New Extensibility Features in the Outlook PIA

Office 2010

This topic gives an overview of the new extensibility features in Microsoft Outlook 2010, and provides additional references for further information.

The following are the main themes of the Outlook 2010 extensibility vision. For more information, see What's New for Developers in Outlook 2010. Further references for each theme are also listed below.

  • Add-in resiliency

    Outlook performance is a key focus in Outlook 2010—when extending Outlook, developers should design add-ins such that after Outlook loads their add-ins, Outlook continues to perform and respond normally. Add-in developers can take advantage of the Windows event log, which tracks for each connected add-in the boot time and any add-in crashes. Add-ins must also follow a new fast-shutdown process that prevents add-ins from causing long delays by holding on to resources after the user exits Outlook. For more information about add-in shutdown and best practices, see Shutdown Changes for Outlook 2010.

  • Extending the Outlook user interface

    Developers can now customize new areas of the Outlook user interface (UI). By using the new _SolutionsModule object, add-ins can now create one or more custom solution folders in the Navigation Pane, under the new Solutions module, and get or set custom folder icons for these folders. By using extensibility for the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface, add-ins can also customize the Office Fluent ribbon, menus, and Microsoft Office Backstage view. For more information about the Solutions module, see Programming the Outlook 2010 Solutions Module. For more information about how to use Fluent UI extensibility to customize the Outlook UI, see Extending the User Interface in Outlook 2010.

  • Multiple Exchange accounts

    Outlook users can now define multiple Microsoft Exchange accounts under a single profile. Add-ins can use the following new properties and methods in the Account object to track information for each account in a profile: AutoDiscoverConnectionMode, AutoDiscoverXml, CurrentUser, DeliveryStore, ExchangeConnectionMode, ExchangeMailboxServerName, ExchangeMailboxServerVersion, GetAddressEntryFromID(String), and GetRecipientFromID(String). Add-ins can also use the new AccountSelector object to obtain the account selected in the Backstage view.

  • 32-bit and 64-bit platforms

    Developers can now create Outlook solutions for 32-bit and 64-bit platforms by using the Outlook 2010 object model.

    You do not need to recompile existing (32-bit) managed add-ins, if you expect the add-ins to continue to run only on computers with 32-bit Outlook installed. If you expect your add-in to run on computers installed with 64-bit Outlook, be sure that you have built it using Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office system 3.0 Runtime, or Microsoft Office development tools in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, with the Any CPU option selected for the target platform on the Build tab of the Project Properties dialog box. Add-ins built with such settings work for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Office 2010. If you used other settings, rebuild your managed add-ins using the specified settings so that they will run on computers with 32-bit or 64-bit Outlook 2010 installed.

    For more information about developing managed add-ins for computers installed with 32-bit or 64-bit Windows and 32-bit or 64-bit Outlook, see the section “32-Bit and 64-Bit Platform Support” in What's New for Developers in Outlook 2010.

  • Comprehensive object model

    The Outlook 2010 object model continues to support extensibility for new features designed for Outlook 2010 end users. The object model is comprehensive and sufficient for the majority of Outlook developers to write a professional solution without resorting to the Messaging API (MAPI) level. The following list includes a few main features:

    • A new set of objects (Conversation, ConversationHeader, and SimpleItems) and members in the Store object, item-level objects, and TableView object to support the enhanced conversations view.

    • A new Sender property on the MailItem object to provide a more convenient way to obtain the sender’s SMTP address.

    • A new RTFBody property to support Rich Text Format in item-level objects, such as MailItem and AppointmentItem.

    • A new GetTable() method on the TableView object to obtain a table of items from one or more folders in the same store, or spanning over multiple stores, in an aggregated view.

    • A new Location property on the Selection object to provide the UI area for selection, based on the OlSelectionLocation enumeration.

    For a list of new objects and enumerations in the Outlook 2010 object model, see New Objects and Enumerations in the Outlook PIA.

    For a list of new members and constants in existing objects and enumerations in the Outlook 2010 object model, see New Members and Constants in the Outlook PIA.