Chapter Forms

With Outlook forms in Design mode, you can build custom forms to streamline request processes, collect and distribute information, and save and show information that is structured so that it's both easy to find and easy to read. For example, you can create travel request forms to automate the approval of business travel plans. You can create product response forms to collect valuable information from your customers. Or you can create job candidate forms to post information about a potential employee so that other members of your organization can view the candidate's background before interviewing the candidate. After the interview, interviewers can post their impressions of the candidate in a public folder, so a manager can quickly get an overall impression of the candidate.

This chapter discusses form design concepts, introduces the form design process, and then covers fundamental form design tasks such as adding controls and fields, creating new actions, setting form properties, and publishing forms. When you have completed this chapter, you should have the basic knowledge and skills you need to create and publish forms in your organization.

Become Familiar with Designing Forms and Form Components

This section covers the components of forms in Design mode and discusses the parts of an Outlook form. Outlook Form Design Mode

The following elements are available while Outlook forms are in Design mode:

• Form DesignwindowTo show the various pages of the form and the form properties and actions.

• Toolbox To add new controls (such as buttons) to the form.

• Field Chooser To select fields for the form.

• Propertiesdialog box To modify a control or field.

• Script Editor To program or automate the forms.

The last four elements are shown in Figure 5-1. For more information on how to open a form in Design mode, see "Outlook Form Design Mode" in Chapter 2, "Outlook Design Tools."

Figure 5.1 - These elements are available while Outlook forms are in Design mode. Types of Forms

Outlook provides four basic types of forms to use as starting points for all forms that you build. To design forms effectively, you need to know the basic characteristics of these four types: Message, Post, Office Document, and built-in forms.

Message and Post forms can be fully customized. Although Office Document forms can't be directly modified, you can add VBScript to the form to customize it. Task, Appointment, and Journal forms can be customized by adding pages to the forms, but the existing pages cannot be modified. This also applies to the Contact form, but you can modify the first page of a Contact form.

For a detailed description of form components, see "Parts of a Form" later in this chapter. Message Form

Use the Message form shown in Figure 5-2 as a starting point for building forms that allow users to send information to other users, to a distribution list, or to a folder. The Message form can be fully customized. When Message forms are sent, they travel through the messaging transport system and are then routed to the specified address. Examples of Message forms are the Vacation Request form, the While You Were Out form, and the Business Card Request form.

Figure 5.2 - The Mail Message form is the starting point for Message forms. Post Form

Use the Post form shown in Figure 5-3 as a starting point for building forms that allow users to post, open, and respond to information in a personal or public folder. The Post form can be fully customized. Post forms submit items directly to the active folder. For this reason, Post forms are tightly integrated with fold ers. Examples of Post forms are the Product Idea and Product Idea Response forms found in the Product Ideas application, which is discussed in Chapter 4, "Design a Custom Application."

Figure 5.3 - The Post form is the starting point for forms that are integrated with a personal or public folder.

Built-in Forms

You can modify built-in forms in Calendar, Contacts, Distribution List, Journal, and Task modules by showing additional pages on the form. You can then add controls and fields to the form to suit the needs of your application. (See Figure 5-4.) The default page cannot be modified, with the exception of the Contact form's default page.

The characteristics of each built-in form vary, depending on the application. For example, with the Task Request form, users send a Task Request to other users. With the Task form, however, users save the task in the current folder.

Parts of a Form

Before you get started designing forms, you need to know about the different components of a form and what each component is used for. This section dissects a form and discusses the purpose of each of its components.

The Compose and Read Pages

An Outlook form can consist of a single page, but in most cases, it consists of two pages: a Compose page and a Read page, as shown in Figure 5-5. Although the Compose and Read pages are often similar in appearance, they serve very different purposes. The Compose page enables users to create items and to send or post items. The Read page lets users open and read submitted items in a folder, and to respond to items.

¡—With the Compose page, users can create an item and send or post it.

Users enter intormation on t h ©'Compose page.

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