When used with Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Outlook provides groupware capabilities that allow more than one person to work on the same data. Even without using these capabilities, however, you can still customize Outlook folders for your personal use or to create a solution that other people in your organization can use.
If you’re planning to build a groupware solution, you should consider first working with Outlook to develop a single-user solution. Since a groupware solution is often as simple as placing a custom form in a Microsoft Exchange public folder, learning the basics of building a folder-based personal forms solutions will be fully applicable to developing solutions in public folders.
Whether it’s in one of your personal folders or in a Microsoft Exchange public folder, putting together an Outlook solution typically involves the following steps:
- Decide which type of folder and/or form to customize.
- Open a new form and customize it to suit your needs.
- Publish the form to the folder so that it’s available only for use in that folder.
- Set the custom form as the default form for the folder. This will ensure that when you create new items for use in this folder they’ll be based on the custom form you created.
- If you have any existing items in the folder, update these items so they will use the new form when they’re opened.
Note If you plan to use a custom form in a folder, you should create the custom form before creating any items based on the form. This will ensure that all the items in the folder use the same set of fields.
If you need to update the form after having created some items in the folder, follow these steps:
- Open a new, blank item based on your custom form.
- Update the form to suit your needs.
- Republish the form to the folder using the same name.