Saturday, August 15, 2009

6 Smart Outlook Add-ons

Good Outlook add-ons can save a significant amount of time and typing for office workers who live and breathe by the inbox. Here are six companion programs we can recommend for daily e-mail use.
Six Smart Outlook Add-ons // Xiant Filer beta (© CNET

Xiant Filer beta
Created by Paul G. Allen (Microsoft's co-founder) and team, Xiant Filer (pronounced ZI-ant) is a beta add-on for Microsoft Office Outlook that helps you quickly move individual e-mail messages and entire threads from the inbox to the appropriate folder, with just a click. Organizing messages by topic is another option. It adds a toolbar to the Outlook's main interface, and other buttons to the message view. When an e-mail comes in, rather than drag it to a folder, you can click to file it away. Xiant will also begin suggesting appropriate folders once it starts learning your filing habits. Note that because it is a beta program, you may encounter some bugs and instability.

Six Smart Outlook Add-ons // MailStore Home (© CNET
MailStore Home
The free MailStore Home does two things: archives a variety of inboxes for up to three separate e-mail accounts and quickly searches through the contents, including the meat of e-mail attachments. Burning the lot of the messages to a CD is another storage option. It has some limitations, however. MailStore Home is missing some important and useful filtering, and search could be stronger. Plus, with a cap of three archive profiles and no scheduling, archiving is manual, time consuming and restricted to your top three inboxes. Still, it will be an immensely practical tool for some. Read more in the hands-on review.
Six Smart Outlook Add-ons // Xobni (© CNET
Searching for a contact or message in Microsoft Outlook used to require generous patience with the program's leisurely pace. Xobni is its Olympic sprinter. Now, when you type a name or subject into Xobni's cheery modern interface, the add-on, which manifests as a separate slide-out pane in Outlook, will produce a list of correspondences lickety-split. You can open an e-mail or reply, forward or open a document right from Xobni. It also throws in public information scraped from Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn and Hoovers to add extra personal context. Dataheads get the additional gift of e-mail stats.
Six Smart Outlook Add-ons // Anagram (© CNET
If you puzzle over the best way to save keystrokes, check out Anagram. The free-to-try companion app works with Outlook,, Gmail, Palm Desktop and NetSuite (there's also a version for BlackBerry). On a desktop, hit the hot-key combo to copy text. Anagram works out if the text belongs in an address book, calendar or new e-mail message.

Follow Gmail integration instructions from Anagram's Web site.
Six Smart Outlook Add-ons // Gwabbit (© CNET
Similar to Anagram, the free-to-try Gwabbit focuses only on contact creation, but takes it one step further. Rather than have you highlight key data points, Gwabbit scans the signature block and automatically fills in a new contact record. It's far more in-depth than Outlook's attempt when you right-click a contact's name. Business users who volley e-mail back and forth with unknown recipients will find Gwabbit to be a savvy way to fill in the digital Rolodex.
Six Smart Outlook Add-ons // Google Calendar Sync beta (© CNET
Google Calendar Sync beta
The fastest way to fill in your Google or Outlook calendars is to let them feed each other. Google Calendar Sync beta is a freebie that shuttles events unidirectionally or bidirectionally between the two services. You'll pick your time interval, and leave the rest up to Google. Be forewarned that you do gain the calendar icon in your task tray. The good news is, you'll be able to access the settings from here.

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