Outlook Tips and Techniques - 01 Aug 1999

Can a user who has mail delivered to a Personal Folders file also share the Calendar folder in the Exchange Server mailbox with other users?

This case is almost—but not quite—one in which you can have your cake and eat it, too. A user can have mail delivered to a Personal Folders (.pst) file. (The setting on the Tools, Services, Delivery tab for Deliver new mail to the following location determines the location of the default folders.) At the same time, the user can put appointments in the Calendar folder in the Exchange Server mailbox. That folder will publish its free/busy times and, given the right permissions, share appointment details with other users.

However, another Outlook behavior makes the server-based Calendar folder a better option. When you receive a meeting request, your natural reaction is to simply click Accept. This action puts the appointment in your default Calendar folder—that's the Calendar in the Personal Folders file, not the Calendar folder in the mailbox.

You can see how much trouble this can cause. In no time at all, you can manage to build two different calendars in two different folders, completely out of sync, with only the mailbox Calendar folder reporting its free/busy time to other users. To make matters worse, appointments in the mailbox Calendar folder don't generate reminders; only Calendars in the default folders—the .pst file in this case—trigger reminders.

In summary, if you want users to share data, use the Exchange Server mailbox as the default delivery location. If you're worried about storage space, teach users good housekeeping techniques, especially frequent use of the Delete function.

How can I print all journal entries for a particular contact?

Native Outlook printing depends heavily on the current view, and each type of view—table, card, timeline, day/week/month, or icon—has its quirks. To print all journal entries for a particular contact, try creating a table-type view of your Journal folder and grouping items by the Contact field. Use the View, Current View, Define Views command to create the new view. You could also modify the Entry List view to add a grouping function by clicking the Group By button on the Advanced toolbar and dragging the Contact field to the box above the column headings. The resulting view looks like Screen 1.

After you've grouped the journal entries by contact in a table-type view, select all the journal entries under the group heading for a particular contact, and then choose File, Print. The Print dialog box, which Screen 2 shows, offers choices of a Table Style or Memo Style printout, and you can choose to print Only Selected Items (i.e., only the journal entries for the contacts you've selected). If you choose Memo Style, you can also choose whether to print each item on a separate page.

My users can see everyone else's mail when they use Outlook. Why don't they have to enter a password to see someone else's messages?

When users log on to a Windows NT domain, they receive access to their individual mailbox and to any mailboxes whose owners have granted them permission to work with particular folders. Usually, they don't need any additional password. (Administrators can log on to any mailbox, but doing so leaves a trail in the Application Event Log.)

If users can see one another's mail without going through the process of assigning delegates or granting permissions on their folders, usually something is wrong with the way you've configured permissions on Exchange Server. Use the Microsoft Exchange Administrator program to check permissions on the mailboxes, the Recipients container, the parent site container, and all the way up the hierarchy. If you don't see the Permissions tab on these objects, choose Tools, Options. On the Permissions tab of the Options dialog, select the box for Show Permissions page for all objects check box.

You can force users to enter a password when they start Outlook if you set security to None on the Microsoft Exchange Server service in the client's mail profile. (The default is NT Password Authentication.) That setting requires users to perform another domain logon when they connect to Exchange Server with Outlook. (A user who finds this double logon to be more of a nuisance than a protection will probably figure out how to go back to a single logon by setting security for the Microsoft Exchange Server service back to NT Password Authentication.) This feature comes in handy, though, when you need to run a profile for a mailbox that is tied to an account other than your account. The fact that the Microsoft Exchange Server service is tied to the NT domain logon is a good reason to stress to your users that they always use a password-protected screen saver or lock their workstations when they step away from their desks. Otherwise, anyone can send a message from another user's mailbox—and no one will be the wiser.

I'm troubleshooting a problem with a rule. How can I track which rules operated on a particular item?

If you're using the Rules Wizard, rather than Inbox Assistant, try including the action assign it to the category category as part of the rule. Use a different category for each rule. Because the Categories field is a keyword field, it can hold multiple values. This characteristic lets each rule add a unique category to the message. After all the rules have processed the message, you can look at the categories on the message to see which fired and which didn't.

Note that assign it to the category category is a client-only action. Adding the action to a rule automatically makes that rule fire only when Outlook is running. The result is that you can't use this technique when you're trying to troubleshoot rules that don't appear to be firing properly on the server.

If you're using Inbox Assistant, you can use the Alert With action to notify you with particular text that tells you which rule fired. When a message meeting your conditions arrives, the New Items of Interest box will pop up, listing the message and showing your Alert With text. If the message meets the conditions of more than one rule with an alert set, you'll see the message listed once for each alert.

I have parent folders that show nothing in the Outlook viewer because they hold only subfolders. How can I set the view on a parent folder to display the subfolders?

If you maintain a rigid hierarchy in Public Folders, you can have folders that don't contain any items. All they contain are subfolders. Users who add shortcuts on their Outlook Bar to these apparently empty folders might find it confusing that they can't navigate to subfolders.

Assuming that you have permission to create items in the parent folder, here's an idea for making use of all its empty real estate. Drag each subfolder to your desktop to create an Exchange .xnk shortcut file. Then, drag those shortcuts back into the parent folder. You now have a folder containing shortcuts to each subfolder. Try double-clicking one of them. If you get a message asking whether you want to open the file or save it to disk, choose Open it, and clear the Always ask before opening this type of file check box. The folder will then open in a new window.

If you find this idea useful, you can take it one step further by creating a new view to show the subfolders as icons, like you see in Windows Explorer. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose View, Current View, Define Views.
  2. In the Define Views dialog box, click New.
  3. In the Create a New View dialog box, name the view Subfolders and select Icon as the type of view. Because you might want to use this view on other folders, specify that it can be used on All Mail folders.
  4. Click OK. When the View Settings dialog box appears, click Other Settings to see the options in Screen 3 for configuring the icons' size and arrangement.
  5. Click OK twice, then click Apply View to make the new view the current view on the folder.

As Screen 4 shows, you now have an icon for each shortcut you dragged to the parent folder.

That's one idea for using the parent folder. Outlook 2000 provides many more. You can give each folder a home page. This page can be a page on your intranet with links to the subfolders within Public Folders, or it can display other inhouse information or even link to the Internet. Better yet, Microsoft has announced it will release an Outlook Application Wizard download to automatically create a folder home page that coordinates the information in various subfolders. I've seen a demonstration of the wizard, and it's one of the neatest tools I've seen in quite a while. More information about folder home pages is available in two Microsoft Press books for Outlook/Exchange programmers: Thomas Rizzo's Programming Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange (1999) and Randy Byrne's Building Applications with Microsoft Outlook 2000 (1999).

Can I run both Outlook 2000 and the Exchange Administrator program on the same machine?

Yes, you can run both programs under NT, but the two programs need different versions of mapi32.dll. Before you install Outlook 2000, copy the current version of mapi32.dll to the folder in which the Exchange Administrator program resides. Then, proceed with the Outlook 2000 installation as usual.

If you've already installed Outlook 2000, look for a file named mapi32x.dll, which is the old version. Copy it to the Exchange Administrator program's folder, then rename it to mapi32.dll.

How can I get Outlook to resolve recipient names when I type in just the initials?

This technique works surprisingly well with names in an Outlook Contacts folder or in the Personal Address Book (PAB), once you know the trick. The secret is to use spaces to separate the initials. For example, if you have an entry in one of your personal address lists for John Doe, you can type in J D, and the name will resolve to John Doe.

Unfortunately, this trick doesn't work for names in the Global Address List (GAL). To search the Initials field from the GAL during recipient resolution, you would need to modify the directory search flags using the Exchange Administrator program in raw mode, as Tony Redmond describes in Chapter 8 of Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5: Planning, Design and Implementation (Digital Press, 1998).

After you create a meeting and invite people, how do you add new people to the meeting without sending the request back to the original invitees? (revisited)

I've touched on this question in the column twice before, but I keep returning to it with additional nuances. With Outlook 97 and Outlook 98, if you need to add new people to the meeting, you have two choices. Either the meeting organizer can invite others—which means the original invitees will get a new invitation—or anyone can forward the invitation to others.

In Outlook 2000, you get a new option when you add or delete attendees for a meeting. Click Send Update, and you'll see the choices in Screen 5. Choose Send updates only to added or deleted attendees to limit the outgoing meeting request messages to the people the change affects.

On a new mailbox, how can I easily set permissions so the default for the Calendar and other special Outlook folders is Read access for all other users?

When you want to use these mailbox folders for collaboration, you have to make some effort to set permissions correctly on each folder so that other people in the company can access them. Jeff Tollefson of The Sportsman's Guide related a very slick trick for simplifying this task. Here's the step-by-step description:

  1. When you set up a new mailbox, temporarily grant your account Owner permission.
  2. In your regular Outlook profile—the one for your personal mailbox—open the new mailbox by adding it in the settings for the Microsoft Exchange Server service.
  3. Right-click the new mailbox's root, and bring up its Permissions on the Properties page. Set the permissions for the Default user to Reviewer, if you want everyone to be able to see the Calendar and other folders. You can also use a distribution list (DL) to grant Reviewer permission to a particular set of users.
  4. Remove the mailbox from your Outlook profile, and delete your account from the permissions list on the mailbox in the Exchange Administrator program.

At this point, the only folders in the mailbox are Deleted Items, Inbox, Outbox, and Sent Items. Calendar and other Outlook folders don't exist yet. Outlook creates them when the user first runs Outlook with a profile that opens that mailbox directly. The newly created folders then inherit the Reviewer permission from the root of the mailbox.

If you use this method, be sure to make a note of it somewhere in your company's email policy document. Users need to know that the default is to grant Read access on all but the Deleted Items, Inbox, Outbox, and Sent Items folders. For programmers, Microsoft has released an ACL component for managing Exchange Server ACLs at http://msdn.microsoft.com/ library/sdkdoc/exchange/comcpnts_ 8f04.htm.

Many of my company's employees are sending internal messages and flagging them for a pop-up reminder. This practice is annoying and puts an extra load on the servers. Can I disable this feature globally?

Many people don't realize that you can use Outlook's message flag feature to set a reminder to follow up on the message. If you set the flag before you send the message to an internal recipient, that person receives the message with a message flag set and will also get a pop-up reminder, as long as the message remains in the Inbox or Sent Items folder.

The message flag is an intrinsic property of the default IPM.Note form used to send messages. I can't think of an efficient and reliable way to disable it globally. Granted, the pop-up reminders might annoy and surprise the recipient, but some people might see the reminder as a useful feature. I also can't imagine that just the flags and their associated reminders are burdening the server that much. This problem sounds like a job for user education about good email etiquette and the appropriate use of message flags. Remember that pop-ups appear only for messages in the default Outlook folders. If you move flagged messages to other folders, they turn red only when they're overdue; they don't generate reminders.

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