HOWTO: Automate Outlook Using Visual C++/MFC

ID: Q220600

The information in this article applies to:


You can programmatically control Microsoft Outlook using Microsoft Visual C++. This article demonstrates how to create contacts, create appointments, and send messages using Microsoft Outlook's object-model from Visual C++.


Follow the steps below to build and run the example:

  1. Start Visual C++ and create a new MFC EXE dialog-based application.

  2. Add a button to your dialog.

  3. Double-click the button to add a handler for it, and add the following code:
       // Start Outlook.
       // If it is already running, you'll use the same instance...
       _Application olApp;
       COleException e;
       if(!olApp.CreateDispatch("Outlook.Application", &e)) {
          CString str;
          str.Format("CreateDispatch() failed w/error 0x%08lx", e.m_sc);
          AfxMessageBox(str, MB_SETFOREGROUND);
       // Logon. Doesn't hurt if you are already running and logged on...
       NameSpace olNs(olApp.GetNamespace("MAPI"));
       COleVariant covOptional((long)DISP_E_PARAMNOTFOUND, VT_ERROR);
       olNs.Logon(covOptional, covOptional, covOptional, covOptional);
       // Create and open a new contact
       _ContactItem olItem(olApp.CreateItem(2));
       // Setup Contact information...
       olItem.SetFullName("James Smith");
       COleDateTime bdDate;
       bdDate.SetDate(1975, 9, 15);
       olItem.SetHomeAddress("111 Main St.\nCharlotte, NC 28226");
       // Save Contact
       // Create a new appointment
       _AppointmentItem olAppt(olApp.CreateItem(1));
       // Schedule it for two minutes from now...
       COleDateTime apptDate = COleDateTime::GetCurrentTime();   
       olAppt.SetStart((DATE)apptDate + DATE(2.0/(24.0*60.0)));
       // Set other appointment info...
       olAppt.SetSubject("Meeting to discuss plans...");
       olAppt.SetBody("Meeting with James to discuss plans.");
       olAppt.SetLocation("Home Office");
       // Save Appointment
       // Prepare a new mail message
       _MailItem olMail(olApp.CreateItem(0));
       olMail.SetSubject("About our meeting...");
          "Hi James,\n\n"
          "\tI'll see you in two minutes for our meeting!\n\n"
          "Btw: I've added you to my contact list!");
       // Send the message!
       AfxMessageBox("All done.", MB_SETFOREGROUND);

  4. Bring up the ClassWizard (Control-W) click the Automation Tab, and choose "From a type library" under the Add Class menu.

  5. In the dialog box that comes up, navigate to the directory where Outlook is installed, and choose the Outlook type library (see table below). Select all the items it finds, and click OK to have ClassWizard generate MFC wrapper classes for all of them:

  6. Outlook Version Type Library
    97 msoutl8.olb
    98 msoutl85.olb
    2000 msoutl9.olb
  7. Add the following just before the implementation of your button handler:
       #include "msoutl85.h"
       // Ole-initialization class.
       class OleInitClass {
          OleInitClass() {
          ~OleInitClass() {
       // This global class calls OleInitialize() at
       // application startup, and calls OleUninitialize()
       // at application exit...
       OleInitClass g_OleInitClass; 

  8. Compile and run the project. Once it has run, you should have a new contact named James Smith, an appointment scheduled in two minutes with a reminder to appear in one minute, and have sent a message to Also, because you added a birthday for your contact (9/15), a recurring event was added for your Outlook Calendar to remind you on that day.

Automating Microsoft Outlook 2000

You can use the sample code previously described to automate Outlook 2000 with one small change. The Outlook 97 Namespace class member has changed to _Namespace in Outlook 2000. To use the code above for automating Outlook 2000, change this line:

Namespace olNS(olApp.GetNames("MAPI")); 

_Namespace olNS(olApp.GetNames("MAPI")); 


For additional information about Automation of Outlook, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Q199870 HOWTO: Send a Message by Outlook Object Model with VC++

Q196776 FAQ: Office Automation Using Visual C++

© Microsoft Corporation 1999, All Rights Reserved.
Contributions by Joe Crump, Microsoft Corporation

Additional query words: _com_ptr_t import COleDispatchDriver CoCreateInstance

Keywords          : kbole kbAutomation kbMFC kbOutlookObj kbVC kbVC500 kbVC600 kbGrpDSO kbOffice2000 kboutlook2000 
Version           : WINDOWS:2000,98; :; winnt:5.0,6.0
Platform          : WINDOWS winnt 
Issue type        : kbhowto 

Last Reviewed: July 13, 1999