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Automating Outlook from Other Office Applications

You can use Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in any Microsoft Office application to control Microsoft Outlook. For example, if you are developing a cross-application solution using one primary application and several secondary applications, you can write VBA code in the primary application to automate Outlook to send messages and to store and retrieve information in Outlook items. For example, in Microsoft Office Excel you can write routines that send a workbook to an Outlook distribution list.

To control Outlook objects from outside Outlook, you must establish a reference to the Outlook object library from the project in which you are writing code. To do this, use the References dialog box in the Visual Basic Editor in the primary application. You can then write code that returns a reference to the Outlook Application object. Through this reference, your code has access to all the objects, properties, methods, and constants defined in the Outlook type library.

There are several ways to return a reference to the Outlook Application object.

  • You can use the CreateObject function to start a new session of Outlook and return a reference to the Application object that represents the new session.

  • You can use the Visual Basic GetObject function to return a reference to the Application object that represents a session that is already running. Note that because there can be only one instance of Outlook running at any given time, GetObject usually serves little purpose when used with Outlook. CreateObject can always be used to access the current instance of Outlook or to create a new instance if one does not exist. However, you can use error trapping with the GetObject method to determine whether Outlook is currently running.

  • You can use the New keyword in several types of statements to implicitly create a new instance of the Outlook Application object by using the Set statement to set an object variable to the new instance of the Application object. You can also use the New keyword with the Dim, Private, Public, or Static statement to declare an object variable. The new instance of the Application object is then created on the first reference to the variable.

Caution note Caution

When you create a new instance of Outlook, the new instance is not trusted and can trigger the object model guard. For more information about the object model guard, see What's New for Developers in Outlook 2007 (Part 1 of 2)What's New for Developers in Outlook 2007 (Part 1 of 2).

For examples of using these methods of referencing the Outlook Application object, see Automating Outlook from a Visual Basic Application.

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