Outlook 2013 - Custom Form Creation versus Form Regions? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am a long-time user of Outlook, and have created and used custom forms, primarily for contacts, for quite a few years. I recently bought a new laptop, with Outlook 2013, and have had issues "porting" my custom forms that were created in '07 to '13. I've had the address and phone number label problem, the tiny text bug that shows the text of the first field on each page as very small, random background color changes to text boxes, and now am dealing with a bug that won't open the Follow Up window when I attempt to access the follow up function from within the custom contact form itself. I can right-click on the contact and the follow up function works perfectly fine. In other words, outside of the custom form, the follow up function and window work perfectly.

    As I was researching this latest follow up function bug, I've come across a few suggestions that custom forms are obsolete, and that I should be using the Form Regions mechanism for customizing forms. Which I'm happy to do, but when I first looked at Form Regions in '07, I was thoroughly confused and never spent much time on it.

    So my question is two fold - 1, will all of these bugs disappear if I were to create new custom forms using the Form Region mechanism? and 2, if so, where can I find an easy to understand resource to learn how to use the Form Regions mechanism to create customization, so that I don't have to spend more than a few hours re-creating my forms from scratch?

    Thank you in advance.

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 4:00 PM


  • Hello Mark,

    1. Form Regions technology is a successor of custom forms. Even MSDN library states the following:

    If you have a forms-based solution, you should consider migrating your solutions to Outlook 2007 to use form regions.

    Though they are still based on the *.ofs files (outlook native format), the business logic can be implemented on the managed code. Presence of a form region on the Outlook form shouldn't affect the follow up function. However, I am not sure about re-drawing issues ( a tiny text and random colors on the background) due to the fact of using the .ofs file format. There is a chance to left bugs ahead... Just give it a try!

    2. Please take a look at the Building an Outlook 2007 Form Region with a Managed Add-In article in the MSDN library. It provides all the required steps for migrating your code.

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 5:19 PM