Share files securely with NextCloud Outlook Add-in

The NextCloud Outlook Add-in is the most convenient way to share large files by email – without sending an email attachment. Most email servers limit attachments to a certain size, such as 25 MB – and this limit can be applied to both outgoing and incoming emails. If an email arrives at your domain with an attachment that’s larger than what your administrator (or email hosting provider) permits, the email will “bounce” back to the sender.

If your company has its own NextCloud server, problems with sending large attachments can be easily avoided by sending a shared link to the file(s) on your NextCloud instead. Sending files using NextCloud also provides you with more control than sending a regular email attachment. For example, you can set an expiration date after when access is automatically revoked to the files. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access to confidential information. Also, NextCloud simplifies two-way collaboration on documents by allowing the recipient to upload new revisions to a shared folder. If you integrated an office app such as Collabora Office or OnlyOffice with NextCloud, the collaborators can even edit in their browser in real-time without needing to download the document to their desktop. At a glance, you can see the revisions of the file, and revert to a previous revision if needed.

With NextCloud, no longer will you send email attachments back and forth with “final”, “final 2”, and so on back and forth with your colleagues. Even better, the NextCloud Outlook Add-in is a desktop application that can be installed with Outlook for Windows (including Office 365 editions) to upload & share links to files on a NextCloud server, without leaving the Outlook email client. The free version of the NextCloud Outlook Add-in is freeware (not open source) and is recommended for up to 50 users for small organizations. The free version provides all features except for custom branding, password protecting the shared file in Outlook, and forcing all attachments to be uploaded to NextCloud.

Installing the NextCloud Outlook Add-In

If you want to try the Outlook integration and do not already have NextCloud in your organization, contact us for a demo account on a testing NextCloud server. If you already have NextCloud, you can download the free version of the add-in directly.

Here is a quick walkthrough of how to install the NextCloud Outlook add-in, connect your NextCloud account, and securely secure files from Outlook.

There are two versions of the plugin, one for 32-bit installations of Outlook, and another for 64-bit installation of Outlook. Unless you or your workstation administrator specifically installed the 64-bit version of Outlook, the version downloaded by default (including from an Office 365 subscription) is the 32-bit version. Therefore, most users should download the 32-bit version of the NextCloud Outlook add-in.

Also, most issues with using the add-in can be avoided by downloading the latest version of the add-in from the above link. At the time of this writing, that is the 2019-04-10 release which we successfully integrated with Outlook 2019 on Windows 10 and NextCloud 17.0.2. Using an outdated version of the NextCloud Outlook add-in will result in problems authenticating to your NextCloud server – with a similar error message to “The settings are incorrect. Please check the server url, username and password.”

Once you’ve downloaded the .msi file, execute it to install the NextCloud Outlook add-in. Follow the steps in the installation wizard. Then, reopen Outlook. It should load the add-in, and prompt you to authenticate to a NextCloud user account.

Type in the address of your NextCloud server URL including https:// and the port number if running on anything other than port 443.

NextCloud Outlook Add-in first launch

After clicking Connect, a window will pop-up prompting you to login to your NextCloud account, and authorize the Outlook add-in to have access to it.

NextCloud Outlook Add-in - Grant access to NextCloud account

If the NextCloud Outlook add-in is properly enabled, you will see two additional options when composing a new message in Outlook – Upload files and Share public folder. When you attach a file using Upload files, a directory following the format of Outlook/Upload-Files/YYYYMMDD/unique ID is created in your NextCloud account. Likewise, when you create a public share using Share public folder, a directory like Outlook/Public-Share/YYYYMMDD/unique ID is created.

A message explaining what NextCloud is (a “private and secure file transfer environment”), and how the recipient can access the file(s) or public share that you sent is inserted into the email body.

NextCloud Outlook Add-in "Upload Files" option

NextCloud Outlook Add-in "Public Share" option

With the NextCloud Outlook add-in your users can greatly streamline their workflow by uploading and attaching large files using NextCloud, without leaving the comfort of their email client. If you want more information about deploying NextCloud for your organization, or the NextCloud Outlook integration, please get in touch.

There is a forum thread on the NextCloud community Discourse forum where users discuss their experiences using the NextCloud Outlook add-in, but if you require paid support with any aspect of NextCloud, our team of expert NextCloud consultants is pleased to provide that.