Outlook Tips and Techniques - 12 Feb 2001


How can I purge the Sent Items folder remotely on Outlook users?

You can use the Mailbox Manager that Microsoft introduced in Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 3 (SP3). As Tony Redmond explained in his article "Control Mailbox Size with Mailbox Manager," November 1999, you should schedule the mbclean.exe tool to run during a slow period for your server because it puts a heavy load on store.exe.

If you plan to use Mailbox Manager to clean out old calendar appointments, in addition to sent messages, you might want to wait until you install SP4. The Mailbox Manager version in SP4 fixes a problem in which the tool deletes all instances of recurring appointments, not just the old ones.

Exchange 2000 Server doesn't include a new version of Mailbox Manager, although Microsoft says that it will be in SP1. Tony Redmond's Web-exclusive sidebar "The Missing Manager," InstantDoc ID 19717 on the Exchange Administrator Web site (http://exchangeadmin.com), gives a workaround for mixed Exchange 2000/Exchange Server 5.5 environments.

When I use WordMail as my Outlook editor and select a personal stationery theme, my signature appears double-spaced even though it looks single-spaced in the Email Signature settings in Microsoft Word. How can I make it look single-spaced in my outgoing messages, too?

Stationery themes are a feature of WordMail that let you easily apply backgrounds and fonts to HTML-format messages. Here's the trick to making your signature work the same in HTML messages as in plaintext and Rich Text Format (RTF) messages: Press Shift+Enter, not Enter, at the end of each line when you use Tools, Options, General, E-mail Options to set up your signature in Word, as Figure 1 shows. This option inserts a line break between the lines, and HTML messages will use a <br> tag to end one line and begin the next line immediately below, without any blank space in between. If you press Enter to end a signature line, HTML messages will use <p> and </p> paragraph tags to set off the individual lines. The default behavior in HTML is to put a blank space between paragraphs.

You can extend this technique to your everyday HTML messages, whether you compose them with WordMail or the built-in editor in Outlook 2000 and Outlook 98. When you want a new line without a space above it, use Shift+Enter. When you want a new line with a space between it and the previous line, use Enter.

Whenever Outlook Web Access (OWA) users select a shared calendar from Public Folders, they see their own mailbox calendar folder. What's wrong?

Your question implies that your server is running Exchange Server 5.5. Support for public calendar and contacts folders is one of the big features that Microsoft added to OWA in Exchange 2000. If you want automatic OWA access for all calendar and contact folders, you need to upgrade.

In Exchange Server 5.5, the only possible way to view a calendar or contact folder in Public Folders is with custom Active Server Pages (ASP) code. For calendars, Mikael Freidlitz and Todd Mondor's book ADSI CDO Programming with ASP (Wrox Press, 1999) provides a sample Web-based conference room-scheduling application that uses a public folder. For contacts, the CDOLive Web site for Collaboration Data Objects (CDO) programmers has some useful sample applications at http://www.cdolive.com/owacontact.htm and http://www.cdolive.com/customerinfo.htm.

How can I make the company name, instead of the person's name, display at the top of each contact in the Address Cards view?

Many people don't seem to know that you can customize a card view, perhaps because Outlook buries the options several levels down. Just choose View, Current View, Customize Current View. For a card view, the field order determines which field shows with the gray highlighting at the top of each item. To make the Company field appear at the top, select that field in the list, then click Move Up. Note, though, that for a contact with no information in the Company field, the card will show a gray rectangle at the top of the card.

I have some users whose archive.pst files now exceed the 2GB limit for Outlook Personal Folders. Users can't archive any more items, and they can no longer access their existing archives. How can I fix this problem?

The Personal Folders (.pst file) that Outlook uses for storage on the local PC has a 2GB limit. The same limit applies to offline folders (.ost files). When the file exceeds that size, you can no longer use it in Outlook.

You can recover at least some of the data by using a tool such as a hexadecimal editor or file splitter to remove part of the data or break the file into several .pst files, then running scanpst.exe to repair the resulting files. Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) representatives recommend, however, that you contact them to obtain a utility that will attempt to truncate the file to less than 2GB and make it accessible again. The utility truncates several megabytes of data, and the truncated data isn't recoverable; but the remaining data under 2GB can usually be restored.

To help prevent this problem, Microsoft Office 2000 Service Release 1/1a (SR1/1a) updates Outlook 2000 so that you receive a warning message when a .pst or .ost file is approaching 2GB. A hotfix is available for Outlook 98. The Microsoft article "OL98: Limitation of 2 Gigabytes for Offline Folders and Personal Folders" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q252/3/36.asp) provides more information about the problem and the fix.

When a mailbox has exceeded its limit, the user receives multiple messages from the messaging-system administrator. Can I change this process so that the user receives only one message?

No, Exchange is very persistent about delivering mailbox size warnings and will keep sending them until the user purges enough items from the mailbox.

I need to send an automated email message to my organization about our weekly maintenance downtime. The Microsoft article "OL98: How to Create a Recurring E-Mail Message" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q239/0/91.asp) was informative, but how do I add a follow-up flag and make some other changes?

The Microsoft article you mention explains how to create a task form that sends a message whenever you mark the task completed. In the question you sent me, you described some good ways to enhance the code from the article. The code in Listing 1 builds on your suggestions and offers a few additional features:

  • All the user-controlled settings are now in a USER OPTIONS section, in which you can set the recipients of the message, the apparent sender, and parameters for an optional follow-up flag.
  • The code sets not just the To recipients but also the From and Reply To recipients.
  • The message gets its Subject, Body, and Importance from the corresponding fields in the task item. This structure makes the form much more flexible—you can update your message without editing the code. Just change the message in the body of the task.
  • You can add a follow-up flag with the appropriate settings to the outgoing message in the USER OPTIONS section.

Read the Microsoft article to obtain complete details about how to create the form, add the code, then use the form. If you have the Outlook E-mail Security Update or Office 2000 SP2 installed, you'll see a prompt that a program is trying to use your address. Be sure to respond Yes, or the code will run with errors and won't be able to set any of the recipient properties.

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