Access your Email within Outlook (Pt 1 of 3) C#

Category: .NET Framework

Access your Email within Outlook - Part One of Three


This is an introduction to Microsoft Outlook and its accessible properties and methods you can access through C#.  We will not be working with the entire set of properties and methods, just the properties that can be attributed to an email.  We will be showing you how to access your Outlook email through C# and how to display that information on a screen

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In this article we will be working with Microsoft Outlook and its accessible properties and methods.  We will be inserting a reference to the Outlook Namespace and accessing the Inbox to see if we can locate an email.  If we find an email we will then go ahead and display the first email we find, and even display the name of the first attachment in that email.
Here are the properties that we will be working with in this example:



  • Subject
  • Body
  • Attachment Name
  • Sender Name
  • Sender Email Address
  • Email creation Date

Development Environment

Before you can start using the Outlook Properties in this example we have to make sure that you have a reference to the Outlook file.
If you are using Outlook/Office 2003 or Outlook/Office 2007, you should run the office install and choose .NET Programmability Support for version 2.0. For Office XP, you can download the necessary files from here.
To change the Office features and settings you need to go to the “Control Panel” and select “Uninstall or change a Program”.  This will bring you to the following screen in Fig. 1.

Screen shot of Uninstall or change a Program screen. Fig. 1

[Click to see full-size]

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You want to right mouse click on the Office entry and select the “Change” option.  This will bring you to the following screen in Fig. 2.
Screen shot of the “Installation Options”. Fig. 2

[Click to see full-size]

If this option is not installed on your system you will need to install this option before continuing with any of the following steps, because they will not work until this feature has been installed.


The next step is to add a reference to the dynamic link library for Outlook which is called Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook.dll.  Please refer to Fig. 3.
Screen shot of “References” in the solution. Fig. 3

[Click to see full-size]

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This is done by selecting “References” in your solution and right mouse clicking on it and selecting “Add a Reference”.  At this point you will see the following screen as in Fig. 4.
Screen shot of “Add Reference” screen. Fig. 4

[Click to see full-size]

When you have selected the correct reference you select the “OK” button and this reference will be added to your project under references.

Next Up

You have now completed all of the prerequisites for this example.  In the next article we will start to build the application to access your Outlook Email.

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  • How to change the Outlook Features needed for this example
  • How to add the Outlook Reference to your Project

Continue reading Part 2 here


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