Outlook Tips and Techniques - 01 May 1999

How can I remove the To and Cc addresses from an Outlook item before printing it?

This question often comes up in organizations that are still making the transition from Microsoft Mail to Microsoft Exchange Server and that use large distribution lists (DLs). The names of the recipients can take up a page or more. In the long run, you can ease the problem by using Exchange Server-based DLs, which don't show their membership in printouts, and using the Bcc field for personal DLs.

However, if you already have a couple of these items with many entries in the To and Cc fields in your Inbox and need to print them, you can use some tricks to suppress the recipient list. One technique is to use File, Save As to save the item as a Rich Text Format (.rtf) file, and then open it in Microsoft Word or WordPad. The message looks essentially the same, and you can delete the To and Cc paragraphs or anything else you don't need in your printout.

A second method is to use a property of Outlook forms that lets you designate fields for printing. In Outlook 97, open the message you want to print, and then choose Tools, Design Outlook Form. Right-click the To addresses, choose Properties, and then switch to the Validation tab, which you see in Screen 1. At the bottom of the dialog box, clear the Include this field for Printing and Save As check box. Clear the same check box for the Cc address, if you like. Now, choose Tools, Design Outlook Form to return to the original message. When you print the message, the printout won't include any field whose Include this field check box you cleared. When you close the item, you can either save it with the To field suppressed for printing or say No to the save changes prompt and keep the item as it was. (Many thanks to Jose Durazo at Microsoft for this tip.)

In Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000, you need to add the extra step of closing and saving the item. Choose Tools, Forms, Design This Form to enter design mode. Modify the Include this field property as I just described. Then, close the form, and answer Yes when Outlook asks you whether you want to save changes. Now you can print the item with the To field suppressed.

Can I use Outlook to print reports in neatly formatted columns?

Many of us groan occasionally about Outlook's limited print customization capability, but the report writer is quite good for some simple tasks. To help you understand what it can do, I've written the following "Simple Outlook Reports 101," an explanation of how to print column-format reports in Outlook.

  1. Create a customized table view of the folder that shows only the fields you want to print.
  2. Choose View, Format View in Outlook 97. In Outlook 98 or Outlook 2000, choose View, Customize Current View, Other Settings. Clear the Automatic column sizing check box in the Other Settings dialog box or the Format Table View dialog box, which you see in Screen 2. Disabling this feature is the secret to being able to adjust the column widths to fill a whole page; otherwise, they keep adjusting to the screen, leaving a lot of white space on the right when you print.
  3. While you're in the Format Table View or Other Settings dialog box, adjust the style of the grid lines as desired. If you don't want any grid lines, make them white. Click OK to return to the table view or settings window.
  4. Adjust the column widths to show all the data you want. Remember that you won't get any line wrapping.
  5. Choose File, Print. In the Print dialog box, click Define Styles. Select Table Style, and then click Copy to make a copy of the basic style, which you can alter.
  6. In the Page Setup dialog box, do the following:
    • On the Format tab, give the style a more descriptive name and adjust the column heading and row fonts.
    • On the Paper tab, set the page size, choose Portrait or Landscape, and adjust the margins.
    • On the Header/Footer page, give the report a title and other information, adjusting fonts as desired.

    Click OK when you're finished.

  7. Back in the Print dialog box, use the Preview button to see how close you are. You'll probably need to tweak column widths and fonts. Click Close to return to the view, and repeat steps 4 through 6 as needed. Eventually, the combination of the custom view and the custom print style will give you a decent tabular report.

If these steps seem too tedious and inflexible, try this technique: In your folder view, select all the items you want to appear in the table, use Ctrl+C to copy them, and then paste them into an empty Microsoft Excel worksheet.

What's the difference between an Outlook form and a template?

Forms and templates both let you create customized Outlook messages and other items. The differences come down to storage and usage.

You always publish forms in one of the forms libraries. (See the next question for an explanation of forms libraries.) Outlook saves templates as separate .oft files anywhere in the file system, usually in \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates or the Outlook subfolder there.

Users can run forms and templates several ways:

  • In Outlook 97, use the Compose, Choose Form or Compose, Choose Template command.
  • In Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000, choose Tools, Forms, Choose Form. The user can choose from both templates and forms in a Choose Form dialog box, as you see in Screen 3.
  • For forms published in folders, choose the form name from the Actions menu.
  • For forms designated the default for a folder, click the New button for the folder

If the form or template has Visual Basic Script (VBScript) code behind it and if you store the form as an .oft template file, users see an Enable/Disable Macros dialog box each time they use the template. This dialog box doesn't appear for published forms. Outlook assumes that, because you published it, you know that the content is safe to run.

Can you describe the different form libraries?

When you publish a form, you store it in a particular forms library. Table 1, page 8, shows the three types of Outlook forms libraries.

You find the Organization Forms library in the Microsoft Exchange Administrator program under Folders, System Folders, EFORMS REGISTRY. Use Tools, Forms Administrator to add a library or to expand the list of available forms to include forms in different languages.

You can't publish forms to the Organization Forms library unless the systems administrator grants you permission. You can always publish to the Personal Forms library, which is stored in your Exchange Server mailbox, because the Personal Forms library is yours. Publishing forms to folders again involves permissions. You must be the owner of a folder to publish forms to that folder.

If you create a form, publish it to the Personal Forms library, and then later make modifications and publish it to the Organization Forms library, you still have the copy in the Personal Forms library. Outlook always looks in Personal Forms first, so it will find the old copy, rather than the newer one in Organization Forms. You need to use the Forms Manager to remove the old copy from the Personal Forms library. To get to the Forms Manager in Outlook 97, choose Tools, Options, Manage Forms, Manage Forms. In Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000, use Tools, Options, Other, Advanced Options, Custom Forms, Manage Forms.

Here's one final tip: If you make changes to a published form, always increment the version number on the (Properties) tab. This action forces Outlook to use the updated version.

How can I transmit Outlook forms over the Internet? (revisited)

I discussed this question last month in the context of salespeople using customized forms to send reports to the home office. You learned about all the places you need to check to make sure that you can send the items using RTF. Since then, I've thought of a couple of important nuances.

Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000 let you compose messages (but not appointments or tasks) in HTML format. If you have custom fields in an item and need to make sure those go through, check the Format menu to see which format is checked: Plain Text, HTML, or Rich Text. If HTML is checked, choose Plain Text. You can then switch from Plain Text to Rich Text.

My other concern is that if you're sending a custom form, you need to check the form's (Properties) page in design mode to make sure you've selected the Send form definition with item check box, as you see in Screen 4. This option sends the form design with the item. If you know the user has already installed this form in the Personal Forms library, however, you don't need to send the form definition.

Can I change the properties of a time line-type view to show only working hours?

No, these views, which can be especially useful in Calendar and Journal folders, always show the hours from midnight to midnight.

Can I configure Outlook to display the email address—rather than the display name—of a recipient in the Sent Items field?

Users accustomed to the way Eudora or other Internet mail programs handle recipients are often frustrated that the email address of Internet senders doesn't always appear either in the Outlook view or in the message itself. The user can always double-click the From name to see the email address, but that's a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, I don't know an easy workaround for this problem.

How can Outlook display the email addresses for my contacts?

For many Contacts folder items that you add from incoming messages, you can see the email address only by double-clicking the underlined name in the E-mail field. Furthermore, if you include the E-mail field in a Contacts folder view, the display name appears, not the email address.

You can't do much about incoming items, but getting the addresses out of your Contacts isn't difficult. If you want just a list, use the File, Import and Export command to export to a comma-delimited file. Make sure that you use the Map Custom Fields option so that you can get the E-Mail Address. (Outlook 98 users must obtain the field mapping patch from http://www.microsoft.com/outlook.) Include the Name field, and under E-mail, click the plus sign next to E-mail to display its components—E-mail Address and E-mail Display Name. Drag E-mail Address to the list of fields you want to export. You can add other fields and then generate the exported file. If you like, you can open the file directly in Excel and add sorting and formatting capabilities.

If you create most of your contacts from incoming items, try this trick: Open a message whose sender you want to add. Double-click the From name. In the resulting dialog box, copy the E-mail address to the Display name field. Click OK to return to the message, which now shows just the email address, not the sender's name. Finally, right-click the sender name, and choose Add to Contacts. A new contact appears, with the email address in the E-mail field. You'll need to type the sender's name into the Full Name field, so this method might be more trouble than it's worth.

Another way to add the email address is to use a customized Contact form. In design mode, add a text field named RealEmailAddress. Then, in the Item_Write event for the form, add this small bit of code:

Function Item_Write()
  Item.UserProperties.Find
  ("RealEmailAddress").Value =
  Item.Email1Address
End Function

This code copies the underlying email address from the recipient in the E-mail field to the new RealEmailAddress field you created. You can either display this field on a custom page, add it to the General page of the custom Contact form (if you don't need to maintain Outlook 97 compatibility), or use it just in folder views.

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