using forms (part II)
In April we embarked on a new journey in
Microsoft Outlook: creating a custom
form. This month we return to the topic,
showing you how to customize a form so
that it looks and works exactly the way
you want it to.
Before we get started, let's refresh our
memories as to what forms are and what
they are used for.
In Outlook, forms provide an easy
way to distribute and collect
information electronically. For example,
you can customize messages,
appointments, and any other Outlook item
using forms. You can also group and sort
the information you collect, respond to
information, and view information by
last article focused on selecting a
default form (which we'll review); this
article focuses on customizing the form.
Choosing a default form - a review
The first step involved in creating a
custom form is to choose the default
form you want to use as a starting
point. For example, if you are planning
to distribute your custom form via
e-mail, you'll want to use the Mail
Before you can select a form, you need
to create a folder to store it in. To do
this, select File > New > Folder from
the menu, enter a name for the folder,
and select the type of item the folder
will contain. Once you've done this,
select a location for the folder and
To select a form, select Tools > Forms >
Design a Form from the menu. Make sure
that "Standard Forms Library" is
selected in the Look In list and then
click the form you want to use to select
it. Click Open to display the form in
In Design view you can add and remove
fields, controls, options, and tabs
until the form looks and works exactly
the way you want it to. For example,
let's say you don't need a Business Fax
label or a Web page address label. You
can easily remove these, paving the way
for new, more useful labels.
Deleting labels, controls, and fields
Deleting labels, controls, and fields on
a form is extremely easy—all you have to
do is select the element you want to
remove and press the <Delete> key.
Resizing labels, controls, and fields
If you want to make a label, control or
field larger or smaller, click it to
select it. Then, click and drag one of
its sizing handles until the element is
the size you want.
As soon as you open a form in Design
view, the Field Chooser toolbox appears
by default. If it doesn't, click the
Field Chooser button on the Form Design
To search for a specific field, click
the list arrow at the top of the toolbox
to display a list of categories. Click
the category that best matches what
you're looking for to display a list of
available fields. Once you find the
field you want to insert, click and drag
it onto the form.
Creating your own fields
You can also create your own fields from
scratch. To do this, click the New
button in the Field Chooser toolbox. In
the New Field dialog box, enter a name
for the field, select the type of
information that will be entered into
the field, and select a format. Click OK
when you're finished to add the new
field to the Field Chooser toolbox, then
click and drag the new field onto the
A control can be anything from a
scrollbar to an option button. You
insert controls the same way you insert
fields, except you will use the Controls
toolbox instead of the Field Chooser
To display the Control toolbox, click
the Control Toolbox button on the
toolbar or right-click an empty space on
the form and select Control Toolbox from
the shortcut menu.
To insert a control onto a form, click
and drag the control onto the form.
Positioning labels, controls, and
More than likely, you'll need to
reposition the elements in a form in
order to make everything appear exactly
the way you want it.
Repositioning is easy—simply select the
element you want to move and drag it to
a new location on the form. You can also
use the buttons on the Form Design
toolbar to align, layer, and group
Publishing a custom form
Once you're finished customizing a form,
the next step is to publish it.
Publishing a form makes it available for
use in Microsoft Outlook.
Select Tools > Forms > Publish Form from
the menu. The Publish Form As dialog box
appears. Click the Browse button, find
and select the folder you created for
the form, and click OK.
Type a name for your form in the Display
name text box and click Publish. Your
form is saved to the desired folder and
is now available for use.
Jump to other stories through these
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at the Lodi Chamber of Commerce
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The following screen shots illustrate
the articles on the left.