Removing Web Add-in Ribbon Customization in Outlook for Windows

If you are following the latest updates the the OfficeJS API’s, you will see that PowerPoint, Excel and Word have this new feature that allows you to specify an equivalent COM add-in in place of the Web Add-in. Here is the link:  https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dev/add-ins/develop/make-office-add-in-compatible-with-existing-com-add-in

This is useful for when you have created a Web Add-in but it is not as feature rich as your COM add-in. So on the Windows clients, you still want your COM (or VSTO) solution to run there and not the web version of the add-in.

However, this feature has not yet arrived for Outlook. I am told that this is coming, but for now there really are only two workarounds.

If you are using Office 2016, you can set your manifest requirements to 1.5, like this:

    <Requirements>
      <bt:Sets DefaultMinVersion=”1.5″>
        <bt:Set Name=”Mailbox” />
      </bt:Sets>
    </Requirements>

If you are needing to support Outlook 2019 or Outlook for Office 365, then this easy trick will not work. So what you need to do is a bit more complicated. To start you need to collect some information first:

  1. Open Outlook, and verify that your web add-in customization has loaded.
  2. Go to File, Options, Customize Ribbon:options
  3. At the bottom, click Import/Export and select Export all customizations.
  4. Save the “customui” file to the desktop and then open it in Notepad.
  5. You will look for your customization and it will be in a group or a tab and contain an if like this: x1:Group_5febe0ec-e536-4275-bd02-66818bf9e191_msgEditGroup_TabNewMailMessage.
  6. Make note of this value, minus the namespace (x1:) and whether it is a customtab or a customgroup.

If this does not work for you a couple of other options are to add the Group to the Quick Access bar, by right-clicking on the group and selecting “Add to Quick Access.” This should help it appear in the customUI file. However, if this still does not work, you can make an “educated guess” at the name by using these steps:

  1. Open your manifest file in your Web Add-in and locate the ID:

    5febe0ec-e536-4275-bd02-66818bf9e191

  2.  Next, locate what you called the group in your manifest:

    < Group id=”msgEditGroup” >

  3. Finally, you need to determine which “Ribbon” it is on. This is a tad more complex, but since most following the “TabDefault” option, here are two defaults I know about, that could help you:
    • TabNewMailMessage
    • TabReadMailMessage
  4. From there you can build the Group identifier:

    Group_5febe0ec-e536-4275-bd02-66818bf9e191_msgEditGroup_TabNewMailMessage

  5. If you are working with a custom tab, you would look in your manifest and get the name of the custom tab:

    <CustomTab id=”myTab”>

  6. From there you can build your tab identifier:

    Tab_5febe0ec-e536-4275-bd02-66818bf9e191_myTab

The namespace is what makes this whole process a little harder than expected. This namespace is a UID for the Exchange Account to which the add-in was installed. And this ID is unique to every user and each email account in Outlook. What you will need to do is customize the Ribbon XML in your solution to then hide this group. I have created a solution here on github that shows how to do this end-to-end with a new add-in:

https://github.com/davecra/RemoveOfficeWebAddin

The primary functionality is found in the GetCustomUI function. Here is the function:

What this does is loads a file called RemovedCustomizations.txt from the install directory of the add-in. This file will contain entries like this:

5febe0ec-e536-4275-bd02-66818bf9e191
customgroup,TabNewMailMessage,Group_5febe0ec-e536-4275-bd02-66818bf9e191_msgEditGroup_TabNewMailMessage
customgroup,TabNewMailMessage,Group_5febe0ec-e536-4275-bd02-66818bf9e191_msgDesignGroup_TabNewMailMessage

Important to note, the first entry is the ID of your Web Add-in. This is used to create the namespace entry,

You will use the steps above, to build this list. This is a tad more complex than I had hoped it would be, so please let me know if you get stuck on any parts and/or if there are areas that you think I can elaborate more.

Visual Studio 2017: This is an invalid xsi:type… mailappversionoverrides/1.1:Event

If you have been using Visual Studio 2017 to create an Outlook Web Add-in and are trying to use the new ItemSend event, you will note per the documentation the you need to add the MailAppVersionOverrides 1.1 to your manifest:

<VersionOverrides xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/mailappversionoverrides/1.1" xsi:type="VersionOverridesV1_1">

The problem is that when you try to build and run the project, you get this exception:

Severity Code Description
Warning This is an invalid xsi:type ‘http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/mailappversionoverrides/1.1:Events&#8217;.

a

Specifically, Visual Studio 2017 does not like this line:

<ExtensionPoint xsi:type="Events">

If you are like me you have been hoping for an update to Visual Studio 2017 to fix this, but I just got word today that it did not get into the last update to Visual Studio 2017, but will make it into Visual Studio 2019. However, you do not need to run off and install Visual Studio 2019 once it is available. There is a workaround, and here are the steps to follow:

  • If you have an updated Exchange 2016 Server CU9 or later, you can browse to this folder:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Bin
  • Locate and copy the file MailAppVersionOverridesV1_1.xsd and copy it to a removable drive or a network share.
  • On your development machine, locate the existing MailAppVersionOverridesV1_1.xsd. It should be located here:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Enterprise\Xml\Schemas\1033
  • Rename the existing file to MailAppVersionOverridesV1_1.old.
  • Copy the version of the MailAppVersionOverridesV1_1.xsd you got from your Exchange Server here.

At this point you should be good to go.

But wait!?!?! You say you don’t have an Exchange Server? You use Office 365 and your instance of Exchange is up in the cloud? OK… Now this is not the “preferred” method, but it will get the job done. I created a GIST, and you can download it from here. wlEmoticon-hotsmile.png Simply view RAW, copy, open Notepad, paste, Save As: MailAppVersionOverridesV1_1.xsd, and then you have your file.

easyEws v1.0.10 Released

In this release I have incorporated two new functions to help with recipients (To/CC/BCC) and groups/distribution lists:

  • getAllRecipientsAsync() – helps you by getting all the unique recipients on the To/CC/BCC lines. It returns two lists in the callback:
    • A list of standard users
    • A list of groups
  • splitGroupsAsync() – accepts an array of groups (or Distribution Groups) and expands them to a unique set of users.

I have also corrected a few small bugs, like one with MailBoxUser (where Address was incorrectly JSDoc’d as Email).

I have also included a minified version of the library. So you can access easyEws.min.js in your code to reduce the download.

You can access it from:

 

Updated Outlook Web Add-in Sample

I will be presenting a demo at the MVP Summit 2018 for Outlook and also helping with some labs in Excel on the OfficeJS platform. In preparation, I updated my Outlook Sample on my GitHub. This sample was created in VSCode via a Yeoman template.

What the add-in does is a check of all users on the To/CC/BCC line, splits apart any groups (or groups in groups) and then checks to see if any of the user emails are external to your domain. If any external users are found it prompts you with dialog asking if you are sure you want to send:

Outlook Blocking Add-in

The updated add-in demonstrates:

  • The OnSend event
  • The use of dialogs
  • And the newly added ExpandDL function for Exchange Web Services through the makeEwsRequestAsync() call.

In this sample, I am using both of my libraries:

  • easyEws – to help with the ExpandDL call. Updated in a previous post.
  • OfficeJS.dialogs – to display the dialog you see above.

I also had to create a set of asynchronous functions and asynchronous recursive function calls to perform this work – which got a tad complex. For now all the code is in the function-file.js, but to help with splitting out all recipients and groups I might build this into a new library. For example, here is the function to recursively call itself asynchronously (splitting groups in groups in groups in groups…):

Anyway, I will be demonstrating this add-in and the functionality required at the MVP Summit. So if you are attending, I hope to see you there.

easyEws v1.0.9 Released

With recent changes to Exchange Online, the ExpandDL functionality has been added to the makeEwsRequestAsync function. As such this function, which was previously “advertised” in easyEws (but marked as **DO NOT USE**), now functions as designed.

To use the new function:

NOTE: AS of this writing (2/27/2018), this is NOT supported in Exchange 2016 (on-prem). It is to be released with CU9.

The update is posted to GitHub here: https://github.com/davecra/easyEWS.

You can also get v1.0.9 via NPM with the command: “npm update easyews”

Outlook Email Reporting Sample

I just posted a new Outlook sample on GitHub. I have created something very similar to this sample for a couple of customers now and have been using this as a template. What this sample does is place a button on the Ribbon for users to report suspicious email to the administrator. The user will get the option to select why they think it is suspicious as well as provide a comment. When they click Send, it will email the administrator. The email address which receives this notification is configured in the URL for the add-in page via the manifest XML.

Anyway, I wanted to share this basic sample with the community so others can use this to quickly implement similar solutions in their environment.

All the details for configuring the add-in are in the README.md. Here is the link the new sample: https://github.com/davecra/Outlook.ReportAddin. I also created this in VS Code.

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for other samples you would like to see.