Outlook extension by Microsoft is just like having the phone app in your desktop web browser. Read and send emails, use Calendar, People and To-Do right in the web browser. It’s brilliant.
Outlook extension for Chrome and Edge web browsers basically puts the Outlook.com website in a drop-down panel accessed through an icon in the browser toolbar. It is almost identical to the Outlook app running on a phone and it works in the same way. If you have the phone app, which is well worth installing by the way, you will be right at home with this browser extension.
The idea is that it saves you having to have a whole tab open just to check your email, calendar or to-do list, or to look up people. You can just click the browser button and a panel pops up with everything you need.
Some people have been using it in quite a clever way. If they are logged into their personal Microsoft account in the browser, they can check and respond to work email in the extension. Alternatively, you can be logged into your work email in the browser, but still access your personal email in the extension.
Like all extensions, it is browser-based and it does not matter whether you use a Windows PC or Apple Mac, Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. It works the same everywhere. Some screenshots below are from the PC and some are from the Mac, I use it on both.
How to install Outlook extension in Chrome
- Go to chrome.google.com/webstore and select Extensions on the left
- Search for Microsoft Outlook and click it in the results
- Click the Add to Chrome button
When I looked, there were 10,000 users of the Outlook extension in Chrome and it had a good rating.
How to install Outlook extension in Edge
- Click the three dots in the top right corner to open the menu
- Click Extensions
- Click Get extension for Microsoft Edge below the current extensions
- Search for Microsoft Outlook
- Click the Get button
When I looked there were over 500,000 users and a good score. The extension is very popular with users of Microsoft’s browser, no doubt because it works great with Office 365. However, it works with a free Microsoft account and all you need is a free Outlook.com email address.
Check email with Outlook extension
Click the extension in the browser toolbar and sign in to the Outlook email account you want to use. It can be a work, personal, Office 365 or free account. It works with them all.
The inbox is displayed and there are Focused and Other tabs showing important and less important emails. Tap an email to open it, read it and reply to it just like on a phone. When the mouse hovers over an email, small buttons appear enabling you to delete it, archive it, flag is and so on. These are useful for quickly dealing with emails.
A Filter button top right enables you to show only what you want, like unread, flagged, pinned and emails with mentions to be displayed. A Search button enables you to find messages by searching for keywords or people.
The inbox is shown by default, but other folders can be displayed, like Sent Items, Drafts, Junk Email, Archive and folders you have created yourself. Clicking the hamburger icon in the top left corner shows a list of folders.
Click the plus button in the top right corner and a new email can be created. It has all the core features you need, like To/Cc/Bcc addressing and it predicts the recipient from your contacts. Images and files can be embedded in the email. It does not look like there are any text formatting controls, but you can select text and press Ctrl+I for italic, Ctrl+B for bold and Ctrl+U for underline.
Do more with Outlook extension
Just as with the phone app, there are Mail, Calendar and People icons at the bottom of the screen. Tap the Calendar icon and you can view upcoming appointments and events and add new ones. It saves you having to open Outlook in a new tab in the browser and you can access Calendar and People without leaving whatever you are doing.
There is an additional button, with accesses Microsoft To-Do and clicking it enables you to see your tasks. A menu showing all your task lists can be displayed and you can switch from one to another. You can also add new tasks and this is useful when you are browsing the web and need to add ideas, tasks and notes. It saves you having to open the Microsoft To-Do app or website.
Clicking the People icon at the bottom enables you to browse contacts. I cannot see a delete button, but contact information can be edited and new contacts can be created.
Microsoft Outlook extension is basically a clone of the Outlook phone app that you can popup in a browser and access mail, calendar, contacts and to-do. You will feel right at home with it if you have the phone app. Is it useful? Yes. Very useful!
Even though you may have your phone in your pocket or even on the desk beside your computer, being able to access Outlook in a popup panel from a browser toolbar button is more convenient. Not having to have a browser tab open is also more convenient.
Where it is most useful is for monitoring another account, such as work or email, but it is still great if you only have one account. This is a must-have extension if you use Outlook email and have Chrome or Edge browser. It works with Office 365 subscriptions and free Microsoft Outlook accounts.