How-To Geek

Xobni Free Powers Up Outlook’s Search and Contacts

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
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Want to find out more about your contacts, discover email trends, and even sync Yahoo! email accounts in Outlook?  Here’s how you can do this and more with Xobni Free.

Email is one of the most important communications mediums today, but even with all of the advances in Outlook over the years it can still be difficult to keep track of conversations, files, and contacts.  Xobni makes it easy by indexing your emails and organizing them by sender.  You can use its powerful search to quickly find any email, find related messages, and then view more information about that contact with information from social networks.  And, to top it off, it even lets you view your Yahoo! emails directly in Outlook without upgrading to a Yahoo! Plus account.  Xobni runs in Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010, including the 64 bit version of Outlook 2010, and users of older versions will especially enjoy the new features Xobni brings for free.

Getting started

Download the Xobni Free installer (link below), and run to start the installation.  Make sure to exit Outlook before installing.  Xobni may need to download additional files which may take a few moments.


When the download is finished, proceed with the install as normal.  You can opt out of the Product Improvement Program at the end of the installation by unchecking the box.  Additionally, you are asked to share Xobni with your friends on social networks, but this is not required.


Next time you open Outlook, you’ll notice the new Xobni sidebar in Outlook.  You can choose to watch an introduction video that will help you quickly get up to speed on how Xobni works.


While this is playing, Xobni is working at indexing your email in the background.  Once the first indexing is finished, click Let’s Go! to start using Xobni.


Here’s how Xobni looks in Outlook 2010:


Advanced Email Information

Select an email, and now you can see lots of info about it in your new Xobni sidebar.


On the top of the sidebar, select the graph icon to see when and how often you email with a contact.  Each contact is given an Xobni rank so you can quickly see who you email the most.


You can see all related emails sorted into conversations, and also all attachments in the conversation, not just this email.


Xobni can also show you all scheduled appointments and links exchanged with a contact, but this is only available in the Plus version.  If you’d rather not see the tab for a feature you can’t use, click Don’t show this tab to banish it from Xobni for good.


Searching emails from the Xobni toolbar is very fast, and you can preview a message by simply hovering over it from the search pane.


Get More Information About Your Contacts

Xobni’s coolest feature is its social integration.  Whenever you select an email, you may see a brief bio, picture, and more, all pulled from social networks.


Select one of the tabs to find more information.  You may need to login to view information on your contacts from certain networks.


The Twitter tab lets you see recent tweets.  Xobni will search for related Twitter accounts, and will ask you to confirm if the choice is correct.


Now you can see this contact’s recent Tweets directly from Outlook.


The Hoovers tab can give you interesting information about the businesses you’re in contact with.


If the information isn’t correct, you can edit it and add your own information.  Click the Edit button, and the add any information you want.


You can also remove a network you don’t wish to see.  Right-click on the network tabs, select Manage Extensions, and uncheck any you don’t want to see.


But sometimes online contact just doesn’t cut it.  For these times, click on the orange folder button to request a contact’s phone number or schedule a time with them.


This will open a new email message ready to send with the information you want.  Edit as you please, and send.


Add Yahoo! Email to Outlook for Free

One of Xobni’s neatest features is that it let’s you add your Yahoo! email account to Outlook for free.  Click the gear icon in the bottom of the Xobni sidebar and select Options to set it up.


Select the Integration tab, and click Enable to add Yahoo! mail to Xobni.


Sign in with your Yahoo! account, and make sure to check the Keep me signed in box.


Note that you may have to re-signin every two weeks to keep your Yahoo! account connected.  Select I agree to finish setting it up.


Xobni will now download and index your recent Yahoo! mail.


Your Yahoo! messages will only show up in the Xobni sidebar.  Whenever you select a contact, you will see related messages from your Yahoo! account as well.  Or, you can search from the sidebar to find individual messages from your Yahoo! account.  Note the Y! logo beside Yahoo! messages.


Select a message to read it in the Sidebar.  You can open the email in Yahoo! in your browser, or can reply to it using your default Outlook email account.


If you have many older messages in your Yahoo! account, make sure to go back to the Integration tab and select Index Yahoo! Mail to index all of your emails.



Xobni is a great tool to help you get more out of your daily Outlook experience.  Whether you struggle to find attachments a coworker sent you or want to access Yahoo! email from Outlook, Xobni might be the perfect tool for you.  And with the extra things you learn about your contacts with the social network integration, you might boost your own PR skills without even trying!

If you’re interested in Xobni Plus check out our review of what it has to offer.


Download Xobni

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 05/13/10

Comments (7)

  1. keewhan

    I used Xobni in the past and found it really slowed Outlook down. The features were pretty useful, but not for the performance impact i got so I got rid.

  2. Jim

    So what you are saying is that it is like sense on my HTC HD2, sorting differing threads of conversations.

    You say “synchronising Yahoo”, but I don’t see how that is the case, because that implies two way. I already download my Yahoo emails received into Outlook. Yahoo stopped allowing me to save my sent emails which I used to import into outlook. Items I send from Outlook have no way I know of being integrated into the Yahoo sent folder.

    I’d welcome more before giving someone the potential to completely screw up my emails.

  3. mayagrafix

    Doesn’t work on Windows Live Mail. Oh well, back to the drawing board!

  4. Matthew Guay

    @Jim – Sorry for the confusion. Yahoo! Mail is synced to Outlook, but then Xobni uses your default Outlook account (whether this is an Exchange, Hotmail, Gmail, or other IMAP/POP3 account) to send mail, including replies to Yahoo! emails. This is because Yahoo! mail cannot fully integrate with Outlook by default. So it’s a workaround, and simply lets you read your Yahoo! mail in Outlook and search it along with your other email with Xobni’s indexed search. Hope this helps!

  5. Abhishek

    Ok. Where do 9 out of 10 people use Outlook?
    – Right – The office.

    How many out of those 9 have Administrator access on their workstation?
    – Lucky 3.

    What are the changes that Facebook, Yahoo Mail and Twitter are not blocked at the workplace?
    – Oops. Nil.

    Such a useful tool, rendered useless by company policies…

  6. Abhishek

    Damn typo – It’s chances and not changes.

  7. theo

    Outlook 2003

    I did not buy XOBNI and stopped using the free version a year ago because the impossibility to have my xobni contacts transferred to my outlook contacts
    1. for portability
    2. nobody seems to mention: to do mailings!!! using the mail merge merge

    I just uninstalled it again because nothing changed concerning the contact problem.

    Moreover, XOBNI creates problems for the normal functioning of Outlook
    1. the hassle of having outlook not closing well anymore
    2. outlook slowing down
    3. mail in my outbox becoming unsendable after you open the maibox: i have to paste copy the email to an new email.

    On top: you absolutely do not need the search function. It is not so unique as XOBNI tells us. I use the desktop search X1 which is so good I upgraded to the paying version (I was a little less happy with Copernic)

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