Microsoft Outlook on iOS Welcomes Evernote and Other Add-Ins

To mark the second anniversary of Outlook mobile's release, Microsoft announces add-ins from Evernote, Trello and others.  

Outlook Mobile Email 2

Microsoft released its mobile Outlook client for iOS and Android two years ago this week, based on the software giant's late-2014 acquisition of the popular email app, Acompli.

To celebrate, the company announced add-in support for the iOS version of the app. The first batch includes Evernote, GIPHY, Nimble, Smartsheet, Trello and Microsoft's own Dynamics 365 and Translator.

"The add-ins launching today bring the power of CRM, social intelligence, project management and more—right to your inbox," said Javier Soltero, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office, in a Feb. 2 announcement.

Add-in functionality is being rolled out first to Office 365 customers, followed by users. The feature is currently available for Outlook on Windows PC and Mac users enrolled in the Office Insider program. Support for the Android version of Outlook is in the works.

"Add-ins for Outlook on iOS are currently only available when reading email. We'll be adding more add-in actions when composing or replying to an email in the future," Soltero added. Users can enable add-ins by navigating to the app's Settings page and selecting the ones they want.

The aim is to help users organize content, collaborate or simply conduct more business out of their inboxes and without switching apps. Evernote, for example, enables users to clip emails and add them to their project notebooks.

The Dynamics 365 add-in allows users to look up customer records or create new ones. Similarly, the Nimble add-in provides users of the social customer relationship management (CRM) application information about their contacts, including mutual interest, shared connections and other insights that can pave the way for more meaningful introductions and engaging meetings.

Microsoft Translator can be used to translate email messages from 60 languages. GIPHY, a GIF search engine, can be used to add a little flair to email messages by adding animated GIFs.

The company also is encouraging other developers to get in on the act. The barrier to entry is fairly low since they are built using JavaScript and HTML, according to Microsoft. Apart from some "minor modifications" to fit varying screen sizes among mobile devices, the same code will work across Outlook on desktop PCs, phones, tablets and the web.

The process of submitting Outlook add-ins and getting them approved is detailed in this Office Dev Center blog post.

Building an ecosystem of functionality-enhancing add-ins is one way for Microsoft to compete in the increasingly cutthroat mobile productivity marketplace.

In November, WPS Office Software (formerly Kingsoft) bulked up its namesake office suite for iOS. New features include file transfer between PCs and their iPhones by entering a provided IP address into a computer browser and dragging the files over. New wireless and wired projection options support a variety of ways to display presentations.

This week, Google announced new enterprise-grade security controls for its G Suite applications. Popular among mobile users, the G Suite bundle includes cloud storage, business email, spreadsheet, calendar, and other applications for getting work done on the move.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...