be asked to sign in to your Gmail account in your default browser. Click Allow in your browser when prompted to give Outlook Google Calendar Sync permission to access your calendar.
Then, you’ll be presented a code that will allow Outlook Google Calendar Sync access to your Google calendar. Select the code, copy it, paste it into the Authorisation Code box on the Authorise Google Access dialog box, and click OK.
Click the Sync Options tab and select a Direction in the How section. Select whether you want to copy Google entries to Outlook or Outlook entries to Google. Or, you can sync the entries in both directions, if you’ve entered items on both calendars separately.
Select the Date range under When, and Attributes to include under What. You can also change the way the application operates on the Application Behaviour tab.
Once you’ve chosen your settings, click Save.
To sync your calendars, click the Sync tab and then click Start Sync. The progress and the result displays on the Sync tab.
The next time you want to sync the same calendars, open Outlook Google Calendar Sync and click Start Sync. Your settings remain the same if you saved them.
4. Stellar PST Viewer
Stellar PST Viewer is a free tool that scans a corrupt Outlook PST file and allows you to view all items (emails, contacts, journals, calendars, tasks) in the file and save individual items, or all items, in different formats.
When you run Stellar PST Viewer, select a PST file using the Select Outlook File button. You can also use the Find Outlook File to search for a PST file. By default, PST files are in the C:\Users\%username%\Documents\Outlook Files\ folder.
All your emails, contacts, journals, calendars, tasks are listed in a tree structure on the left side of the main window. You can select an item, right-click on it, and select a format to save the item as.
5. Grammarly for Office
Grammarly allows you to communicate more effectively by making your email messages, documents, social media posts, and more clear, effective, and free of mistakes.
Grammarly flags possible issues in your text and suggests corrections for spelling, grammar, wordiness, style, punctuation. Grammarly explains the reasoning for each suggested correction, allowing you to decide whether, and how, you want to correct each issue.
Download the Office add-in from the Grammarly site. You’ll have to sign in to your account first. Then, install the add-in into Outlook, and Word, if you choose to.
As you type a new email or a reply to an email, Grammarly checks your message for various issues. Suggestions for corrections display in a pane on the right side of the message window.
Improve Your Productivity in Outlook
The Outlook desktop app is part of Office 365, which is not free. If you’d rather use a free email client, we’ve explored the best free alternatives to Outlook.
What tools do you use with Outlook? Do you have any other useful tips for using Outlook?