Outlook Tips and Techniques - 19 Dec 2001

How can I add a button to the Microsoft Outlook toolbar to open a particular Web page?

Office XP and Office 2000 toolbar buttons, including those in Outlook, are more versatile than you might expect. You can use them to launch Web pages or files by following these steps:

  1. Choose View, Toolbars, Customize.
  2. Drag any command from Commands to the toolbar.
  3. Right-click the button you dragged and choose Assign Hyperlink from the context menu.
  4. Type the Web page you want to go to, then click OK.
  5. Right-click the button again, then change the rest of the properties (e.g., Name, Button Image) to suit you.
  6. Close the Customize dialog box.

Clicking the button will open the Web page in your browser, not in Outlook.

In Outlook 2002, you can drag a Web page that you opened in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) to the Outlook Bar (not the program toolbar). Then, you can create a new link that opens in Outlook itself, not in the browser.

Can I add a short comment to any email item and show that comment in a view? I don't want to change the subject.

Outlook's message flag feature is ideal for this task. In the folder view, you can right-click a message, choose Flag for Follow Up, then type text into the Flag to box in the Flag for Follow Up dialog box. You don't have to use one of the built-in choices, and you don't have to add a date. You can also flag an open message by clicking the Follow Up button on the toolbar.

After you've flagged some messages, you'll want to see the flags in your view. To modify the current view, right-click the column headings, then choose Field Chooser. Drag the Follow Up Flag to the column headings, and place it wherever you like in the column headings.

Can I change the Entry Type list on the journal form?

In most cases, you can't change the built-in drop-down lists on Outlook forms. The Entry Type list on the journal form is one exception. The list derives its values from the Windows registry rather than from hard-coded entries in Outlook. The Microsoft article "OL97: How to Create New Entry Type in the Journal" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q180/1/39.asp) explains how to add a new journal type to the registry. The technique works for all versions of Outlook, even though the article is for Outlook 97.

Does the forms substitution tool for Outlook 2000 work with Outlook 2002?

The Outlook 2000 Forms Administrator, which is available in the Microsoft Office 2000 Resource Kit (http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork/2000/journ/outtoolsintro.htm), updates the registry to replace any built-in Outlook form with a custom form. However, the Forms Administrator puts the changes in the registry subkeys for Outlook 2000.

To make form substitutions for Outlook 2002, run formswap.exe, make the substitution as you usually do, then click Export Saved Changes. Edit the exported .reg file to replace Office\9.0 in the value names with Office\10.0. You can then run that .reg file to make the forms substitution for Outlook 2002 and distribute it to users who need to make the same change to use a custom form as their default.

How do I print a specific category from an Outlook calendar?

You can print only what you see in Outlook folders. If you want to print only a specific category, for example, or only items that aren't marked private, you need to filter out the items you don't want to print. You can create a filter on the open view with the View, Current View, Customize Current View, Filter command.

If you plan to print that view often, create a new named view that you can switch to anytime. You can use View, Current View, Define Views to create a new view from scratch. Or if you're already displaying a filtered view, in the Current View drop-down list on the Advanced toolbar, type the name of the new view you want to create, then click Enter. This action creates a new view with the name you entered, and the view uses the current view settings for that folder.

In Outlook 2002, where is the option for setting the address book to display contact addresses in LastName, FirstName order?

Outlook 2002 makes some major changes in the location of many key configuration options. However, the Tools, Options dialog box is largely unchanged.

In Outlook 2000, users set the address book display order by choosing Tools, Services, then bringing up the properties for the Outlook Address Book service. In Outlook 2002, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose Tools, E-mail Accounts.
  2. In the new E-mail Accounts dialog box, which Figure 1 shows, select View or change existing directories or address books, then click Next.
  3. In the Directories and Address Books section, select Outlook Address Book, then click Change.
  4. In the familiar Microsoft Outlook Address Book properties dialog box, which Figure 2 shows and which hasn't changed in Outlook 2002, you can use the Show names by option to display names in LastName, FirstName order.

How do I add a Windows desktop shortcut to create a new Outlook note (the yellow "sticky note")?

All you need to do is create a new desktop shortcut that launches Outlook with the /c ipm.stickynote command-line switch. To use this method, you need to know the path to outlook.exe. Use Start, Find or Start, Search to locate outlook.exe on your computer, then drag the outlook.exe file from the search window to your desktop to create a shortcut. Right-click the shortcut, then choose Properties to bring up the Shortcut dialog box. To add the switch, edit the command in the Target box to make it look like

"C:\program files\microsoft
      /c ipm.stickynote

While you're working with the shortcut's properties, you can also add a shortcut key combination and click the Change Icon button to use the note icon. After you close the Properties dialog box by clicking OK, you can rename the shortcut something like New Outlook Note.

How do you compose HTML mail messages that have more complex formatting than Outlook's Formatting toolbar can provide?

Outlook doesn't provide a command to insert tables into HTML messages, nor does it give you a way to edit the source of an HTML message. The View Source command that you see on the right-click context menu in an HTML message doesn't let you save any changes to the source back into the message.

You can compose complex HTML messages in several ways, though. One approach is to use your favorite HTML editor to create the HTML content. Save it as an .htm file, then use one of these methods to put it into the Outlook message:

  • Check Tools, Options, Mail Format to make sure Outlook is set to use HTML as its default message format. In Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), browse to the HTML page that you saved as a file. Then, choose File, Send, Page by Email.
  • Create a new HTML-format Outlook message. In IE, browse to the HTML page that you saved as a file. Choose Edit, Select All, then choose Edit, Copy. Switch to the Outlook message and paste the copied material into the body of the message.
  • Create a new HTML-format Outlook message. Choose Insert, File and select the saved HTML file. At the bottom right corner of the Insert File dialog box, click the small arrow next to the Insert button and choose Insert as Text.

Another way to create an HTML message with rich HTML tags is to use Microsoft Word 2002 or Word 2000 to create the HTML document, then choose File, Send To, Mail Recipient. This process adds To, Cc, and Subject boxes to the top of the Word window. When you send the message, Word uses HTML format. Unfortunately, in Word 2000, the application also bloats the message with several kilobytes of Office-specific XML formatting information. Word 2002, however, provides a way to strip the XML. You'll find the Filter HTML before sending option in Word 2002 on the General tab under Tools, Options, General, E-mail Options.

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