Outlook Categorizer Add-In

An Experimental Framework for Email Categorization and Management

Kenrick Mock
Last Updated: 9/3/2001


Many problems are difficult to adequately explore until a prototype exists in order to elicit user feedback.  One such problem is a system that automatically categorizes and manages email.  Due to a myriad of user interface issues, a prototype is necessary to determine what techniques and technologies are effective in the email domain.  This project comprises the implementation of an add-in for Microsoft Outlook 2000 (TM) that intends to address two problems with email:  1) help manage the inbox by automatically classifying email based on user folders, and 2) to aid in search and retrieval by providing a list of email relevant to the selected item.  This add-in represents a first step in an experimental system for the study of other issues related to information management.  The system has been set up to allow experimentation with other classification algorithms and the source code is available online in an effort to promote further experimentation.


This software has only been tested with Outlook 2000 and Windows 2000. Other combinations may not work.  The software will definitely not work with older versions of Outlook.  See the disclaimer for other legal mumbo jumbo!


The following papers provide context into the development of this software:

Mock, Kenrick (2001). "An Experimental Framework for Email Categorization and Management." 24th Annual ACM International Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval. September 9-13, 2001. New Orleans, LA. Microsoft Word or PDF.

Mock, Kenrick. (1999). "Dynamic Email Organization via Relevance Categories." International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI'99), November 1999, Chicago, IL. Microsoft Word.


As of 9/3/2001, the current prototype is version 0.1 

Instruction Manual (Microsoft Word)

Powerpoint overview

Binary distributables and Setup Program (no Src):   OLCatBinarySetup.zip  (5 Mb)

Source code only:  OLCatSource.zip  (380 Kb)

For installation instructions, see the README.TXT file in each respective zip file.  The source code is in a combination of Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0 and Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0, with the primary code developed in VB6.0. Sorry, there is currently not much in the way of developer documentation at this time!


The software prototype is currently just that -- a prototype.  It is nowhere close to product quality! The code is rough and many issues remain to be resolved.  Much work remains to be completed in code enhancements such as latching into additional Outlook events, database integration for classifiers, experimenting with new classifiers, or handling .NET or Office XP upgrades.   Nevertheless, the author hopes that this may be a fruitful starting point to further examine algorithms and techniques for automated email and information management.   Please report bugs, provide feedback, or ask for any assistance regarding the code, to Kenrick Mock at kenrick@uaa.alaska.edu.