Darren Sim's Code Focus Blog

  • Creating an Outlook Message File with C#

    I've been working with a government agency lately, and came to notice that the software system they're using dates back to the stone ages. Many a time, the head of department is required to send an email to other head of departments within the same organization, each with a similar content, yet with attachment of nominal roll of folks under each of the departments (PS: HR Stuff).

    On every occasion that I observe, this poor balding guy has to create a template in outlook and copy it 20 times, adding the list of recipients to the individual MSG file and attaching the relevant set of excel/word document file for each of these departments.

    Of course, as a software engineer, the first thing on the mind is definitely, "AUTOMATION"!

    Microsoft Office Outlook does have an interop dll which specifically allows for this to be done, easily! Another altanative would definitely be making use of Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO).

    To save you the trouble of looking for this DLL, i've attached a copy to this blogpost.

    1. To begin, let's first create a C# Winforms Project in Visual Studio.

    2. Next, let's add the reference to the interop DLL (attached on this blog post). You should see something like the following.

    3. For the purpose of this tutorial, we'd create a simple windows form which takes in the mail receipient, subject, message and attachment fields. Once you're familiar with how the code (which we'd discuss later), you can work more magic around this (e.g. creating automation processes)

    Note: The Importance ComboBox should have the following values "High","Normal" and 'Low".

    4. Next step, is to wire up the code-behind for the Save Button. It's optional whether you want to register the Outlook Interop in the namespace or not. In this example, I do not so so, thus qualifying the full path in the code (below).

    // Creates a new Outlook Application Instance
    Outlook.Application objOutlook = new Outlook.Application();

    // Creating a new Outlook Message from the Outlook Application Instance
    MailItem mic = (Outlook.MailItem)(objOutlook.CreateItem(Outlook.OlItemType.olMailItem));

    // Assigns the "TO", "CC" and "BCC" Fields
    mic.To = toTextBox.Text;
    mic.CC = ccTextBox.Text;
    mic.BCC = bccTextBox.Text;

    // Assigns the Subject Field
    mic.Subject = subjectTextBox.Text;

    // Switch the Importance ComboBox to identify the Mail Message Importance Level
            case "High":
                    mic.Importance = Outlook.
            case "Normal":
                    mic.Importance = Outlook.

            case "Low":
                    mic.Importance = Outlook.

    // Define the Mail Message Body. In this example, you can add in HTML content to the mail message body
    mic.HTMLBody = messageTextBox.Text;

    // Adds Attachment to the Mail Message.
    // Note: You could add more than one attachment to the mail message.
    // All you need to do is to declare this relative to the number of attachments you have.
    OlAttachmentType.olByValue,1,"Attachment Name");

    // Save the message to C:\demo.msg. Alternatively you can create a SaveFileDialog to
    // allow users to choose where to save the file
    @"C:\demo.msg", Outlook.OlSaveAsType.olMSG);

    Easy isn't it? Besides creating mail messages, you can also create other outlook items such as task, calendar objects and more. More to come in the future posts. Do let me know your comments/views on this post.



     Tutorial in PDF Format (http://darrensim.com/files/folders/presentations/entry9679.aspx)

     Interop.Outlook (http://darrensim.com/files/folders/presentations/entry9680.aspx)