Tech Tip: Simplify access to custom forms

Custom forms can go a long way toward enhancing your users' experience with Outlook, but more importantly, they provide the means for those users to gather and/or submit data in a familiar way. If you're going to create Outlook forms to simplify the way users gather and submit data, you should also simplify the way your users access those forms.

You can select a form by going to Tools | Forms | Choose Form, and browsing for the form you need in the Choose Form dialog box. Forms can be saved in a variety of locations, including a user's Personal Forms Library, a local folder, a network share, and even in specific Outlook folders. You can also copy a custom form to a specific folder, such as the Inbox, so the custom form appears on the user's Actions menu when he or she opens that folder.

Follow the steps in this example to place a custom message form in the Inbox and on the Actions menu for the Inbox:

  1. Go to Tools | Forms | Design A Form, and add some additional fields above the message body field to customize the form.
  2. Go to Tools | Forms | Publish Form As, select the Personal Forms Library, enter a name for the form (such as Support Request), and click Publish.
  3. In the Outlook Bar or folder list, right-click the Inbox, choose Properties, and select the Forms tab.
  4. Click Manage, click Set, choose Personal Forms from the Forms Library drop-down list, and click OK.
  5. Select the custom form you've created, click Copy to copy it to the Inbox folder, and click Close
  6. Click OK to close the Properties for the Inbox.

Now, when a user needs to submit a Support Request, he or she can simply click Actions | New Support Request to open the form.

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