Top Outlook Productivity Add-Ons

Part of Microsoft Outlook's broad and enduring appeal is that you can extend its functions with small programs, called add-ons, that push its already highly capable coding even harder. Here are a few of the best Outlook productivity add-ons available, each geared to make the program perform in ways that fit your needs even better than the original package.

SimplyFile

Outlook
image copyright Microsoft Outlook

What We Like

  • Integrates well with several other programs.

  • Saves you a lot of time organizing your emails.

What We Don't Like

  • Sometimes struggles to predict where to store your emails.

  • The premium version is a tad overpriced.

SimplyFile lets you file Outlook messages with a single click — and having learned by example, suggests the correct target folder, too.

NEO (Nelson Email Organizer)

What We Like

  • Fast and precise search feature.

  • Conversation view lets you see related messages side by side.

What We Don't Like

  • Only works with Microsoft Outlook.

  • It overrides Outlook's built-in safe senders option.

NEO helps you handle email better in less time with Outlook. Among many other features, it offers a speedy, intuitive search function and "smart," virtual folders that organize each message into whatever folders are appropriate, rather than a single folder. The result is a more efficient, convenient way of reading, archiving, and working with emails.

ClearContext Professional

What We Like

  • Helpful for making to-do lists.

  • Project dashboard is highly useful for project managers.

What We Don't Like

  • Sometimes causes Outlook to run slowly.

  • Has a bit of a learning curve.

ClearContext Professional plugs into Outlook seamlessly to help you organize and track your email and tasks better. You can file any message with just a click. An AutoFile function files bulk emails out of the way so you can read them when you have more time. When you receive an email that involves something you need to do, ClearContext allows you to turn the email into a task or appointment simply. You can even set reminders for yourself to respond to important emails. Project management features keep all project-related emails and attachments together so you can find what you need fast.

Lookeen

What We Like

  • Indexes full text of emails and files.

  • Allows you to search archived emails as well.

What We Don't Like

  • Only compatible with Outlook.

  • Extra set up required to search archived emails.

Lookeen finds every Outlook file immediately — whether it's an email, a task, an appointment, an attachment, or anything else you work with in Outlook, no matter where you've stored it.

E-mail Follow-Up

What We Like

  • Does exactly what it promises to do.

  • Offers a free trial version.

What We Don't Like

  • Overpriced for what it does.

  • You'll probably still want to use other Outlook tools.

Mapi Lab's E-mail Follow-Up can remind you if an email you sent did not receive a reply after a certain time. The add-on makes it easy to send a follow-up reminder to the original recipient, too.

Auto-Mate

What We Like

  • Ideal if you leave Outlook open all day.

  • Part of a family of similar tools that integrate well together.

What We Don't Like

  • Occasionally buggy.

Auto-Mate by Pergenex applies flexible rules to your Outlook folders using a number of included smart filters plus filters you create. The add-on's capabilities are highly flexible; for instance, you can set rules to run at whatever interval you want (for example, every two hours or once a day). You can even set up rules to run when some other condition is met — for instance, when a message gets added to a folder or you forward an email to someone in particular.

Add Contacts

What We Like

  • Offers a free trial.

  • Multilingual interface includes English, Russian, and German.

What We Don't Like

  • Inconsistent updates.

  • Only works with Outlook and MS Office.

Mapi Lab's Add Contacts automatically builds your Outlook address book by adding contact addresses that appear in messages to a contacts folder of your choice. The add-in even detects addresses within the body of an email.

Save Message

What We Like

  • Saves messages as plain text, RTF, HTML, or the native Outlook format.

  • Trial version is fully featured.

What We Don't Like

  • You need to download additional software to use all of the features.

Save Message is a near-perfect solution for saving messages and attachments automatically and flexibly from Outlook to disk using Outlook's native rules engine or plugging right into Exchange Server.