12 Cool Outlook Add-Ins To Make Your Inbox More Social And ProductiveFeatured Thursday, April 17th, 2008
For some people Outlook is just inevitable; either by choice or otherwise. Here is a list of 12 add-ins and toolbars which will enhance your Outlook experience and make the
madbox inbox more social and productive. These plug-ins will help you derive more value from almost all components of Outlook i.e. the email, addressbook and calendar.
Xobni, which is in invite-only beta at the moment, is a great plug-in to organize your inbox and discover the social network hidden in your emails. It saves you time finding email conversations, contacts and attachments.
By clicking on any mail you can see the sender’s full communication history including past conversations, attachments, contact details and find out who do you know in common based on your email conversations. Xobni also has a fast email search feature and provides various ways of navigating your mailbox.
I have 5 invites for Xobni left with me. If you want the invite, please leave a comment along with a message "I want Xobni invite." The first five to comment along with the message will be sent the invite.
OutSync let you organize your contacts using photos so that you don’t have to think whom that email address belongs to. OutSync lets you sync up photos between Facebook and Outlook.
If you are using ActiveSync to sync your mobile and Outlook, the photo assigned to a contact using OutSync will appear on your mobile phone screen when you receive a call from your Outlook contact.
If you are a Twitter fan and does not want toggle between Outlook and Twitter windows, you can use OutTwit. OutTwit connects Outlook with Twitter so that you can update your Twitter status from Outlook and receive your friends’ Twitters status updates as incoming email messages.
The messages show up in a sub-folder called "Twitter Messages" and you can assign custom categories to new messages. OutTwit also lets you configure the time interval for checking new updates, shorten URLs with tinyurl and manage and search the Twitter updates just like email.
The SMS add-in for Outlook works with Outlook 2003 and 2007 and lets you send SMS text messages through most of the GMS mobile phones connected to your PC or laptop. Once you have installed the add-in and connected your mobile phone to your computer via Infrared, Bluetooth or a USB cable, you can start using it without any other kind of download or any special type of subscription from your mobile service provider.
Using this add-in, you can draft an SMS, save the draft, send it to individuals or groups, print the SMS and forward the message as SMS or email. The add-in also looks up your Outlook contacts for phone numbers and enables you to use spellcheck for the SMS.
If you are using Outlook 2007, there is another service which lets you send SMS using Outlook named SMS officer. Amit from Digital Inspiration has written a detailed post on using SMS Officer. This service has a free trial of 10 SMS after which you will have to buy SMS plans.
The intraVnews plug-in turn your Outlook into a feed reader using which you can read RSS and Atom feeds in Microsoft Outlook XP or 2003. You can choose to display the content in Description mode, HTML mode or both. The plug-in works in the background for fetching new feed items and alerts you for the new items through a pop-up balloon.
The Skype Toolbar for Outlook lets you see when your Skype contacts are online, call Skype Names as well as the phone numbers listed in your emails, add a Skype call button in your outgoing mail’s signature enabling people to call you with just a click, switch to instant messaging in follow up to emails and send money using PayPal to your Skype contacts.
The toolbar and Skype calls are free; however, the calls to mobile and fixed phones are charged as per normal Skype rates.
The free toolbar from Linkedin lets you view the email sender’s Linkedin mini-profile, search your Linkedin network from Outlook, send Linkedin invitations to contacts from Outlook, upload Outlook contacts to Linkedin and create new Outlook contact records just by highlighting the contact information in emails.
It also provides updates about any changes in the profiles of your Linkedin connections and even recommends contacts to be invited to Linkedin based on your email history.
Bring the goodness of Google search to your inbox with the Google Desktop Search’s Outlook toolbar. It is faster than the in-built Outlook search and has the accuracy and relevance of Google search results.
The search results are displayed in native Outlook list view with all your selected columns which you can then sort by clicking on the column headers.
The Plaxo toolbar for Outlook lets you sync your existing Plaxo Address Book to your Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express Address Book. It keeps your Plaxo address book updated with any changes in your contacts automatically.
Apart from Outlook sync, it has other features which include looking up the contact’s Pulse profile and the ability to sync your Linkedin contacts.
With WaxMail plugin for Outlook, you can record voice messages and embed them in the body of an email. You just need to have a microphone and of course Outlook to record your message.
The recorded messages are attached to the email as MP3 files which can be played by the recipient to listen to the messages.
Create and send new CircleUps from directly from Outlook using your Outlook contacts, see the status of CircleUps sent and received, search for your own past CircleUps as well as the public ones, and monitor responses in real-time through an integrated RSS feed in Outlook 2007.
For the benefit of those who are not aware of the CircleUp functionality, CircleUp is a great service which lets you collect information from a group and see and share consolidated results instead of looking at individual responses. Learn more about CircleUp.
The Live Search Map add-in for Outlook lets you add maps and directions to the meeting requests while sending it to the attendees, calculate travel distance and estimate travel time between locations, add meeting reminders with estimated travel time blocked in the calendar.
You can see the maps in various types of views like 3D, aerial, raod, bird’s eye etc., print map and directions and even save the details for viewing offline.
If you found this list useful, don’t forget to share the goodness with everyone.
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