Published on Dec 14, 2013. 2 minute read.

It has traditionally been quite painful to interact with any part of the Microsoft Office product family from a C# application, but thanks to the introduction of dynamics and optional parameters over recent years, the process has dramatically improved.

Step 1 - Prerequisites and Assembly References

Before doing anything, it is important to note that you must have Microsoft Office 2013 installed for this to work. Seems obvious, but, its still worth mentioning. You also need two references;


The quickest way to add these references to your project is to right click on the References folder in your project, and click Add Reference. The Reference Manager dialog window will appear as shown below;

Reference Manager
Reference Manager

  1. Click the COM tab
  2. Type Outlook into the search box
  3. Tick Microsoft Outlook 15.0 Object Library
  4. Click OK

You should now see that the appropriate references have been added to your project;


Step 2 - Using Directives and Initialization

Next, add the appropriate using directives to your code file.

using Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook;
using OutlookApp = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook.Application;

The second directive is a recommendation to avoid ambiguity with other classes with the name Application. In the constructor of your application (or wherever you want this code to go), create an instance of the Outlook Application and create a new MailItem object, as shown;

OutlookApp outlookApp = new OutlookApp();
MailItem mailItem = outlookApp.CreateItem(OlItemType.olMailItem);

Step 3 - Format and display the email to the user

Finally you can begin to flesh out your email.

mailItem.Subject = "This is the subject";
mailItem.HTMLBody = "<html><body>This is the <strong>funky</strong> message body</body></html>";

//Set a high priority to the message
mailItem.Importance = OlImportance.olImportanceHigh;

And to display the email, simply call the Display method;


There are literally dozens of things you can do to an Outlook Email, including adding attachments, business cards, images, recipient, CC/BCC fields.


To create an Outlook 2013 email from C#, simply add the Microsft Outlook 15.0 Object Library to your solution, add the appropriate using directives, create a new Application object, and MailItem object, and flesh out your email. When ready, simply call MailItem.Display(false) to show the email to the user. Please leave a comment below if you found this post useful


Jon Preece

About the author

Jon Preece is a professional front-end development specialist.

For over a decade, Jon has worked for some of the biggest and best UK based companies, on a wide range of products. Get in touch via Twitter.