How to Use Outlook for Text Messages

By on Oct 24, 2013

Text messaging is becoming a popular way for agency staff to communicate with clients, prospects, and others they deal with on a daily basis. However, appropriately managing text messaging so that client information can be properly documented continues to be a major problem. Few agency management systems allow text messaging as an option for communicating with clients.

In this TechTips, I want to let you know about one option for text messaging that your agency might want to explore.

Microsoft Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, and Outlook 2013 have a built-in feature that allows users to add an account to send SMS messages from within the Outlook application. When you set up a new text messaging account within Outlook, you are given the option to connect the application with several SMS service providers.

The one I chose is SMSOfficer. With SMSOfficer, which is a plug-in for Outlook, you can send and receive text messages from your desktop email to cell phones. The service works with any cell phone carrier (but only with Outlook email).

Outlook Text Message Window

Outlook Text entry window

This service takes advantage of the OMS interface (Outlook Mobile Service) provided by Microsoft. Your SMS message gets sent to SMSOfficer’s servers, where they are turned into SMS messages and sent over the mobile carrier networks. Up until now, few other services in the U.S. took advantage of this capability.

To use the service you purchase credits—$33 for 500 and $63 for 1,000. A credit lets you send a text message up to 160 English characters or 70 non-English characters. If the person replies to your text message, it comes back into your Outlook inbox and costs you another credit. The company also offers the Business Control Panel solution, which allows business subscribers to purchase one bulk amount of credits and then share them among multiple corporate users.

The advantage of using Outlook for sending and receiving text messages is that they are a type of document that can be attached to the client file in your agency management system.

What tools are you using to manage text messaging in your office?


  1. OMS was eliminated in Outlook 2013. You cannot send SMS messages using Outlook 2013.

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