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Professional Outlook® 2007 Programming by Ken Slovak

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Chapter 5. Outlook Forms

The forms Outlook uses to show open items can be customized by adding controls and code. You often use custom form applications for things such as Help Desk tickets, routing of approval or review forms, and human resources forms. These custom forms and form applications were the only way of providing a custom user interface for Outlook items until Outlook 2007. Form regions are a new way to customize an item's user interface and provide opportunities for customization that aren't available with standard custom forms.

No investment was made in new features for custom forms in Outlook 2007, and none has been made for many versions of Outlook. Microsoft is encouraging forms development for Outlook 2007 to concentrate on using form regions. Of course, this approach works only if every user is running Outlook 2007 and won't work if the forms are used with earlier versions of Outlook.

In this chapter, you learn how to customize Outlook forms, and the advantages and disadvantages of using custom forms. You also learn about form regions and how to design and use them.

A complete discussion of Outlook custom forms is a big topic that can take up an entire book, so only the basics of custom forms are covered in this chapter. For more information about designing and working with custom forms and lots of information about various problems and solutions for custom forms, I recommend looking at the material at www.outlookcode.com/d/forms.htm.

Working with Standard Forms

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