Getting to Know Office 2007 - 27 Feb 2008

Answers to your questions about the new Microsoft Office 2007 system

Executive Summary:

AutoComplete tips for Microsoft Outlook can help you use AutoComplete more efficiently. Make forms-based authentication work by following Dan Holme's tips. Remove Microsoft Office Excel 2007 duplicates in one step. Learn SharePoint backup and restore options to better help your users store documents.

Q: I reinstalled Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and I no longer see names “autofilling” when I type them in the To field of an email message. What’s up?

A: The feature you’re asking about is called AutoComplete. It proposes names as you type in the To, Cc, and Bcc fields of email messages, meeting requests, assigned tasks, and share requests, as well as in the email field of contacts.

A common misconception about this feature is that it “pulls” names from your contacts. It should pull names—but it doesn’t. Microsoft, are you listening? Hello—Office 14 feature request!

What it does do is suggest names based on email addresses you have typed before, whether those names are in your address book or not. If you reinstall Outlook, you lose that history (although upgrading preserves it). Here are a couple pointers about using AutoComplete:

  • If a name appears in the AutoComplete list that you don’t want to appear, scroll down to it and press Delete. This helps to prevent you from accidentally sending an email message to someone you emailed once before.
  • The AutoComplete list is stored in a file named Outlook_profile_name.nk2. So, for example, if my Outlook profile name is Dan, my AutoComplete list is dan.nk2. You can find the list stored in the Outlook folder in the local settings folder of your user profile, which is %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook on Windows Vista and %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook on Windows XP. You simply copy and paste this file to transfer it between systems. You can rename the file if the profile name has changed (e.g., rename Dan.nk2 as DanHolme.nk2). Logically, this file ought to be in the roaming portion of your user profile, though it’s not.

Q: I have a SharePoint site with forms-based authentication. When I try to do fill in the blank> using an Office application, it doesn’t connect correctly. How can I make it work?

A: I’m asked variations of this question frequently, hence . It could be that you’re trying to open a library in Windows Explorer, connect to a SharePoint site with Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007, export to Microsoft Excel, connect to a list with Microsoft Access, or complete another task. Whatever it is you’re trying to do, when you use forms-based authentication, you must select the Sign me in automatically checkbox, and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) must remain open. Your Office application (i.e., SharePoint, Access, Excel) will ride on the authentication you’ve created.

Technically, what happens is that your forms-based authentication creates a persistent cookie, which client applications can use. If you don’t select Sign me in automatically, or if persistent cookies aren’t allowed in your environment, client integration will fail.

Here are two other important tips regarding forms-based authentication:

  • The persistent cookie expires. So “sign me in automatically” is a bit of a misnomer—by default, it signs you in for 30 minutes. To change the timeout value, you must change or add a timeout attribute with a timeout value expressed in minutes. You add this to the forms element in the Web.config file for the application. For example, to change the timeout to two hours, type

timeout=”120” />

where “120” is the timeout value of two hours, expressed in minutes. (The previous entry wraps to several lines because of space constraints here; you should type it on one line in the file.)

  • You must have client integration enabled for the SharePoint application. In Share- Point Central Administration, open the settings for the application’s authentication provider and select Yes in the Enable client integration section.

Q: How can I remove duplicates from an Excel database?

A: Luckily, Microsoft Office Excel 2007 made it significantly easier to remove duplicates from a database. Simply select any cell in your data table and click the Remove Duplicates button on the Data tab of the Ribbon. You’ll be prompted to choose the columns to analyze for duplicates. If two or more rows contain the exact same data in the selected column or columns, the duplicate rows will be deleted, leaving only one row with that data. Easy, huh?

Keep in mind that Excel can open many common data file formats, such as .csv and .txt files, for delimited data. So if you have duplicate data in another application that doesn’t support duplicate purging, you can export to Excel, remove duplicates in Excel, then export back to the original database.

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Q: Where are SharePoint documents stored on the server? What are the options for backing up and restoring SharePoint documents?

A: All SharePoint content is stored in a Microsoft SQL Server database.

There are several options for backup and restore that enable SharePoint to support document storage more effectively than traditional file shares.

Recycle Bin.
Users have access to items (to which they have permissions) in the Recycle Bin for the site. If they delete something, they can restore it right away. You configure Recycle Bin settings for the site’s Web application through Central Administration, where you specify the Recycle Bin’s size and how long an item will remain in the site Recycle Bin before being removed.

Second-stage Recycle Bin. Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 have a second-stage Recycle Bin at the site-collection level. When an item is removed from a site’s Recycle Bin based on the time configuration mentioned previously, the item is placed in the secondstage Recycle Bin. An administrator can recover items from there by navigating to the Site Settings for the top-level site in the site collection and clicking the Recycle Bin link. The size of this Recycle Bin is configured, also in the Web application settings, as a percentage of the size of a site’s Recycle Bin. If the second-stage Recycle Bin fills, the items placed in the Recycle Bin first are removed to make room for new items.

Versioning. SharePoint Server 2007 lets you view the version history of an item or file. This is useful when users damage files without actually deleting them, such as erasing a file’s contents or overwriting a good file with a bad file of the same name. If your document library has versioning enabled, you can simply go to the document’s Version History and recover the “good” version.

Content database. Each Windows Share- Point Services site collection is stored in a content database, which is the actual SQL Server database. The content database can be recovered in the event of corruption by using transaction logs, or it can be restored using either SQL Server recovery methods or the restore functionality within SharePoint Central Administration. Of course, that assumes you have a good backup plan for your Share- Point databases, which is paramount.

Third-party add-ons. Third-party ISVs offer item-level recovery solutions, which enable SharePoint administrators to restore granular items from backup. Tools include Quest Software’s Recovery Manager for Share- Point, AvePoint’s DocAve, and IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager for Microsoft SharePoint.

Q: When I travel to another time zone and look at Calendar in Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) in Exchange Server 2003, it shifts all my appointments to match the time zone I traveled to. How can I see my appointments in my “home” time zone?

A: Good question! In OWA, in Options, there’s a time zone setting, Current Time Zone, which Figure 1 shows. Changing it, though, doesn’t change the time in which appointments are displayed. In fact, I can’t see what this setting does change. Instead, as you experienced, OWA uses the time zone on the client (the Windows time zone) to display calendar items.

However, if you use the basic OWA client (instead of logging on to the premium client) this setting does work. OWA 2007 in Exchange Server 2007 seems to have solved the problem, and your calendar entries should reflect the time zone option that you configured.

Corrections to this Article:

  • The NK2 file is found in %userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook and not in the %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.
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