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Chapter 20. Customizing Outlook Forms > Reviewing Custom Form Basics

Reviewing Custom Form Basics

The custom disclaimer form is very simple and doesn't have any custom fields, but it introduces a number of the issues you will also be concerned with for all custom forms:

  • Version— When you open a custom form, Outlook caches the form design (saves it locally on your hard drive) so it will open more quickly after the first time the form is opened. If you change the design of the form and publish it with the new design and the same name, Outlook can become confused and open a previous version of the form. To prevent this from happening, always use a version number for your forms and change the version each time you publish a new version of the form.

  • Icons— Outlook custom forms always use the icon for the Post form by default. To have a custom form use the standard icon for that type of Outlook item, or to use a special icon that you have designed, you must set the large and small icons for the form.

  • Properties of existing forms— In the disclaimer form, you entered the disclaimer text in the e-mail message and then placed the form into design mode. Any text, signature, recipients, attachments, or other settings or properties present in the form when it is placed in design mode will be present in the custom form.

  • The form definition sent with the item— The form definition consists of all the customizations you have made to a standard form. In the disclaimer form, the only customizations were the disclaimer text and the properties such as Version that you set on the Properties tab of the form. More complex custom forms might include custom controls such as drop-downs and checkboxes, programming code that the form runs when opened or saved, and many other customizations. When you publish a form, as you did the Disclaimer form, the form definition is stored in Outlook, so you don't need to save it in your form. In most cases, you shouldn't ever save the form definition with the form; the form becomes much larger when the form definition is included. There are other disadvantages to saving the form definition with the form, so the rule of thumb is never to do so.

  • Publishing location— When you publish a form, you must select where to publish it. The default location is the Personal Forms Library. Publishing in this location makes the form available for your use; you can access it by selecting Tools, Forms, Choose Form and selecting a custom form from this library. If you select a specific Outlook folder as the location to publish the form, the form is available from the Actions menu when you are in that folder. In the case of the Disclaimer form, you published it in the Inbox, so the form is available in the Actions menu when you are in the Inbox.



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