How to create a COM add-in for Outlook 2002

This article was previously published under Q291163
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
For a Microsoft Outlook 2000 version of this article, see 230225.
This article provides an overview of how to create a COM add-in for Microsoft Outlook.
More information


COM add-ins are an Office feature that was first implemented in Microsoft Office 2000. The architecture is supported by all Office programs, including Outlook. Key benefits of COM add-ins include:
  • COM add-ins run in-process with the host program, so custom code generally runs faster than code implemented in Visual Basic for Applications.
  • The basic COM add-in architecture is consistent across all Office programs, whereas in previous versions of Office, each program had its own add-in architecture.
  • You can create one COM add-in to use with more than one Office program.
Important There are no changes to the COM add-in architecture from Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2002. Many of the links and resources in this article are for Outlook 2000, but are still applicable to Outlook 2002. This article will be updated once Outlook 2002-specific resources are finalized.

Important The COM add-in extensibility features were designed to run in-process with Outlook. Microsoft Customer Support Services cannot provide support for issues that are specific to COM add-ins that are written as out-of-process components.

What you need to create a COM add-in

In addition to Outlook, you need one of the following development environments to create a COM add-in for Office or Outlook:
  • Visual Basic 5.0 or later (Visual Basic 6.0 is preferred)
  • Microsoft Office Developer, which includes the ability to compile a Visual Basic for Applications project into a Dynamic Link Library (DLL)
  • Any other COM-compliant development environment, such as Microsoft Visual C++ or Microsoft Visual J++

Resources and examples

There are many resources and examples about how to implement an Office or Outlook COM add-in.

Outlook-specific information

COM add-ins part I: Introducing an Office 2000 solution for the entire (Office) family: COM add-ins part II: Building a COM add-in for Outlook 2000:

General COM add-in information

Microsoft Office 2000/Visual Basic Programmer's Guide
Chapter 11: Add-ins, Templates, Wizards, and Libraries: Developing COM add-ins for Microsoft Office 2000: Creating a Microsoft Office 2000 COM add-in:Microsoft Knowledge Base articles
238228 How to build an Office 2000 COM add-in in Visual Basic
230689 SAMPLE: Comaddin.exe Office 2000 COM add-in written in Visual C++
254006 Access data retrieval sample add-in available for download
232680 How to work with COM add-ins in FrontPage 2000

Important things to know about Outlook

The following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles provide information about the key things that you should be aware of when you develop a COM add-in for Outlook:

294867 You cannot fully quit Outlook when you use a COM add-in in Outlook 2002
291166 All COM add-in run-time errors must be trapped
292182 CommandBars not available from Application object
For more information about available resources and answers to commonly asked questions about Microsoft Outlook solutions, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
287530 Frequently asked questions about custom forms and Outlook solutions
OfficeKBHowTo OutSol OutSol2002

Article ID: 291163 - Last Review: 12/06/2015 01:05:00 - Revision: 3.0

Microsoft Outlook 2002 Standard Edition

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