Delivering Executive Search Apps via Outlook

Outlook Add-ins and FileFinder – Your Options

FileFinder Anywhere – both Essentials and Premium editions – support both the old school and modern Outlook Add-ins. However, it’s important that you understand what is required to take advantage of them.

To use FileFinder inside the installed version of Outlook, you simply need Outlook installed. That’s it. To get the full benefit of FileFinder through a browser, you need Outlook to run on one of the following configurations:

Developing two separate Outlook Add-ins is expensive. We do it because we believe it is important that our clients are able to take full advantage of changing technology. We think it should be equally important to you!

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Why Two Outlook Apps Are Better Than One!

Executive Search systems have been taking advantage of the ability to deliver functionality through Outlook for more than a decade.

However, the development goalposts moved when Microsoft Launched Office 2013 a couple of years ago. For the first time, there were two ways of developing Add-ins for Outlook –the old fashioned ”COM Add-in” and the new Web apps.

All Add-ins developed prior to this date are examples of the first camp. That’s because, prior to Office 2013, Microsoft would not allow developers to integrate with Outlook in any other way. These old fashioned Add-ins cannot be simply ported to the new technology – a complete rewrite is required.

A brief history of Add-ins

With Outlook 2013, Microsoft took a new approach. As part of its new strategic focus on Office 365, going forward Add-ins would become an increasingly important part of the Office experience across devices. They would become available in both the Outlook Desktop app and the Outlook Web app. Old fashioned COM Add-ins are not Web-based – they are software – and so Microsoft needed to develop a new type of app – an “HTML5 Add-in”.

Old fashioned Add-ins would need to be rewritten entirely to support this model. As a result, Microsoft decided to continue to support the Legacy versions of the app but – going forward – the Web Add-in is the norm.

That’s why virtually any mainstream Add-in used by Outlook – think Uber, think Bing – is based on the new technology.

So, why does it matter to me?

Presumably Microsoft will not support old school Outlook Add-ins forever. However, they will probably continue to support them for a few years yet. So, it doesn’t matter which technology your executive search provider uses, right?


Microsoft reinvented Add-ins for a reason. This is not the place for a discussion of the benefits of Web apps versus Software – ask any of your CIO candidates for that – but it matters in this context because it will have a direct impact on your productivity.

There are three reasons for this:

How do you use email

If you only ever use email on an installed version of Outlook, and never through a Browser, never on a Mac, never at an airport then you can ignore the first. The new Add-ins work through the Browser version of Outlook. You don’t need Outlook installed to use it. If Outlook is always installed for you, this doesn’t matter.

How do you communicate

Even if you don’t use the Outlook Web app, you may wish to access your database out of the office. If you want to do that and you don’t have Outlook installed, how can you create an appointment? A task? How can you send an email and have it delivered as if sent by you?

Modern products – particularly, but not exclusively – browser products use Web Services. This means that a user can send an email or create a task without having Outlook installed locally. It will be logged in the database. It will appear in Outlook. Everything is done server side – which is techno speak for “as if by magic”. If your CRM doesn’t use Web Services in this way, it doesn’t communicate to Outlook unless Outlook is installed.

The future

If you are considering making a long term investment in Executive Search system, and support for Outlook is a big part of that, surely your safest bet is one that supports the old-fashioned Microsoft Add-ins and the modern Microsoft Add-in, rather than one that was developed before Microsoft moved the goalposts?

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