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Outlook 2013 custom forms corruption RRS feed

  • Question

  • Anyone have any notion of when the problem with Outlook 2013 (see,  eg: one of several reports) custom contact and email forms will be fixed? 

    Striking that MS  released software with this sort of problem, and that is hasn't been repaired already.  or are custom forms intended to go the way of journal entries, wherein ms simply made it dysfunctional bit by bit, pretending it was there, but not, in fact, working?


    astro46

    Saturday, March 30, 2013 6:49 PM

Answers

  • Based on my evaluation of the problem and the linked threads, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a fix.  Two things to consider: customizing Outlook forms is a legacy technology and should be avoided, with Form Regions and add-ins the supported replacement.  The other is that customizing the first page of a Contact form has never, ever been a good idea.

    Eric Legault MVP (Outlook)
    About me...
    Outlook Appins: Store Social Media fields in your Outlook Contacts!

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013 3:05 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Based on my evaluation of the problem and the linked threads, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a fix.  Two things to consider: customizing Outlook forms is a legacy technology and should be avoided, with Form Regions and add-ins the supported replacement.  The other is that customizing the first page of a Contact form has never, ever been a good idea.

    Eric Legault MVP (Outlook)
    About me...
    Outlook Appins: Store Social Media fields in your Outlook Contacts!

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013 3:05 PM
    Moderator
  • must say i am a bit confused.

    i have been using the custom form since OF93? before? the first page is the only page i use, and therefore have any interest in customizing. i don't know if it is possible to customize a different page, and have it automatically appear as the first page.

    i have heard of the form regions idea.  i looked into it, and couldn't see any difference between what i did to customize the form and what form regions instructions talk about. so, (i could easily be incorrect), but it appears that i have been using form regions without realizing it.

    mostly, all my custom form does is eliminate the useless and distracting (to me) photo and business card. and move the notes to bottom of page. basically my custom form is simply the native form after you turn on "design this form".  i haven't done much else to it.

    add-ins?  is there an add-in form?


    astro46

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013 3:52 PM
  • No, you are not using Form Regions.  These are "additive" squares that don't affect the default design.  The benefit is that you can use a nearly full range of fancy Outlook-style (Olk) controls (like a Calendar picker) vs. the old and boring Microsoft Forms Controls in the Outlook Forms Designer toolbox.  But Olk controls are for Outlook 2007 or later only.  You can also use Visual Studio to design Form Regions under the control of an installed add-in.  These Form Regions can't use the fancy OlK controls, but you can use .NET Windows Forms controls and do a whole lot more; this is the optimum professional approach and the latest and greatest.

    There is a big difference to how the first page of the Contact form looks like with Outlook 2007+ if you touch the design in any way.  If you don't mind, then it's not a problem.

    Yes, you can hide the default page for Contact forms and replace it with a completely custom layout if you want.


    Eric Legault MVP (Outlook)
    About me...
    Outlook Appins: Store Social Media fields in your Outlook Contacts!

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013 4:13 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Astro46,

    I temporarily marked the replies as answers. You can unmark them if they provide no help.

    Please feel free to let us know if you need any further help.

    Have a nice day.


    Quist Zhang [MSFT]
    MSDN Community Support | Feedback to us
    Develop and promote your apps in Windows Store
    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013 11:58 AM
    Moderator
  • Based on my evaluation of the problem and the linked threads, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a fix.  Two things to consider: customizing Outlook forms is a legacy technology and should be avoided, with Form Regions and add-ins the supported replacement.  The other is that customizing the first page of a Contact form has never, ever been a good idea.

    Eric Legault MVP (Outlook)
    About me...
    Outlook Appins: Store Social Media fields in your Outlook Contacts!

    Eric,  since i had used a customized "general" (first page) of the contacts form for years, through several iterations of office, i had no reason to think that it wasn't a good idea.  today, i was pointed to a MS article on form customization (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ff868929.aspx) which noted

    "When you select a standard form, consider the extent to which you want to customize the form. Most standard forms have more than one page on the form, but only the pages on the mail and post forms, and the General page on the contact form are customizable. "

    It goes on to explain that in addition to customizing, one can use form regions.  It explains how to do customization, using the process that i have always used.

    As I understand this, MS thinks that the "general" page should be customizable.  which is odd since they have made it impossible.


    astro46

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013 3:25 PM
  • Quist,  what Eric says may turn turn out to be accurate, however,   see my reply to Eric, where i quoted a MS article that discusses customizing forms in of13, including the "general" (first) page of the contact form.

    i hope that MS will fix the problem.  It may be too early to declare an answer. i hope so.


    astro46

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013 3:30 PM
  • Yes, the default/standard/general page of most Outlook items (not Tasks and Appointments though) CAN be customized.  However, the default layout of the main Contact form drastically changes when you customize it.  The business card and contact photo controls are lost, for one.

    If that's not a problem for you, then carry on!  I just think that it's not worth it because...well, the fallback to the old design is just ugly.

    Regardless, if you have a chance to switch to using Form Regions, do so.  Using those with a .NET add-in is simply more professional and a far more robust solution platform than the legacy VBScript-based custom forms.


    Eric Legault MVP (Outlook)
    About me...
    Outlook Appins: Store Social Media fields in your Outlook Contacts!

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013 3:56 PM
    Moderator
  • Eric,  sorry, but i had to laugh when i read your reply.  getting rid of the business card and contact photo is the primary reasons why i want to customize!  (i can see why some people might like the  photo, but what is the point of the business card? )

    i don't mind the appearance of the custom form,  it looks like the original contact forms.

    the problem is that it doesn't work as is. i will have to design a page 2 from scratch and hide the current page one (thanks for pointing out the ability to do that).  not what i wanted to spend time on. i did experiment a bit. copying and pasting fields from page one to page two makes them work correctly. they only fail when on page one.

    as for form regions,  they may very well be more elegant, functional, etc,  but there is a learning curve that will take much time, and needed only because the 2013 custom form function is screwed up. i wouldn't be using regions because they provided a needed function or appearance.


    astro46

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013 4:28 PM
  • Understood!  If you want to beat the learning curve, forget about Microsoft's Visual Studio Tools for Office templates for creating Form Regions, and use either of these far easier to learn (and more powerful) developer tools instead:

    Outlook form & view regions for Outlook 2013, 2010, 2007: C#, VB.NET
    http://www.add-in-express.com/outlook-regions/index.php

    Create COM add-in /plugin for Office 2013, 2010-2000: VB.NET, C#, C++
    http://www.add-in-express.com/add-in-net/index.php

    Their support is also top-notch to help you whenever you want, and their forums equally so.


    Eric Legault MVP (Outlook)
    About me...
    Outlook Appins: Store Social Media fields in your Outlook Contacts!

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013 4:39 PM
    Moderator
  • Has Microsoft come out with a fix for this?

    It's so easy to reproduce.

    1) Open Outlook 2013

    2) Customize the Ribbon...

    3) Check on the Developer Tab

    4) Design a Form

    5) Select Contact out of Standard Forms Library

    Notice that in the Phone selection fields it says

    "E-mail3",   (When is an email a phone number?)

    "Business",

    "Other Fax" and

    "Home"

     

    Under all previous versions of Outlook, it was

    "Business"

    "Home"

    "Business Fax"

    "Mobile"

     

    Come on Microsoft get a Hot Fix for this!  It's stopping our rollout of Office 2013.


    J Awe TechBldrs Inc. www.TechBldrs.com

    Monday, April 15, 2013 4:24 PM
  • I was working with MS support on this and last communication (4/3) was that it sounded like my support person was going to submit a BIS (Business Impact Statement) for our business' application.  No update on further progress.
    • Edited by Jana LE Monday, April 15, 2013 5:15 PM
    Monday, April 15, 2013 5:13 PM
  • thank you Jana LE,   perhaps if ms hears from a few businesses they will fix it. please let us know if you hear further.

    astro46

    Monday, April 15, 2013 6:13 PM
  • Update today.  Support states "The fix request ... has been accepted and targeted to the August Cumulative Update."  They'll contact me if anything changes.  I'll post this in my original thread as well. 
    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 6:44 PM
  • i would say, keep you fingers crossed,  but 4 months is a long time to be operating with crossed fingers. iac, lets hope that it is true,  or even better, happens sooner.

    thank you jana


    astro46

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 8:14 PM
  • interesting note on this problem, from Diane Poremsky  at slipstick forum.  seems there may be a way to correct it. check this thread:

    http://www.outlookforums.com/threads/89722-docmessageclass-not-every-contact-converting-new-post

    it seems to work, but because of the subsequent broken onenote link i haven't implemented the solution, so can't say if it works in repeated use. just that the custom form seems look ok.

    no thanks to microsoft.


    astro46

    Saturday, May 11, 2013 3:54 PM