Getting Started with Team Folders

In January, I wrote an Exchange and Outlook UPDATE column highlighting Outlook 2000's Team Folders add-in as a tool for simplifying the use of Exchange Server public folders by adding a Web interface to the folders. Team Folders use the folder home page in Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2000 and aren't compatible with previous versions. This week, I'll share more details about getting started with Team Folders and explain what happens behind the scenes when you run the Team Folders Wizard.

After you download and install the Team Folders Kit (see the URL at the end of this article for the download site), install the form that the Team Folders wizard uses to invite people to your folders. On the Programs menu, choose Microsoft Outlook 2000 Team Folders Kit, Install Team Folders Invitation Form. This command automatically places the form in the Organization Forms library, where everyone can access it. Each set of Team Folders you create uses the same invitation form, so you must install the form only once.

Before you can create Team Folders, you must install the Team Folders Wizard. On the Programs menu, choose Microsoft Outlook 2000 Team Folders Kit, Install Team Folders Wizard.

If you don't plan to create Team Folders, you don't need to install the Team Folders Wizard. You do, however, require access to the Internet *or* to the intranet location where you've placed the Outlook View Control and other necessary files. For deployment details, look in the Team Folders documentation for the topics under "How Do I Deploy the Team Folders Wizard?" You'll find a link to the Team Folders documentation on the Programs menu, under Microsoft Outlook 2000 Team Folders Kit.

The wizard setup program installs an Outlook 2000 COM add-in and copies several files to the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\TFWizard\1033 folder (If you're using a language other than US English, you might see a subfolder identification number other than 1033.)

Each basic type of Team Folders has a separate subfolder-Cal (for Calendar), Contact, Discuss, DocLib, Projects, and Tasks. Within each subfolder are the basic building blocks the Team Folders Wizard uses to create Team Folders.

Each subfolder contains a Personal Folders .pst file, which holds the folders and any custom forms (such as the TeamTask form) for Team Folders. When you run the Team Folders Wizard, it copies these folders and forms to Public Folders on the Exchange Server. The template.ini file provides a place to localize the names of the copied folders and to add further customizations. Details are in the Team Folders documentation.

The Team Folders Wizard also publishes the Web pages and other files Outlook uses to display the folder home page for each set of Team Folders. These files, stored in the WebView subfolder of the folder that holds the .pst and template.ini files, include the default.htm file for the main folder page, the admin.htm file for the Administrative folder in which you manage Team Folders settings, and the individual .htm files for the content folders (such as cal.htm for the Calendar folder). The subfolder also contains other .htm files, whose file names begin with the letter "h," that provide help for the Team Folders features. Finally, the subfolder holds several .gif images and two cascading style sheet files. The folder home pages (default.htm, cal.htm, admin.htm, etc.) use the css.css file, and the help pages (hdefault.htm and others) use the tfdocs.css file.

Your changes to these files apply to all your future Team Folders because the wizard copies these files when you create new Team Folders. For example, make it easier for people to reach your support team with Team Folders questions by editing the hdefault.htm file to include a link to your help desk's intranet page or email address. Or you might want to replace the icon.gif file with a company icon of the same size, so that all Team Folders use your logo; then adjust the colors in the css.css stylesheet file to match. You'll find more customization ideas in the Team Folders documentation.

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