Additional Actions when right-clicking a From or To address

Ever right-clicked in a received email on the From or To email address or name in MS Outlook? If you have smart tags enabled in Outlook then you've seen for sure an annoying menu called Additional Actions that when clicked showed No Additional Actions found. Well, after some research, I was able to find out how to add items to that list.

In the example below you'll see how to add in the Additional Actions list a Google Search, meaning when you'll right click the From: email address or name you'll have the option to go to Additional Actions and select Search with Google just like shown in the image below:

additionalactions

First of all, that entire right-click menu in MS Outlook is actually pulled using smart tags. These smart tags are available in other office programs, but this example focuses only on Outlook. To make sure you have that right-click menu shown, in Outlook you have to go to Tools->Options->Other and click on the Enable the Person Name Smart Tag option.

smarttags

Once that's saved restart Outlook and you'll have the smart tags right-click menu but with no Additional Actions.

noaction

To add an Additional Action you have to create an XML file and put it in a specific folder where Outlook will recognize it. Here are the steps to do so:

Open NotePad and copy/paste the following code:

  • Open NotePad and copy/paste the following code:

    <FL:smarttaglist xmlns:FL="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/smarttags/2003/mostl">
    <FL:name>Additional Actions idea from CRMReports.com</FL:name>
    <FL:lcid>1033</FL:lcid>
    <FL:description>This adds an action in the Additional Actions field when right-clicking a From email address.</FL:description>
    <FL:moreinfourl>http://www.crmreports.com/</FL:moreinfourl>
    <FL:smarttag type="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:smarttags#msdnterms">
    <FL:caption>Google Search</FL:caption>
    <FL:terms>
    <FL:termlist>crm, crm reports</FL:termlist>
    </FL:terms>
    <FL:actions>
    <FL:action id="GoogleSearch">
    <FL:caption>&Search with Google</FL:caption>
    <FL:url>http://www.google.com/search?q={TEXT}</FL:url>
    </FL:action>
    <FL:action id="CRMReports">
    <FL:caption>More about this smart tag</FL:caption>
    <FL:url>http://www.crmreports.com/</FL:url>
    </FL:action>
    </FL:actions>
    </FL:smarttag>
    </FL:smarttaglist>
  • Now save that file as test_tag.xml, and make sure that you have Outlook closed or any other MS Office application (and Internet Explorer)
  • Copy the created test_tag.xml file to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Smart Tag\LISTS\1033\
  • Restart Outlook and open an email that contains a From or To address. Right click it and go to Additional Actions. Voila, you have now two items Search with Google (that when you'll click a google webpage will open searching for the name/email address you right clicked) and a More about this smart tag link that opens this website (just like shown in the first image in this article).

The best part about this is that the Google url already contains the name/email address that you'll search for, as this is embedded programmatically in the smart tag itself. If you look at the code, you'll see that I added the {TEXT} option after the q= section, and this {TEXT} actually reads and interprets the name/email address you right-clicked. From now on you can play with this xml as you want and adding the specific actions you need. I'll look on how can I add actions that trigger Outlook components, for instance Creating a task for the email address that was right-clicked. Bottom line is that the whole process of adding these additional actions menu items is not that difficult, with a little research you can customize this menu to do exactly what you want.

If you want to read more about the smart tag creation from MSDN, you can visit the following links:
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa195475.aspx
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa195565.aspx