Software

Build Your Skills: Five power tips for the Outlook pro

Get the most from your messaging client configuration.

As a support pro, you probably field a ton of questions from users about Outlook. Few applications are as under-used as Microsoft’s robust messaging platform—it can do a lot more than just send e-mails about where to have lunch. These five Outlook support power tips, courtesy of our TechMails newsletter service , should give your users a glimpse of the features they may well be overlooking, and give you some ideas on getting the most from your messaging client configuration.

Outlook to Outlook via the Web
What does it take to successfully send an Outlook item, such as a meeting request or voting button form, to another Outlook user via the Internet?
  • If the item is a custom form, the recipient must have that form published to his or her Personal Folders Library (unless the form was created with the Send Form Definition With Item option selected in design mode).
  • The sender's Exchange server has to have RTF enabled.
  • The message must be sent in rich-text format.

Senders can ensure that an Internet mail message goes out as RTF by clicking Check Names and then double-clicking each underlined recipient in the To text box and selecting Always Send To This Recipient In Microsoft Outlook Rich-Text Format.
Our TechMails e-mail newsletter service brings great Outlook tips directly to your inbox. Every business day, we’ll send you a great technique, pointers to other messaging content on TechRepublic, and the day’s hot headlines. Sign up for our Outlook TechMail, or check out the rest of our great e-mail newsletters at our TechMails sign-up page.
Converting your Calendar to HTML
Outlook 97 does not include a method for saving Outlook items or folders as HTML files. However, you can convert your calendar to a Word 97 document and then save the calendar from Word in HTML format.
  • Download Olcalndr.exe from the Microsoft Software Library, and save it on your hard drive.
  • In Windows Explorer, double-click Olcalndr.exe to expand the compressed file. Olcalndr.exe will create two files, Olcalndr.dot (a Word 97 template) and Readme.txt (usage instructions).
  • Move the Olcalndr.dot template file to your \Program Files\MicrosoftOffice\Templates folder.
  • Start Word 97 and click New on the File menu.
  • On the General tab, click Olcalndr.dot and click OK to create a new document based on the Olcalndr.dot template.
  • In Calendar Setup, click or type to fill in your choices and click OK.

After the template creates your calendar, you can modify the calendar as desired before saving it in HTML format.
  • With your calendar open in Word, on the File menu, click Save As HTML.
  • In the File Name box, type a name for your HTML file. Use HTM as your file extension or let Word assign the extension.
  • Make sure the Save As Type box lists HTML Document.
  • Click Save and then click OK to the message regarding loss of formatting.
  • After saving the calendar in HTML format, on the Standard Toolbar, click the Web Page Preview button to open your calendar in your Web browser program.

Profiles in the Outlook Address Book
Outlook saves the information about each contact—a person or an organization—in the Outlook Address Book. So, if your users intend to use contacts, they must add the Outlook Address Book service to their profile.

To do so, follow these steps:
  • Select the Contacts folder.
  • Choose File | Folder | Properties.
  • Click the Outlook Address Book tab.
  • Select the Show This Folder As An E-mail Address Book check box.

If you add the Address Book Service but forget to define any contact folders, you will see Outlook Address Book as a choice in the Select Names dialog box, but when you choose it, you will get the message No Entries in this Address Book.

Save time with abbr.
When users enter appointments in the Calendar, they can save time by typing abbreviations and allowing Outlook to fill in the rest.

For example, if you want to enter a 4:45 P.M. meeting in the Calendar, open a new appointment window and type 445p. You can also use phrases such as "tomorrow" or "next Monday," and Outlook will automatically insert the correct date.

Other examples of such shortcuts include:
  • 5m—five minutes from now
  • 10d—10 days from now
  • 3w—three weeks from now
  • 2mo—two months from now
  • 4y—four years from now

Keep in mind that in each of these examples, "now" is the date shown in the Start Time box, not necessarily the current date and time.

How to clear the custom forms cache
Recently, we had occasion to research the way Outlook handles custom forms. We had multiple users receiving the message that the form required to view a message could not be displayed. This error can be caused by corruption in the form itself or in the data file in the client's form cache.

Assuming the construction of the form was sound, the problem more than likely resides in the frmcache.dat file in the Windows\forms directory.

To clear the forms cache, exit Outlook and delete the frmcache.dat file. Once you restart Outlook, a new frmcache.dat file will be created. If your problem persists, repeat the steps above, but this time delete not only the .dat file but the directories for each form.
To comment on these tips, or to share your favorite Outlook tip, please post a comment below or send us a note .
As a support pro, you probably field a ton of questions from users about Outlook. Few applications are as under-used as Microsoft’s robust messaging platform—it can do a lot more than just send e-mails about where to have lunch. These five Outlook support power tips, courtesy of our TechMails newsletter service , should give your users a glimpse of the features they may well be overlooking, and give you some ideas on getting the most from your messaging client configuration.

Outlook to Outlook via the Web
What does it take to successfully send an Outlook item, such as a meeting request or voting button form, to another Outlook user via the Internet?
  • If the item is a custom form, the recipient must have that form published to his or her Personal Folders Library (unless the form was created with the Send Form Definition With Item option selected in design mode).
  • The sender's Exchange server has to have RTF enabled.
  • The message must be sent in rich-text format.

Senders can ensure that an Internet mail message goes out as RTF by clicking Check Names and then double-clicking each underlined recipient in the To text box and selecting Always Send To This Recipient In Microsoft Outlook Rich-Text Format.
Our TechMails e-mail newsletter service brings great Outlook tips directly to your inbox. Every business day, we’ll send you a great technique, pointers to other messaging content on TechRepublic, and the day’s hot headlines. Sign up for our Outlook TechMail, or check out the rest of our great e-mail newsletters at our TechMails sign-up page.
Converting your Calendar to HTML
Outlook 97 does not include a method for saving Outlook items or folders as HTML files. However, you can convert your calendar to a Word 97 document and then save the calendar from Word in HTML format.
  • Download Olcalndr.exe from the Microsoft Software Library, and save it on your hard drive.
  • In Windows Explorer, double-click Olcalndr.exe to expand the compressed file. Olcalndr.exe will create two files, Olcalndr.dot (a Word 97 template) and Readme.txt (usage instructions).
  • Move the Olcalndr.dot template file to your \Program Files\MicrosoftOffice\Templates folder.
  • Start Word 97 and click New on the File menu.
  • On the General tab, click Olcalndr.dot and click OK to create a new document based on the Olcalndr.dot template.
  • In Calendar Setup, click or type to fill in your choices and click OK.

After the template creates your calendar, you can modify the calendar as desired before saving it in HTML format.
  • With your calendar open in Word, on the File menu, click Save As HTML.
  • In the File Name box, type a name for your HTML file. Use HTM as your file extension or let Word assign the extension.
  • Make sure the Save As Type box lists HTML Document.
  • Click Save and then click OK to the message regarding loss of formatting.
  • After saving the calendar in HTML format, on the Standard Toolbar, click the Web Page Preview button to open your calendar in your Web browser program.

Profiles in the Outlook Address Book
Outlook saves the information about each contact—a person or an organization—in the Outlook Address Book. So, if your users intend to use contacts, they must add the Outlook Address Book service to their profile.

To do so, follow these steps:
  • Select the Contacts folder.
  • Choose File | Folder | Properties.
  • Click the Outlook Address Book tab.
  • Select the Show This Folder As An E-mail Address Book check box.

If you add the Address Book Service but forget to define any contact folders, you will see Outlook Address Book as a choice in the Select Names dialog box, but when you choose it, you will get the message No Entries in this Address Book.

Save time with abbr.
When users enter appointments in the Calendar, they can save time by typing abbreviations and allowing Outlook to fill in the rest.

For example, if you want to enter a 4:45 P.M. meeting in the Calendar, open a new appointment window and type 445p. You can also use phrases such as "tomorrow" or "next Monday," and Outlook will automatically insert the correct date.

Other examples of such shortcuts include:
  • 5m—five minutes from now
  • 10d—10 days from now
  • 3w—three weeks from now
  • 2mo—two months from now
  • 4y—four years from now

Keep in mind that in each of these examples, "now" is the date shown in the Start Time box, not necessarily the current date and time.

How to clear the custom forms cache
Recently, we had occasion to research the way Outlook handles custom forms. We had multiple users receiving the message that the form required to view a message could not be displayed. This error can be caused by corruption in the form itself or in the data file in the client's form cache.

Assuming the construction of the form was sound, the problem more than likely resides in the frmcache.dat file in the Windows\forms directory.

To clear the forms cache, exit Outlook and delete the frmcache.dat file. Once you restart Outlook, a new frmcache.dat file will be created. If your problem persists, repeat the steps above, but this time delete not only the .dat file but the directories for each form.
To comment on these tips, or to share your favorite Outlook tip, please post a comment below or send us a note .

About

Ken Hardin is a freelance writer and business analyst with more than two decades in technology media and product development. Before founding his own consultancy, Clarity Answers LLC, Ken was a member of the start-up team and an executive with TechRe...

1 comments
rjwebbinnh
rjwebbinnh

Could anyone help me view a template form, created in Outlook and sent via email, on my smart phone? I get the email but it is blank.

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