TeamCompanion 3.0 - Ribbon Extensibility in Outlook 2010


Ribbon extensibility is an enhancement that enables users to organize related commands in the form of customized tabs on the Outlook 2010 ribbon. You can populate Outlook 2010's ribbon tabs with any combination of custom groups consisting of available commands. Ribbon extensibility enables you to radically reduce the time you spend on switching between tabs to find commands. As shown in the following example, you can group together your most frequently used TeamCompanion commands all in one place!

Suppose that we would like to create a group on the Home tab of the Outlook 2010 ribbon as depicted below:


 
What follows is a step by step guide showing you how to do this.

Open Outlook 2010 and choose File > Options > Customize Ribbon. The dialog shown below will appear:


 
Let's first create a new group. To add a new group to a particular tab, select that tab from the list on the right of the dialog and then click New Group. The new group added will be given the default name of “New Group (Custom)”. To give it a different name, select it from the list and then click Rename. Enter its name and optionally select a symbol and then click OK. In our example, we will create a new group under Home (Mail) and give it the name „TeamCompanion Favorites“:

If at a later time we want to delete this group, we can simply select it and then click Remove.

Now, let's add some commands to our custom group. From the „Customize commands from” drop-down list, select Main Tabs. If not already selected, select the custom group that we created earlier. To add a command, all you have to do is select it from the list on the left of the dialog and then click Add. In our example, we will add the Add Work Item command from under TeamCompanion > General. Add Work Item appears under our custom group in the list on the right of the dialog:

Latter we might decide to delete a command that we previously added. To remove a command, we simply select it from the list on the right and then click Remove.

We add the Search Work Items command in the same way we added the Add Work Item command. We press OK and our custom group appears in the Home tab of the Outlook 2010 ribbon as shown below:

Now, we will go through the process of adding the same TeamCompanion commands to the Quick Access Toolbar.

Choose File > Options > Quick Access Toolbar and then select TeamCompanion Tab from the „Choose commands from” drop-down list on the left of the dialog:


 
To add a command to the Quick Access Toolbar simply select it from the list on the left and then press Add. Let's add the Add Works Items and Search Work Items commands to the Quick Access Toolbar. After pressing OK, what we get is the following:


 
Both commands now appear in the Quick Access Toolbar.

Evidently, Outlook 2010's ribbon provides more flexibility than does the Quick Access Toolbar. The disadvantages of Outlook 2010's ribbon over the Quick Access Toolbar are complexity of configurability and non-editability of existing groups. The Quick Access Toolbar offers more simplicity of configurability, but the small size of its buttons makes them hard to recognize and click.

Ribbon extensibility in TeamCompanion 3.0 fully harnesses the power of Outlook 2010's ribbon functionality, thereby greatly improving the TeamCompanion 3.0 user experience.

 

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