Exchange and Outlook UPDATE, Outlook Edition--brought to you by Exchange & Outlook Administrator, the print newsletter with practical advice, how-to articles, tips, and techniques to help you do your job today. http://www.exchangeadmin.com
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April 22, 2003--In this issue:
1. COMMENTARY - Personal DLs, Part 2
2. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Get the eBook That Will Help You Get Certified! - Sample Our Security Administrator Newsletter!
3. RESOURCE - Tip: Merging Contacts Without Duplication
4. NEW AND IMPROVED - Enforce Corporate IM Policies
5. CONTACT US See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
* PERSONAL DLs, PART 2
This week, I continue last week's look at personal distribution lists (DLs). One question I'm frequently asked is whether it's possible to use a personal DL to send a message to a group of people but remove one or two names before the message goes out.
If you work offline with an Exchange Server mailbox or have configured your non-Exchange profile so that it doesn't send messages immediately, you can edit a message in the Outbox to remove a few recipient names before Outlook sends the message on to the mail server. When you open the message, you'll see that Outlook has already expanded the DL to show the individual members. After you remove recipients, click Send to return the message to the Outbox so that Outlook can transmit it to the mail server during your next send/receive session.
Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, currently in public beta and due for release this summer, will make removing a few recipients a lot easier. When you add a personal DL as a recipient, Outlook 2003 displays a plus sign (+) next to the list name. When you click the plus sign, Outlook 2003 expands the personal DL to show all the member recipients, so you can delete any you don't need then and there.
Did you know that personal DL members don't need to be Outlook contacts? The Distribution List form has two buttons for adding new members. The Select Members button lets you choose from entries in any address list, including the Exchange Server Global Address List (GAL). Using the Add New button, you can add members--and either add their addresses only in the DL or check the "Add to contacts" button to add them in both the DL and the Contacts folder.
One advantage of adding a contact for a new DL member instead of keeping the member's address just in the DL is that this practice makes updating the DL easier if the address changes. (If the contact is a member of multiple DLs and his or her address changes, you can make the change one time in a contacts folder rather than in multiple DLs.) When you update a contact address, Outlook doesn't automatically update that address in any DLs of which that contact is a member, but the Distribution List form box does provide an Update Now button that you can click to initiate an update of the DL with any changed member addresses.
A personal DL member can link to an item in any contacts folder that's enabled as an Outlook address book. However, if you move or delete the item, you break its link with the DL member. The next time you click Update Now, Outlook will give you the option of removing the member from the DL. If you choose No, Outlook converts the DL member into a member not linked to a contact and attempts no further updates.
One final tip for working with personal DLs: If you have a large DL with many addresses not linked to contacts and you want to create contacts from those addresses, you can export the contents of the DL by using the File, Save As command to save it as a .txt file. Then open the file in Notepad and delete everything except the member list and save the file. You now have a tab-delimited file of names and addresses that you can import into Outlook or even use as the data source for a Word mail merge, if you want to send individual messages to everyone in the DL.
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* TIP: MERGING CONTACTS WITHOUT DUPLICATION
Q: Before I learned that I can use categories to organize Outlook contacts, I created multiple contacts folders. How can I merge these contacts into Outlook's Contacts folder without creating duplicates?
A: I know of no magic built-in procedure to intelligently consolidate multiple contacts folders into one. I recommend this approach:
1. Drag all the items from one of your contacts folders into the main Contacts folder, and let Outlook's automatic duplicate detection merge the data. 2. Display contacts in a table view (such as the Phone List view), sorted by the Modified date in descending order. 3. Select all the contacts you just modified. 4. Right-click the selected contacts, and choose Category. 5. Add a category that corresponds to the folder from which you copied the contacts (e.g., Prospects, if the source folder held business prospects), then click OK.
You can repeat the process for each of your other folders, using the appropriate category in Step 5 for each one. You can't add the category before moving the items into the main Contacts folder because Outlook doesn't merge categories when it merges other data from duplicate items.
Note that Outlook's duplicate checker won't work if your contacts folders use custom forms. Also, the checker won't copy any notes from the large blank field at the bottom of a contact to its duplicate contact. If one of a pair of duplicate contacts has notes, you can open both versions of the contact and copy the notes from one version to the other.
See the Exchange & Outlook Administrator Web site for more great tips from Sue Mosher. http://www.exchangeadmin.com
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