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Outlook Missing Add-in Toolbar?

Tags: disable · missing · outlook add-in · toolbar

Maybe the most common nuissance related to Outlook add-ins is about missing the add-in toolbar (add-in options menu) from the main Outlook window. While on some cases it’s just that the toolbar is not placed in a visible location (so the user misses to see it), on most cases the add-in toolbar has simply gone missing. It doesn’t have to be missing from the first time: it may very well work fine for a while, then suddenly it is missing.

Why does it happen?

Most of the times, Outlook disables an add-in (and its toolbar) because it conflicts with a 3rd party add-in or because the add-in performed an action that caused Outlook to stop responding – thus Outlook disables the related add-in in order to prevent future crashes.

How can you bring back your add-in toolbar?

For Outlook versions up to Outlook 2003, you can quickly re-enable an add-in from the Outlook Help menu -> About Microsoft Office Outlook -> Disabled Items (check if the required add-in is listed there: if it is, select it, click on the Enable button, then restart Outlook).

For Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010, re-enabling an add-in requires you to open the Outlook Options window -> Addins -> check the “Disabled Application Add-ins” section. If your add-in is listed there, use the Manage button from the bottom of the screen to load the COM Add-ins manager: on its list, mark the checkbox related to your add-in, then exit with “OK” and restart Outlook.

A quick alternative for the above actions is to use the free Outlook Utility that gets installed with Bells & Whistles for Outlook. Even if you don’t want to use or pay for Bells & Whistles, you can still uninstall it and choose to keep the free Add-in Utility. You can use this tool to quickly enable/disable Outlook add-ins, no matter your Outlook version.

If the above solution doesn’t work, it means Outlook didn’t actually disable your add-in, so the add-in toolbar should get displayed. You should check your Outlook toolbars area (where the New/Reply or Send/Receive buttons are displayed): right click on an empty part of the toolbars area and you should get a contextual menu showing the available toolbars that you can display. See if your add-in toolbar is listed there – maybe it’s not marked to be displayed.

On the other hand, especially when you got very familiar with Outlook 2000/2002/2003 and you just upgraded to Outlook 2007 or 2010, it can happen to simply miss the add-in toolbar because on Outlook 2007/2010 the toolbar is now displayed by default as a separate ribbon entry. So you can be still looking for it on your toolbar icons area, but in fact it’s now displayed as a new ribbon menu.

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