Outlook Tips and Techniques - 05 Jun 2000

We want to disable the autoforward rule in Outlook 2000 and Outlook 98. Can we tweak the Registry to disable only this type of rule?

You turn off automatic rule-based forwarding on your Exchange Server rather than on your Outlook clients. Savvy administrators know that the Internet Mail Service's (IMS's) Advanced Options dialog box contains the Disable Out Of Office Responses to the Internet and Disable Automatic Replies to the Internet options. You also need to set the server's HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ Services\MSExchangeIMC\Parameters\AlwaysAllowForwarding REG_DWORD Registry key to 0 so that the server will never permit forwarding by a rule. (The Microsoft article "XFOR: Internet Mail Service Does Not Allow Auto Forwarded Messages" at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q192/9/82.asp describes this Registry value.)

In our construction company, we use a public folder to schedule concrete pour dates. However, project supervisors are booking too many pours on some dates. Can we see the scheduler's name and the item's creation date so that we can figure out who isn't planning ahead?

When you want to see additional information from a Calendar folder, consider using a custom table-type view rather than the standard Day/Week/Month view. A table view lets you see more fields than just the date, title, and location. For example, you can see who created an item and when the person created it. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose View, Current View, Define Views.
  2. On the Define Views dialog box, click New.
  3. On the Create a New View dialog box, give the view a name and select This folder, visible to everyone. Click OK.
  4. On the View Summary dialog box, click Fields.
  5. Select All Appointment fields from the Select available fields from drop-down list at the bottom of the Show Fields dialog box.
  6. Click Add or Remove to customize the field list in the table display. You want to use, at a minimum, these fields: Subject, Location, Start, End, Created, and Organizer.
  7. Click OK twice to return to the Define Views dialog box.
  8. Click Apply View to switch the public folder to your new view.

In the new view, the Created column shows the date and time of each item's creation. The Organizer column shows the mailbox display name of the person who created the appointment.

Table views are also immensely useful for bulk copying or bulk moving items. These views' main limitation is that they don't display every instance for a recurring appointment. Instead, you see the appointment only once in the list.

How can I forward multiple calendar appointments to a user or distribution list (DL), instead of forwarding one appointment at a time?

To select more than one appointment, hold down the Ctrl key and click each desired appointment. Then, release the Ctrl key, right-click one of the selected appointments, and choose Forward Items from the pop-up menu; or click the Actions menu and choose either Forward, Forward as iCalendar (in Outlook 2000), or Forward as vCalendar (in Outlook 98). The iCalendar and vCalendar choices send the appointments as attachments that other calendar programs support.

One of our users noticed that if she moves a sent message before she gets a receipt, she never sees a Tracking tab on the message. Does she need to follow certain rules when she deals with receipts?

The basic rule is that Outlook processes and tracks receipts on a Tracking tab only for messages in the Sent Items folder. If you move the message to another folder, Outlook doesn't process a read or delivery receipt for that item.

This rule makes sense from a performance standpoint. If Outlook permitted receipt tracking for all folders, it would need to search all your mailbox folders for a matching message when a receipt arrived. Restricting receipt tracking to the Sent Items folder lets Outlook work more efficiently.

I designed a new form and an Outlook 2000 Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro and put the macro on a toolbar button inside the form. I published the form to the Organization Forms Library, but other people don't see the toolbar button and can't run my macro. Where does Outlook save buttons that I add to the toolbar?

Whew! You're customizing three completely unrelated parts of Outlook: forms, toolbars, and VBA. Outlook stores each of those customizations in a different place.

Forms have been around since Outlook 97. To make forms available to everyone, publish them to the Organization Forms Library or to a public folder's forms library.

Toolbar customization arrived with Outlook 98. Toolbar changes are local to the user; Outlook stores these customizations in a file named outcmd.dat in the application data\microsoft\outlook folder under the user's profile folder.

Outlook 2000 users who have been working with VBA will also see a vba project.otm file, which contains the user's VBA modules and forms, in the user's profile folder. VBA customizations are also local to the user.

Outlook definitely doesn't save toolbar button customizations with a custom form. If you want to customize Outlook 2000 to provide a toolbar button that runs your code, consider a COM add-in. (For more information about creating COM add-ins, see http://www.slipstick.com/dev/comaddins.htm. Also, the site at http://www.microeye.com/outlook/itemscb.htm contains a great Items Command Bar example with source code that shows you how to add buttons to the main Outlook toolbar.)

Can Outlook's Select Names dialog box sort the Global Address List (GAL) by last name but show first name then last name as the display name in messages?

People are likely to want to look up other users in the address book by their last name but see a friendlier name in their outgoing messages. Unfortunately, I don't know of any method that permits this arrangement. The Select Names dialog box and messages' recipient fields both depend on the display name that you set for each GAL entry.

One workaround might be to maintain the display name in first name, last name order but show users how to use Find in the address book to look up someone by the person's last name or how to type the last name in the To field and let Outlook resolve the name.

If we have 10 people in a GAL DL, can a user temporarily edit the DL to reach only 5 of the members?

Permitting users to edit the DL isn't the solution. You need to show users how to copy recipients from a DL list to their messages' To fields:

  1. Create a new message, then click To to display the Select Names dialog box.
  2. Right-click the DL from the list of recipients on the left, then choose Properties.
  3. Go to the General tab, and select the desired names from the Members list, as Figure 1 shows.
  4. Click To.
  5. Click Yes when Outlook asks, "Do you want to add the selected users?"
  6. Click OK. The To box on the Select Names dialog box now shows the names you selected in step 3.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 for each applicable DL, then click OK to return to your message.

If users can't see the DL membership, you need to use Microsoft Exchange Administrator to update the GAL entry in the site where the DL is located. On the DL's Advanced tab, clear the Hide from address book and Hide membership from address book check boxes.

How can I give users an image-file-sharing option that doesn't involve sending 30MB attachments with email messages?

You need a shared storage location in which users can put image files that they need to share (e.g., an image that a supervisor needs to approve). The storage location could be an Exchange Server public folder or a folder on a network volume. Which option works best for your organization might depend in part on the permissions granularity that you require. Public folders support access control only at the folder level, so consider using a folder on an NTFS volume when you need to set permissions on individual files.

If you use public folders, users can insert shortcuts to files or items after you set up the shared location (or locations, if you need to segregate data for different users). To insert a file, users select Insert, File, then choose Shortcut from the Insert as drop-down list on the Insert, File dialog box. To insert a shortcut to an Outlook item, users choose Insert, Item from the Outlook menu.

Users might encounter one problem: HTML and plaintext message formats don't support the addition of shortcuts through menu commands. Don't let this problem stop you. Users can still type in hyperlink shortcuts such as these:

<file://server\sharedfiles\myfiles\image1.tif>
<file://S:\myfiles\image1.tif>

Recipients who use Outlook can click such hyperlinks to open files. Note that for a drive-letter shortcut to work, all recipients must have the same drive-letter mapping. This rule also holds true for shortcuts that users insert with the Insert, File command.

How can I find out whether anyone is reading the items in a public folder (revisited)?

In the November 1999 issue, I suggested a way to add two fields and a few lines of code to a form to make it track the first time a user read an item in a public folder and the last time a user opened the item. Reader Enrique Maldonado writes that when you implement this scheme, each time a user opens an item, other users see it as unread. (Exchange Server tracks the read/unread state for each user and shows changed items as unread.)

One workaround is to disable the folder's read/unread tracking. (The Microsoft article "XADM: Disabling Per-user Read/Unread Properties on a Public Folder after Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 2" at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q215/3/35.asp describes this process.) You might find that this solution has a pleasant side effect: Operations on the folder speed up because Exchange Server no longer needs to track the folder's read/unread state for each user and view.

How can users check the size of their mailboxes (revisited)?

In response to this question in the March 2000 issue, reader Rob Hutter wonders whether users can use the Folder Size button in Outlook 2000 or Outlook 98 to check the size of an entire mailbox rather than just one folder. To check the size of your entire mailbox in Outlook 2000 or Outlook 98, right-click the Outlook Today folder (or its shortcut on the Outlook Bar) and choose Properties. On the Properties dialog box, you'll see the same Folder Size button that you see on a folder's Properties dialog box. Click this button to calculate the size of the entire mailbox. Rob also reminds us that the Microsoft BackOffice Resource Kit (BORK) contains a Server Space utility for checking mailbox size.

We've enabled Deleted Item Recovery in Exchange Server 5.5. How do users recover the deleted items (revisited)?

In response to this question in the April 2000 issue, reader Vikas Vedak adds that the Microsoft Knowledge Base contains several excellent articles about Deleted Item Recovery. For administrators who want to implement this feature, the following articles are a must-read:

  • "XCLN: Understanding Deleted Item Recovery" at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q228/9/34.asp
  • "XADM: Recovering Deleted Items from a Public Folder" at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q180/1/17.asp
  • "XADM: Clients Cannot Recover Items After Item Recovery Is Enabled" at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q175/2/63.asp
  • "XADM: Understanding Deleted Item Retention and Message Deletion Process" at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q249/6/80
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