Outlook Tips and Techniques - 01 Mar 2000


We've enabled Deleted Item Recovery in Exchange Server 5.5. How do users recover the deleted items?

Outlook 97 version 8.03 is the earliest version to support Deleted Item Recovery, which lets users recover items that they've recently purged from the Deleted Items folder. (You set the exact interval by user or by store on the Exchange server.) Deleted Item Recovery is simple to use, when you know where to find it on the Outlook menus. Switch to the Deleted Items folder, then choose Tools, Recover Deleted Items. Screen 1 shows the Recover Deleted Items From dialog box, which lists items available for recovery. Select the items you want to recover, then click the Recover Selected Items icon (the one in the middle).

If you don't see Recover Deleted Items on the Tools menu, check the Add-in Manager (Tools, Options, Other, Advanced Options, Add-in Manager in Outlook 2000 and Outlook 98) to make sure that the dumpster.ecf add-in is installed.

How can I make tasks appear on my calendar?

Users ask this question frequently. Because the Calendar folder can show both your schedule and your to-do list, even though Outlook stores tasks in a separate Tasks folder, users sometimes become confused about which option to use. Some users might also remember that Microsoft Schedule+ had a function for adding a task to the calendar and wonder what the Outlook equivalent is. Here are some general rules that I've found helpful:

  • Create an appointment for an event that is definitely going to occur on a particular day. Use a task when you don't know the exact date or when you need both a start date (i.e., when work can begin) and a due date (i.e., when you want the activity completed).
  • If you want to schedule time for a particular task on your calendar, right-click the task and drag it to the Calendar folder. When you release the mouse button, you'll see three options for Copy Here as Appointment, which Screen 2 shows. You can put the task details in the appointment as text, as a shortcut to the task item, or as an attached copy of the task. (The pop-up menu also offers the option of moving the task to the Calendar folder and creating an appointment from it.)

How can I mark a meeting to show that it took place?

This question is another symptom of some users' confusion regarding appointments and tasks. You can mark a task as completed, but appointments have no equivalent option. I keep the process simple: If a certain meeting doesn't take place, I just delete it from my Calendar folder. You can also edit the subject of an appointment to note that it was canceled.

How do you provide a mailbox—for use by shift workers, for example—that is read-only? I don't want the people to be able to send from the mailbox, just read the inbound messages.

When I was working in an around-the-clock news operation, "reading in" by checking the notes that the previous shift left was the first thing you did when you arrived. You can accomplish the same result with Outlook and Exchange Server with either a mailbox or a public folder.

Mailbox method. Create a new mailbox, and name it Read In. For the Windows NT account, use the account that you use to administer mailboxes (i.e., the account that has rights to open any mailbox). Create an Outlook profile to access the mailbox, and start Outlook with that profile. On the Inbox folder's Properties sheet, grant appropriate rights for the people who need to access the information. You'll probably want to grant at least one person the right to delete items. After granting permissions, you can exit Outlook.

Users will open the Read In mailbox's Inbox folder by using File, Open, Other User's Folder. Because you've granted permission only on the Inbox folder, users can't see any other folders in that mailbox, nor can they send items from it.

Public folder method. Create a public folder, and call it Read In. On the folder's Properties sheet, grant appropriate permissions. The advantage of this method is that you can easily add a public folder to the Outlook Bar for quicker access.

Can I change the default time of 5 minutes when "snoozing," or postponing, a reminder?

I'm sorry to say that the answer is no. The default when the reminder first pops up is always 5 minutes. The good news is that in Outlook 2000, if you set the reminder to snooze for 2 hours, when it pops up again, the default time will be 2 hours—the interval you chose previously. Outlook recalls the last interval for each reminder during any particular session. But if you exit Outlook then restart it, the reminders all default to a 5-minute interval again.

How can I add a field in the Inbox that displays the sender's address from each incoming message?

Microsoft's design decision for this display baffles people coming from other email programs. Messages can have an address only or an address and a display name. Microsoft decided that it would be more useful to show the display name, if it's available, rather than the underlying address.

In an ideal world, you'd have a user option to display just the address, just the name (or the address if no name appeared in the incoming message), or both. But in the Outlook world, you have no choice in this matter. Outlook offers no easy method to extract the sender's address and display it in an Outlook view.

That difficulty doesn't mean that you absolutely can't display the address, of course. With Outlook 2000 and a small amount of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code, you can add the sender's address to each message that arrives in your Inbox and display it in the Outlook viewer.

We used the Outlook 98 Deployment Kit (ODK) to set users' default mail format to HTML, with the result that they can compose only HTML messages. How can we restore the Rich Text and Plain Text formats?

The mail format option in the ODK sets the only allowable format for new messages, not a default format. To restore the user's ability to switch formats, delete the Windows HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Outlook\Options\Mail Registry key. (Always back up the Registry before you modify it.) The Microsoft article "XCLN: Message Format Unavailable After Outlook 98 Is Installed" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q184/3/36.asp) has more information about this question.

I created a distribution list (DL), but when I send a message to the list, every member can see the names of the other members of the list. Is it possible to see only the DL name in the To box?

The answer depends on what kind of DL you're talking about—an Outlook 2000 DL or a DL from the Global Address List (GAL). For Outlook 2000 DLs—those you create in a Contacts folder or in the Personal Address Book (PAB)—the answer is no. You can't put the list in the To box, then have only the list name, not the membership, appear in the To box. This behavior occurs because Outlook resolves the list to the individual names when it sends the message. If you look in your Sent Items folder, you'll see the individuals listed under To, not the name of the DL.

The solution in this case is to put the name of the DL in the Bcc (blind carbon copy) box, not in the To box. You could try leaving the To box blank. However, because many mail programs regard messages with a blank To address as likely junk mail, you'll probably want to put some address in the To box. You can put your own address as the To addressee; that will also give you a comeback copy so that you see exactly what the DL members are getting.

DLs in the GAL work differently. Instead of Outlook resolving the addresses, the Exchange server does it. The list name is all that appears in the To box. Users can double-click the list name to find out more about it. However, you can hide the DL's membership so that recipients won't know who else is a member of the list. To hide the membership, open the Microsoft Exchange Administrator program, go to the Advanced tab of the DL's Properties sheet, which Screen 3 shows, and select the Hide membership from address book check box.

When you launch Outlook, how can you make it open to Outlook Today or the Inbox, then go to another folder?

Outlook lets you set the first folder that opens by choosing Tools, Options, Other, Advanced Options and picking from the Startup in this folder list. Getting a second folder to display takes slightly more effort. The simplest method for opening additional folders at startup is to have those folders open when you choose File, Exit and Log Off to end your Outlook session. Any folders that were open will appear automatically the next time you start Outlook.

I need to launch a custom message form from a public folder, but I can't make my form the default for the folder. Why not?

Microsoft designed message forms for sending items, not for posting them in folders. Even though folders can contain messages, Outlook doesn't let you use a message form as the default form for a folder. If you work through just the user interface (UI), the closest you can come is to publish the form to the folder's forms library. That action will cause the form to appear on the folder's Actions menu.

However, a workaround is to create a post form that automatically launches the desired message form and make that post form the folder's default form. Here's how.

  1. Publish your custom message form either to the folder's forms library or to the Organization Forms library.
  2. Open a new post form in design mode (Tools, Forms, Design a Form), and add the code from Listing 1, substituting the name of your message form for Your Custom Form in IPM.Note.Your Custom Form. Publish the post form to the folder.
  3. Choose File, Folder, Properties to bring up the folder's Properties sheet. Under When posting to this folder, use on the General tab, select your custom post form.

The code in Listing 1 runs when the post form opens. It uses your custom message form (IPM.Note.Your Custom Form) to create a new item in the current folder, displays that message item, then cancels the opening of the post form so that you never see it.

This method has one hitch. Even though the post form creates the message in the folder's Items collection, if you save the message, Outlook stores it in your Drafts folder. To store the message in the public folder, you can use the File, Move to Folder command. An alternative solution might be to modify the message form to include the folder's mail address in the To field or include code in the Item_Send event to route the item to the folder.

Many of our users close Outlook accidentally. Can I make Outlook display a message saying Are you sure you want to exit Outlook? when the user closes the last Outlook window?

You might think you could use VBA in Outlook 2000 to display this message, because Outlook 2000 VBA supports an Application.Quit event that fires when Outlook is shutting down. Two problems, though, prevent this approach from working. One problem is that when this event occurs, Outlook is already almost completely shut down. You can't just redisplay a folder to make Outlook restore itself. Second, you can't cancel the Quit event. Outlook will continue the shutdown process no matter what you do in the Quit event.

So what good is the Quit event? Outlook 2000 VBA programmers must always use the Quit event to disassociate global object variables and object variables declared at the module level in the ThisOutlookSession class module by setting them to Nothing. For example, suppose that my code uses an object variable olInboxItems to represent the Items collection of the Inbox folder. So that I can write code to monitor the Inbox for new items, I need to disassociate that variable with this subroutine that runs when the Quit event fires:

Private Sub Application_Quit()
Set olInboxItems = Nothing
End Sub

Unless you set such object variables to Nothing, Outlook might not be able to shut down properly.

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