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Notice: This material is excerpted from Special Edition Using Microsoft Exchange Server, ISBN: 0-7897-0687-3. The electronic version of this material has not been through the final proof reading stage that the book goes through before being published in printed form. Some errors may exist here that are corrected before the book is published. This material is provided "as is" without any warranty of any kind.

33 - Introduction to Exchange Forms Development

This chapter introduces you to the world of making custom Exchange applications without prior programming experience. However, if you're already familiar with Windows and Visual Basic, you'll have a very easy time using the Forms Designer interface.

The Exchange Forms Designer lets you lay out all the different fields on your form, link them to Exchange objects, and designate actions on events. Without any previous programming experience, you can create applications that will make your organization more productive. Many example applications are provided on the Exchange CD-ROM. You can use these predesigned forms, and modify them for your use. They are located in the \EXCHANGE\FORMS directory of whatever drive you have installed the client applications.

See the section, "Installing the Forms Designer," for more information on installation.

The Forms Designer enables the creation of two types of forms:

Among the potential custom applications you can create are electronic forms. For example, in many organizations there are standard forms that are routed to specific individuals. Using the Forms Designer, you can create a travel-request form, time-off request form, or office-supply requisition. These applications take the work out of making simple requests. In addition, with the integration of public folders, the forms are easy to distribute throughout the organization. You no longer have to make sure that everyone has the most up-to-date form, and that they have enough copies. Distributing the forms electronically makes it easier for the user, and easier for the recipient who receives all the forms. He or she can easily organize and process all the requests in the universal Inbox.

Another strong suit of the Forms Designer is to maximize the effectiveness of public folders. By designing an application, you can make it really easy to enter data into a public area. A great example of this use is for those organizations who post a lot of memos. Instead of printing out the memos and distributing them through the mailroom or by e-mail into everyone's inbox, you can just create a public folder called "Company Memos" and then write an application that lets the user enter the memo into some structured fields. Once the user executes the form, the memo is posted to an appropriate sub-folder under the main "Company Memos" folder. The sub-folder could be based on a field on your form that had a drop-down list of company departments. Using this system, everybody wins. The mailroom folks have less junk mail to route, the people in the copy room have less to copy which saves toner, and most importantly, paper is saved, which is good for the environment as well as the bottom line.

In this chapter, you learn the following:

Installation of the Forms Designer

As mentioned throughout this book, the Forms Designer is a client application. It is installed with Schedule+ and the Exchange Client. However, you may not have installed it when you installed the other components. What follows is an installation procedure:

1. Run the Exchange Setup Program.

2. Choose Complete/Custom from the menu provided.

3. From the Complete/Custom window, choose Change Options.

4. In the Options box, select Forms Designer and Sample Applications, and choose OK.

5. Choose Continue.

6. Choose Continue.

If you had any previous version of the Forms Designer on your drive, Setup will detect and overwrite it with the new version. Any forms you create will not be overwritten by any new versions you may install.

Along with the application, all the different sources of help are installed. There are three different sources of help when you are designing applications: Cue Cards, On-line Help, and On-line Documentation.

These various sources of on-line help are a great supplement to this chapter. You will get the context-sensitive help you need, and at the same time you'll get more step-by-step tutorials to walk you through all the functions. The on-line manuals give you access at your fingertips. Most of the time, someone else has the manual when you need it.

Using Forms in Your Organization

Exchange's structure provides for many different uses of the containers in the hierarchy. You can design applications that leverage this flexibility. Two possible ways of using the Exchange framework are for discussion and reference purposes.

Discussion Applications

In many organizations, several different teams are working on different projects. As they get ideas, they usually send out an e-mail to all the people involved. As the weeks go by, everyone winds up with many e-mail and voice-mail messages that have no structure. Many are simply carbon copies, forwarded messages, or replies. It usually means going back and sifting through all the messages looking for information.

Some groups use a bulletin board or internal newsgroup to help centralize all the data. The only problem with this solution is that most e-mail packages that provide bulletin board capability have poor security. You can't control who can post, read, or modify. When using Usenet-style newsgroups, you can't control who can read and post very easily. You would have either have to set up passwords, or host entries for each machine to read or post. It isn't very easy or robust.

Using a custom Exchange application for discussion, you gain all the access control that is inherent in Exchange and NT Server. You can allow only members of the proper teams to access their information. In some cases, you would want to allow read-only access to people in other groups to promote team cooperation. Exchange's public folder structure is flexible enough to allow this.

Not only that, using a custom application can structure the data. The forms you create can contain certain fields, and also contain information about threads. The ability to structure information in different views gives the user the ability to chose a report sorted by date, author, or subject. You can also use structure subjects if you want to keep discussions along a certain topic.

Some of the most common uses of discussion applications are customer-support databases, brainstorming applications where team members can input ideas as they come to them, frequently asked questions lists, and meeting-summarization applications.

Reference Repositories

Exchange serves as a great repository of documents and objects as well as e-mail. You can easily write applications that provide easy access to all your standard documents throughout the enterprise. Many organizations have several standard documents such as policies and procedures manuals, style guides, and computer-usage guidelines. In addition, many organizations have standard Word document templates that they use. These objects can be placed in an Exchange public folder and made available right on the user's desktop.

Explaining the Forms Environment

A few pieces of the Forms environment need to be explained in the scope of the large Exchange picture. These components consist of

Forms Libraries

When you create a form, you save and install it into a folder forms Library. The properties of the forms saved into a particular folder are dependent on the properties of the folder. This includes access permissions. When the user chooses New Form on the Tools menu in the Exchange Client, he or she is presented with a list of forms available in the folder.

The Global Forms Library

The Global Forms Library houses all the forms that you want to make available to everyone in the enterprise. These forms could include vacation-request forms, corporate memos, or telephone-message forms.

The Folder Library

Every folder, either public or private, has a forms Library associated with it. You can save forms into one of your private folders, but they will only be shared with anyone to whom you have given access to your folders.

By putting forms into a public folder, you allow robust sharing based on the permissions of the folder, which are generally easy to change if the need arises. When new users are added the Exchange system, their group memberships can determine which public folders to which they have access.

For example, say you had a group called Directors, that contained people at or above the level of Director in your organization. You could create a folder that contained a form they could fill out that would make it easy to enter product data sheets, and store them in a public folder so that all people at that level or above could view and modify them. The folder you set up has the permission properties set to only allow members of the NT group Directors to view and modify.

The Personal Forms Library

This Library is not shared with any other user. It contains the forms the person uses most often. If you have functions that you perform every day, and create a form to automate those tasks, you would place the form in your personal Library. In addition, you can use these forms when working off-line as long as your default information store resides on you local disk.


Since forms reside in folders, it is pertinent to discuss folder views. Global views apply across all forms and folders, and folder views apply only to the selected form containing the view.

Think of views as the different reports generated off of a database. In the old days, you had to write different report specifications to get the data you wanted presented in the order you wanted.

Views allow you to order information and present it to the user the way he or she would like to see it. When you establish a form, you create structured fields within it that lend themselves very nicely to the four kinds of views:

Views are created outside the form, in the Exchange Client. Once you install a form into a folder form Library, all its fields are published to the Library, allowing you to easily set up views later on in the Client.


Just as views are folder properties that apply to form, so too are rules. Rules are a powerful feature in Exchange that allow you to control what happens to an item once it is submitted to a folder.

Many e-mail packages have this functionality in some form. However, in most cases, you must be logged into your mail application for the rules to take effect. Also, most e-mail packages lack the ability to do this with bulletin board-type functionality.

With Exchange, an example of applying rules to a form entry would be that any item meeting certain criteria can be moved to a sub-folder, or e-mailed to someone else as a carbon copy, or even deleted if you so wish.

This functionality gives you much more control over the organization of your data, and even helps reduce redundant entries. It cuts down on administration because everything is automatic once the rules are established.

For more information on rules, see the section entitled "Setting Folder Rules," later in this chapter.


By establishing folder permissions, you control who has access to any of the forms contained in that folder's Library. You also control what the user can do in the folder. You can set options to allow read, write, and edit access. In addition, you can select pre-defined roles that allow the administrator to quickly establish a set of permissions for the user.

You can also delegate any user as an owner of a certain folder. This enables that user to give other users access permissions. This is analogous to Windows NT Server permissions that allow multiple users to be administrators for a certain domain. Giving someone else ownership permissions allows for multiple administrators and the delegation of responsibilities.


An easy way to think of items is to think of database tables. In a database, tables consist of records, which consist of fields, which have values. Exchange forms work the same way. Folders contain items, that contain fields, that have values. It's very straightforward. An item is like a record in a database.

Explaining the Form's Components

If you are familiar with Visual Basic at all, this section will make a lot of sense and be basic refresher material. If you've never used Visual Basic, this section will provide very important information that will aid you in understanding the form design process.

The reason we mentioned Visual Basic is that Exchange forms are Visual Basic Version 4 executable programs. They do not need to be run independently of Exchange, as the Exchange Client takes care of this process. Using forms is completely transparent to the user.

The Forms Designer serves as a front end to Visual Basic, so non-programmers can create robust applications using a simple tool without the advanced knowledge needed to use Visual Basic.

Using Visual Basic comes with some consequences. One thing is that non-Windows clients will not be able to use Exchange forms because there is machine-executed code involved, and non-Windows platforms cannot run this code.

On the flip side, however, companies that have in-house Visual Basic expertise can build robust, enterprise-caliber applications that take full advantage of object linking and embedding, as well as SQL Server access. For example, you could have an Exchange application that relies on the Global Address Book for addressing information, but at the same time writes fields to a SQL Server database somewhere on the network.

An Exchange form is made up of the following components:

Setting Properties of Form Components

Setting a form's properties is the most daunting task facing the form designer. It is through these properties that the application takes the desired effect. Properties sheets are the means by which the Forms Designer accomplishes its magic, without the need for writing code. Depending on the properties of each object, certain actions will bring about certain results.

As indicated by the title of the section, setting up the properties of each component is made easier because the properties are organized by Form, Window, and Field. The properties you can set for an item will vary with the item.

Form Properties

The general properties of forms consist of the display name, the icon the user will see, the version of the form, the item type associated with the form, and a brief description.

In addition to the general properties, the event properties control what happens when a user takes a certain action on the form. For example, if the user clicks a "Submit" button, you could have the form display a confirmation window showing the value of all the current fields.

Window Properties

The general properties of a window are the name, tab order of the fields in the window, caption, and the WinHelp filename.

You can also control resizing options, borders, and colors of the window with the format properties.

Field Properties

In addition to the standard general properties like field name, caption, and location, fields allow you to set initialization values. This allows you to set default values to all the fields in your window. If you have a radio button in your window, for example, you can set whether it is selected by default or not.

All of these properties will be discussed in greater detail when we actually go through the design of a real form. Each property will be explained in detail. What is important at this stage is that you get the feel for what needs to be done when designing a form.

Installing Forms

Upon the creation of a form, a form project file with an .EFP extension is created. It is very similar to a Visual Basic project file.

When you choose the Install command from the Forms Designer, several things happen that are transparent to you. The form files are taken by the installation routine and Visual Basic project files are created. This enables you to use these .MAK files and use them within Visual Basic 4 to extend your applications at a later time.

Once that happens, the form is compiled into a .EXE file, just like when you use the "Make .EXE" command from the File menu in Visual Basic. In addition a configuration file with a .CFG extension is created. This is used by the forms Library for installation.

After that step is completed, the form gets installed into the Forms Library of your choice. You will now be able to access your form from the folder you chose.

Planning Your Exchange Form

You now have all the information you'll need to create an application. The information in this section will give you a general overview of the general steps you will follow to create an application from beginning to end.

When designing a form, you should follow these simple steps:

You are now ready to create applications using the Microsoft Exchange Forms Designer. The next section will go into detail with a step by step tutorial. A sample form will be created from scratch showing you how the outline above will help you design custom applications.

Creating the "Website Button" Form

You are now ready to design a form from scratch. We're going to try to follow the outline for designing forms described above as closely as possible.

It is a good idea to collaborate with all the departments involved with the fields on the form at design time. They can provide a lot of key insights that will make the form much more useful to all the parties involved. For this form, the Media, Creative, and Account Departments need to be involved in the form-layout process.

The fields are shown in the following table:

Table 33.XX

Website Button Form Field Names and Descriptions

Name of Field Purpose
To Addressee on the technical staff
Date Date the note was sent
Subject User definable subject field
Company Company from whom you leased space
URL Website URL the button will reside on
OurURL URL the button will point to
Size Pixel size required by the company
StartDateEffective Button start date
EndDateEffective Button ending date
Transport Type of media required if any
Address E-mail address of company
Contact Name of contact person
ContactPhone Phone number of contact

This table is exactly what you should draw out before every loading the Forms Designer. The field names will be used later in the field properties definitions. The purposes of each field will also help you and your colleagues better design the form and add fields later.

1. Double-click the Forms Designer icon. The Microsoft Exchange Forms Designer dialog box appears (see fig. 33.1).

Fig. 33.1

You can use the Wizard, open a template, or use an existing application.

You can use any of the sample forms provided to familiarize yourself with the different kinds of forms.

2. Choose the Form Template Wizard (see fig. 33.2) and click Next.

Fig. 33.2

The Wizard gives you the choice of using the form to send to another user, or to post to a public folder.

3. Select To Another User (send) and click Next.

4. Select To Send information and click Next (see fig. 33.3).

Fig. 33.3

You can either use the form send information, or let the user enter a response to an existing item.

5. Choose One Window and click Next (see fig. 33.4).

Fig. 33.4

The name and description given to the form will determine how the user sees it in the Viewer.

6. Type Website Button Form in the Name field (see fig. 33.5), and This form is used to send detailed information to the technical staff to expedite Website media buys in the Description field .

Fig. 33.5

The Finish screen of the Wizard shows you the next steps you'll need to take when designing your form.

7. Click Finish (see fig. 33.6).

Fig. 33.6

Clicking Finish will bring lay out the default fields onto the form, and bring up the screen where you can add fields to it.

8. Our form does not require a "cc" field. Click in the middle of the field, and hit the DEL key.

9. We are now going to add the necessary fields to the form. First, select the Frame tool, and click on the right side of the form as shown below. A frame will be created. This will house the StartDateEffective and EndEffectiveDate fields.

10. Now you'll create the text entry boxes for the fields that will go inside the frame. The frame is just an easy way to group fields. To create a text entry field, click on the Entry Field tool, and drop the fields inside the frame. Then resize the fields as necessary by dragging on the border when the arrows appear.

11. There are a couple of ways to create multiple fields. You can either create each one separately, or you can create one, size it, and copy and paste it. The final product will be what's shown below.

12. You can replace the word Caption with the text describing the field. Just click in the box with the text of the caption and type over it.

13. We will now create a Listbox containing the name of the companies we usually deal with when we buy space. You can always add new companies easily.

You could use an Entry Field for this field, but for this example, it is good to try to experiment with the different field types.

14. Select the Listbox tool from the toolbar. Drop it onto the left side of the form, and size it as shown below by using the same technique as before. In addition, type Company into the caption (see fig. 33.7).

The items that appear in the listbox will be input later when setting properties for each field.

Fig. 33.7

You now have four elements on your form. A frame, two entry fields, and a listbox.

15. The next step is to add three more entry fields that will sit between the frame on the right, and the listbox on the left. They will contain the URL, OurURL, and Size fields. The result is shown below.

It is a good idea to save your form at this point. Select Save from the File menu, give your form the name WEBFORM, and click OK.

16. Let's now create the frame for the Transport field. This will consist of creating a frame with three radio buttons. The frame caption should read "Transport" and the three radio buttons should have the captions "America Online", "Compuserve", and "Internet", respectively.

You'll notice that the listbox containing the company field has been extended. It is very easy to control the length of the box by just dragging on the border.

As a reminder, click within a caption to change the text, and drag the edges of the box to resize. To move boxes around, click somewhere inside the box when the cursor is an arrow and drag the item around the form. If you are familiar with Windows applications, this should be familiar to you.

17. You only need to create three more fields: entry fields that will hold the Address, Contact, and ContactPhone fields. They are shown in the figure 33.8.

Fig. 33.8

The form is now completed.

18. Double-click in the Company field; the properties screen will appear as shown below. There are tabs of information: General, Format, and Initial Value.

You can select the field and press F4 instead of double-clicking on the object. For fields in tight areas of the screen, this is the preferred method, because double-clicking in these areas sometimes yields strange results such as the selection of text.

19. On the General tab, enter Company into the Reference Name field. The reference name is simply the variable name assigned to the field. You will use this when determining things like tab order.

20. Check the Required checkbox (see fig. 33.9). This field is required because without a company name, the rest of the fields cannot be complete. The purpose you established earlier will aid you in determining whether a field is required or not.

Fig. 33.9

The General Properties are complete for the Company field.

21. Click the Format tab. This tab controls the font, alignment, appearance, and style of the field value and the caption. The formatting defaults are correct for our purposes for this application.

22. Click the Initial Value tab (see fig. 33.10). This tab differs for each kind of field. Since we are using a listbox in this case, this tab gives you the opportunity to fill in the values in the list and select a default. Fill in the values according the figure shown below. These are the names of some popular Websites that sell advertising space.

Fig. 33.10

Highlight any entry and click the Set selection to initial value button to make it the default.

23. Push the Close button.

24. Move the pointer over the URL field and double-click.

25. On the General tab (see fig. 33.11), type URL as the Reference Name.

26. Check the Required checkbox.

Fig. 33.11

The General tab contains the same information regardless of field type.

27. Complete the procedures in steps 7 through 9 for all the fields remaining on the form. The Reference Name will match the Caption in the General tab of all the fields (excluding spaces).

28. Double-click the Internet radio button in the Transport frame.

29. Click the Initial Value tab.

30. Click the Selected radio button.

31. Select Close.

You've now completed all the form properties required for this form. For other forms, you'll probably need to set other properties, and this example provides you with a good starting point.

Setting Window Properties

1. Select Window Properties from the View menu.

2. Type WebButton into the Window Name field (see fig. 33.12).

3. Type Web Button Form into the Window Caption field.

4. Establish the tab order by selecting fields and clicking the button marked >>. Follow the figure below for an example of the field order.

Fig. 33.12

The layout of the window is determined by its properties.

5. Click on the Format tab (see fig. 33.13). This tab contains properties for window behavior. Things like background color, window icon, and title-bar icons are set using this tab.

6. Click the Formatting Toolbar checkbox in the Window Options section. Since all the necessary fonts are configured for each field, you don't need the Formatting toolbar for this specific application. It has been removed to show you the variations you can make to a form. (You can leave it if you wish.)

7. Change the Window Sizing Options dropdown box Resizeable. Your properties sheet should be identical to the one below.

Fig. 33.13

Your Format properties are now complete.

8. Click on the Menus tab (see fig. 33.14). You can add and modify menu items here. For our form, we will not need to modify this at all. Refer to the on-line help and Microsoft documentation for more information on modifying menus.

Fig. 33.14

The Menus tab gives you the opportunity to change the menus at the top of the screen.

9. Click the Close button.

The Window Properties have now been set. This is the second tier of properties you need to set for your form. We will now move on to the third and final set of properties that will control how the Form itself interacts with the user.

10. Select Form Properties from the View menu.

You can also press CTRL-F to get to the Form Properties.

11. This will bring up the properties that define your form. As you can see, the General tab (see fig. 33.15) contains the Form Display Name and Description you entered in the wizard. There are no other mandatory properties you need to set for this application.

Fig. 33.15

You use the General tab to control how the user sees your form.

Although the icon and help settings are set here, they are not modified for this application. Please refer to the Microsoft documentation and on-line help for more information on setting up Help for your applications.

12. Click on the Events tab (see fig. 33.16). You use this tab to define how the form will react to different events the user generates. This particular form requires no modification of these properties. See the Microsoft documentation and the on-line help for a full description of these fields.

Fig. 33.16

The Events tab is used to control how the form will react when different events are triggered.

13. Click the Close button to return to the main editing window.

All of the needed properties are now complete for this form. From here, we'll continue on our list of steps that need to be followed when creating custom forms with Exchange.

14. In the Viewer, create a new private folder called Website Buttons (see fig. 33.17) in your Mailbox container.

15. Choose Install from the File menu. This will initiate the process of calling Visual Basic and compiling the form. After the computer finishes all those steps, a prompt will come up asking you where to install the form.

Fig. 33.17

The installation procedure does all the work for you. All you have to do is select where you want to reside.

16. Click the Folder Forms Library radio button, and select Website Buttons from the list of folders. If the list doesn't appear, click the plus symbol to expand the tree of folders.

17. Click OK.

Testing the Form

You now need to run through the form to make sure everything works properly. This is really not a step-by-step process. Look for the following items:

To use the form, select New Website Button Form from the Compose menu in the Viewer.

Designing the Form Views

The Column Name property of each field becomes very important when designing views. You can group, sort, and display information by any one of the column names you defined in the design phase.

Our Website Button form (see fig. 33.18) is used to send structured data to another user. We've created a folder for the form, and will now design a view. When the user receives a Button Form in his or her inbox, dragging into this folder will make the item conform to the default view.

Fig. 33.18

Designing Views is made easy by the Folder Designer.

1. From the Tools menu, choose Application Design, then Folder Designer.

2. Click the Views tab (see fig. 33.19).

Fig. 33.19

The Views tab displays the views available, and provides a textual description of each.

3. Click the New button.

4. Type by Company in the View name box.

5. Click the Columns button.

6. Highlight each of the entries in the Show the following list and click the Remove button so the list is empty.

7. Click Company in the Available Columns list, and click the Add button.

8. Click Transport in the Available Columns list, and click the Add button.

9. Highlight Transport in the Show the following list, and click the Move Down button.

10. Click Address in the Available Columns list, and click the Add button.

11. Highlight Address in the Show the following list, and click the Move Down button.

12. Click Sent in the Available Columns list (see fig. 33.20), and click the Add button.

13. Highlight Sent in the Show the following list, and click the Move Down button.

12. Click OK.

Fig. 33.20

The layout of the columns included in the view should look like this after steps 5-12 are completed.

13. Click Sort.

14. Drop down the list, and select Sent.

15. Click the Descending radio button.

16. Click OK.

17. Click OK.

18. Double click the by Company entry in the list to place the checkmark next to it. It is now the default view.

19. Click OK.

All the entries in this folder will now be displayed according to the View you created (see fig. 33.21).

Fig. 33.21

Views determine how the items appear in the folder.

You have now completed all the necessary steps for the Website button form. The next steps are provided for demonstration only, since this form is a send form which is intended to simplify sending structured information to a particular user.

You can, however, make the public folder the recipient of the message. This would enable a centralized repository of all the Website Button buys.

Copying the Form to a Public Folder

Our Website Button Form will only be used by a couple of people, so putting it into a public folder isn't really appropriate; however, for the purposes of illustration, we will go through the steps of copying a form into a public folder.

In some organizations, administration of these folders is centralized and information policy prevents the administrator from giving users permission to manipulate public folders. The user must pass the folder onto the administrator, and have the administrator perform the following steps.

In some cases, however, a new public folder will be created, and permission will be granted to the user to manipulate the folder and its forms library. The tutorial below assumes you have all the proper permissions.

1. Select the Website Button Form folder.

2. Choose Copy from the File menu.

3. In the Copy box select the public folder you would like to copy the Website Buttons form into. In this case, it's the All Public Folders folder. Yours may vary.

4. Click OK.

Setting the Folder Properties

Now that the form has been moved to a public folder, you must now set the properties for that folder.

1. Right-click the Website Button folder and select Properties.

2. Select the Administration tab (see fig. 33.22).

3. Select by Company as the Initial view on folder. This will ensure that all items in that folder conform to the view we defined earlier.

4. Select Move/Copy in the Drag/Drop listbox.

5. Select the All users with permission radio button in the This folder is available to box.

Fig. 33.22

The Administration tab should now be completed as shown above.

1. Select the Forms tab.

2. Click the Only forms listed above radio button. This ensures that only the Website button form will be allowed in this folder. This protects against someone putting in some other kind of form like a Vacation/Absence form in the Website Button folder.

Setting Folder Permissions

3. Click the Permissions tab (see fig. 33.23).

4. Click the Default user and change the Role to None. These are the properties for all users. Changing the Role to None means that users have no privileges in the folder.

The following table lists all the Roles and their associated permissions.

Table 33.XX

Roles and Permissions

Role Permission
Owner All
Editor Create Items, Read Items, Edit All Items, Delete All Items
Author Create Items, Edit Own Items, Delete Own Items
Publishing Editor Create Items, Read Items, Edit All Items, Delete All items, Create Subfolders
Publishing Author Create Items, Read Items, Edit Own Items, Delete Own Items, Create Subfolders
Reviewer Create Items, Read Items
Contributor Create Items
None No Permissions granted
Custom Enables you to set permissions that do not match a predefined role

1. Click the Add button.

2. Select the users you want to have access to your folder and click the Add button.

3. Change the Role of each user you've added to Author. This allows them to Create and Read items in the folder. As you can see, each user can only edit and delete their own items.

Fig. 33.23

The Permissions tab enables you to control who has access to your form, and what operations each user can perform within the folder.

Setting Folder Rules

You can use rules for any folder including the Inbox. Rules process incoming items by running them through a series of criteria. The rule itself is the action to take upon the meeting of those specified criteria.

Some organizations have people with certain contacts or specialties. You can set up rules to copy messages to certain users with those specialties.

We're going to set a rule that will forward all Website Button requests for ESPNet to Ruben Perez because he processes all the ESPNet dealings. The user you choose will obviously depend on your own site.

1. Right click the Website Button folder and select Properties.

2. Select the Administration tab.

3. Push the Folder Assistant button.

4. Click Add Rule.

5. Click the Advanced button.

6. Click the Folder: Website Buttons radio button in the Show properties of group.

7. Select the Company Checkbox.

8. Select ESPNet the listbox (see fig. 33.24).

Fig. 33.24

The Advanced properties you select fields on the form as search criteria.

9. Click OK.

10. Click the Forward checkbox (see fig. 33.25).

11. Click the To button.

12. Select the proper user from the list and click the To button.

13. Click OK.

Fig. 33.25

You've now set up a complete rule. All ESPNet requests will be forwarded to the user you chose.

14. Click OK (see fig. 33.26).

Fig. 33.26

The newly created rule is now added to the rule list in the Folder Assistant.

15. Click OK.

We've now completed all of the steps in the folder design process. Your form will now make it a lot easier to expedite Website Button requests. The purpose of using this kind of application was to show you how you automate any kind of process.

The Exchange CD ships with many examples of common office forms. Using what you have learned here, you can go about modifying those for your own purposes.

Using Your Form

Now that you've created a new form and placed it in a public folder, accessing it and using it is a snap.

Addressing to a Person

1. Select the Website Buttons Folder

2. From the Compose menu, choose New Website Button Form. The form will pop up on your screen.

3. Fill out all the required fields.

4. Click the To button.

5. Select a recipient and click the To button.

6. Click OK.

7. Click the Send icon.

Addressing to the Website Button Public Folder

8. Select the Website Buttons Folder

9. Right click, and select Properties.

10. Click the Administration tab.

11. Click the Personal Address Book button. This will copy the name of the folder to your Personal Address Book so you can send an item to the folder.

12. Click OK.

13. From the Compose menu, choose New Website Button Form. The form will pop up on your screen.

14. Fill out all the required fields.

15. Click the To button.

16. Select Personal Address Book from the Show Names from listbox (see fig. 33.27).

Fig. 33.27

The Website Buttons folder is now in your Personal Address Book.

17. Select the Website Buttons entry.

18. Click the To button.

19. Click OK.

20. Click the Send icon.

Extending Forms with Visual Basic

Since forms are Visual Basic applications, you can actually use Visual Basic to extend the functionality of forms beyond what the Forms Designer offers. The Forms Designer simply gives you a "No Programming" environment where you design very powerful applications without typing one line of code.

We will only be covering a brief overview of what you need, what goes into using Visual Basic to modify applications, and why you would want to. You can refer to the Microsoft documentation and Visual Basic documentation for specifics on using Visual Basic for MAPI and OLE applications.

Anyone who wants to use VB to extend an application created with the Forms Designer should be very experienced with Visual Basic, as well as MAPI and OLE. Forms are 16-bit applications, therefore, you can only use the Visual Basic for Exchange that gets installed when installing the Exchange Client and Forms Designer or 16-Bit Visual Basic 4.0.

Potential Uses of Visual Basic with Exchange Forms

You might be asking yourself, why would I want to use VB to extend forms? Here are just a couple of examples of how VB can improve your forms.

Modifying Applications

When you install a form using the Forms Designer, several files get created in a directory called <FORMNAME>.VB. These files are those used when extending forms with Visual Basic (see fig. 33.28).

Fig. 33.28

The WEBFORM.VB directory contains all the files used by Visual Basic.

When using VB, only the <WINDOW NAME>.FRM files and the <FORM FILE>.CFG files are modified. Once you finish using Visual Basic to modify your form, you need to register all the new fields and properties in your form with Exchange. You will need to modify the .CFG file directly in Notepad or Wordpad to add all the objects and properties so they are recognized by Exchange.

From Here...

As stated earlier, we could devote an entire book to forms and application design under Exchange. We've tried to provide the information you need get your feet wet. You can always refer to the Microsoft documentation and the on-line Help for more information.

Having read this chapter, you should now understand the following:

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