I wanted to create a QuickLinks type of area for users that would be simple for them to find and use and I found an add-in called Hello World that I was able to tweak and get the following results:

The project where I got the file is no more and was located here https://github.com/jasonjoh/hello-world-addin which gives me a 404 error

Here is the zip file: hello-world-addin-master

Here is the License info: LICENSE

Basically what the add-in does is read any html file you want and it will display in the window like above

I have been using this add-in for about 8 years but use this add-in at your own risk!

Known Issues:

  • I have found if I make a change like swap a picture out or change the HTML code it takes about 1 day for the changes to be seen in the Outlook client. Not a huge problem as I can plan a change on a Friday and by Monday it should be there for all end users
  • The plugin used to work for the online version of Outlook as well but now it does not show up for some reason, probably an office365 update/change
  • Does not show up on the phone App

What you will need:

  • A Webserver or place to host the html files (I recommend HTTPS)
  • Hello-World Add-in (obviously)
  • Knowledge on manipulating html/css files to customize to your needs

Download and unzip the file and you will have the following list of files:

The first file that needs modified is the HelloWorld.xml Manifest file

Here are the items required in a manifest for reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dev/add-ins/develop/add-in-manifests?tabs=tabid-1

Outlined in the picture below are the items that I tweaked for my use in the XML file:

Original xml is on the left and my changes are on the right in the following order

  • Id
  • ProviderName
    • Enter your company name
  • DisplayName
    • This is the name you want to see in Outlook like the picture above I named it QuickLinks
  • Description
    • This shows up as a description of the add-in when installed and is required
  • IconURL
    • This is for the icon in the Get Add-ins menu
  • SupportUrl
    • Required in the manifest (I realize mine is a very old help desk link but does not seem to cause any issue)
  • SourceLocation
    • This is the location of ALL of the HTML/CSS/Image files
  • RequestedHeight
    • This changes the length of the drop down menu in Outlook, I wanted it a little larger

At the time of installing this I did not know what Form xsi:type=”ItemEdit” was but I have a hunch that maybe that is there so the menu can show up on a compose action?

Feel free to experiment with that however I don’t need that function if that is what it is so I put the same source as the “ItemRead” which does not seem to affect anything as I have no QuickLinks menu on a compose action in Outlook which is fine for my use

Once that is saved I created a folder called QuickLinks, copy the app folder from the hello-world-addin-master, rename app folder to QuickLinks, and put my saved XML file in there called QuickLinks.xml

(Feel free to change the folder structure as the next part can be confusing with all the folders named QuickLinks)

Next I need to host the files on a web server somewhere so the clients can resolve the html file location correctly

I keep QuickLinks folder somewhere as a backup as that has all the information

Next I copy QuickLinks>QuickLinks to a web server location and you can test browsing to the html file:

https://yourwebserver/QuickLinks/app/read/Home/Home.html (Or whatever you put in your SourceLocation in your XML from the example above)

To make the Add-in available you need to add it to your exchange server (Read all instructions first to see how to change permission so you can test it first before deploying to everyone)


Click the Plus arrow and click Add from file

Select the XML file you modified

Going from memory here but after uploading you should have an option to Specify user defaults to Optional, disabled by default

When clicking on a past one I have uploaded already here are the options:

Once that is done open Outlook and click Get Add-ins and select Admin-managed

You should then see QuickLinks in the list and there will be an Add button for you to install it and test

You can then repeat the above steps to create other menu items

For example I have one called PhishBait which is using the same Hello-World plugin but it loads an informational page as a reference for end users to spot known fake phishing emails

Any thoughts/feedback on this Add-in would be helpful as I am unsure of any security impact