Customizable toolbars and menus were introduced in Outlook 98. (Toolbars and menus are treated as essentially the same thing.) Outlook adds-in written with C++ also can add items to the toolbar.
The toolbars remained virtually unchanged until Outlook 2007 introduced a hybrid ribbon interface, with standard toolbars in the main Outlook window and ribbons on the individual Outlook items (except for Notes). The toolbars can be customized in the same manner as previous versions: right-click in the toolbar area and choose Customize. The ribbon is not customizable, however a "Quick Access Toolbar" is customizable.
Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016
Outlook 2010 is the first version that completely eliminated the standard toolbars. Office 2010 adds the ability to easily customize the ribbon (along with the quick access toolbar) and export it as a backup or to share with others. The method is similar to the method used with Outlook 2007.
You cannot create hyperlinked buttons to launch forms or other applications from the ribbon or QAT. You can use a script to launch files or applications and assign the macro to a button. See Create Toolbar Buttons to Open Templates and Files for the necessary VBA and instructions.
Use the following steps to customize the ribbon or QAT in Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, or Outlook 2016:
- Click File, then Options
- Select either Customize ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar
- If you are adding a command to the ribbon, you'll need to add a new group to an existing tab or a new tab and a new group using the New Group and New Tab buttons.
- Find the command on the left and click Add to add it to the new group.
- Click Rename if you want to change the name or change the icon.
The Outlook 2007 ribbon is not easily customized. You need to create a new custom ribbon using XML to add buttons to the ribbon, however, you can add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in the top left. You can assign macros to the QAT but cannot launch forms or other applications from a QAT button. You are limited to the button icons provided by Outlook (unless you create a custom ribbon).
The standard toolbar in the main Outlook window is customizable. If you want to create buttons linked to files, see Create Toolbar Buttons to Open Templates and Files.
Office 2007's ribbon interface doesn't allow you to create custom toolbars as older versions of Office did, however, you can use the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) to bring your most used commands within easy reach.
The QAT is the row of buttons across the top of open Outlook items (messages, appointments, calendar, tasks, journal).
To add commands to the QAT, click the down arrow to the right of the bar and select More Commands from the menu. Select the commands you wish to add (or remove) and close the dialog when finished.
You can use Alt+n shortcuts with the commands on the QAT.
You can add a link to a particular form to the Microsoft Office toolbar using this command for the shortcut:
<path>\Outlook.exe /c IPM.MyForm
where <path> is the path to Outlook.exe on your machine and IPM.MyForm is the name of a form you have created and published to Personal Folders.
If you want to add a menu command to a particular type of item, this can be done by creating a custom form action. See Creating a "New Fax to Contact" Action for an example.