TweakOL: Change undocumented Microsoft Outlook features

TweakOL allows you to modify undocumented Microsoft Outlook 2000 and 2003 settings. Get the TweakOL download link and learn about the features you can change using this free administration tool.

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Microsoft Outlook 2000 and 2003 have a slew of undocumented features. Unfortunately, for the novice or harried user, they're not always that easy to get to or work with.

McDaniel Development (see link for download instructions) has created TweakOL and TweakOL 2003, a pair of programs that allow you to modify the undocumented settings in Microsoft Outlook 2000 and 2003, respectively. (Both versions of TweakOL are available for free, but a $1 donation is encouraged.)

TweakOL lets you change the following settings, among others:

  • Attachment security: Microsoft Outlook prevents you from opening attachments designated as "dangerous"--.EXE files, .ZIP archives, and many others. This is sometimes more of an annoyance than anything else, especially when you already have some variety of protection against malicious attachments already in place. This setting lets you open any attachment in Microsoft Outlook without restrictions.
  • MSN integration: Outlook integrates with Microsoft Messenger by default, a feature that many people find more intrusive and troublesome than useful (especially if they don't use Microsoft Messenger to begin with!). This is not an undocumented feature per se, but without TweakOL, turning it off requires wading through a number of submenus.
  • View plain text only: This feature forces all incoming messages to be displayed as plain text. This is useful if you don't like HTML-formatted email, or if you want to do this as a security measure.
  • More Microsoft Outlook tools and resources:

    The Microsoft Outlook Toolbox

    Microsoft Outlook and Exchange administration tools

    Microsoft Outlook Reference Center

  • Minimize to try: Whether or not Microsoft Outlook minimizes to an icon in the system tray is controlled by this setting.
  • Delete Nickname cache (TweakOL 2003 only): The nickname cache in Microsoft Outlook 2003 is a list of recipient nicknames automatically generated by user feedback. If the cache is corrupted, names may no longer display correctly in the address fields of email; the solution is to delete the cache. This feature automates that process.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.

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This was first published in September 2005

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