C H A P T E R    31 Part 5  Using Microsoft Office Throughout Your Organization Microsoft Office Resource Kit
Workgroup Features in Microsoft Outlook Previous



In This Chapter
Group Scheduling
Microsoft Exchange Public Folders
Extended Task Management Capabilities with Microsoft Team Manager

Microsoft Outlook 97 for Windows contains many features that support collaboration within a workgroup. This chapter provides administrators with the information necessary to enable, support, and troubleshoot workgroup features in Outlook 97.

See Also

Note   Outlook runs only on Windows 95 and Windows NT Workstation version 3.51 or later. Some of the workgroup features described in this chapter also require Microsoft Exchange Server. For more information, see your Microsoft Exchange Server documentation.


Group Scheduling

To implement group scheduling, a workgroup administrator must do the following:

You can also edit the profile script file (Outlook.prf) to create custom profiles for your users. For more information about setting up e­mail accounts, see your Microsoft Exchange Server documentation.

   Tools and Utilities   The Office Resource Kit Tools and Utilities include information about how to use and customize the default messaging profile used by Outlook and e­mail­enabled Microsoft Office applications. For more information, see "Outlook 97 Profiles" in Appendix A, "Microsoft Office Resource Kit Tools and Utilities."

Viewing Free/Busy Information in a Workgroup

The most common group scheduling activity is browsing free and busy information to find an available time for a group of users to meet.

Note   Free/busy status refers to the format displaying the user's time as free, busy, out­of­office, or tentative. This information is published in a common file format on the server. Free/busy details include appointment specifics such as subject or meeting location. To see free/busy details, a user must be granted permission to open another user's Calendar.

Outlook users publish their free/busy status using the Advanced Scheduling command on the Calendar tab in the Options dialog box (Tools menu). To view other users' unpublished free/busy status, Outlook users must open another user's Calendar (with appropriate permission).

Note   Unless noted otherwise, all references to Schedule+ refer to both Schedule+ 95 and Schedule+ 1.0.

For workgroups using a combination of Outlook and Schedule+, Outlook differs slightly from Schedule+ in how it handles unpublished free/busy status. When a Schedule+ user chooses not to publish free/busy status, other Schedule+ users who have at least read permission for that user's schedule can still view the free/busy status in their Meeting Planners. However, when an Outlook user chooses not to publish free/busy status, other Outlook users — even those who have read­only permission — cannot view the user's free/busy status in their Meeting Planners. Schedule+ users cannot see Outlook users' unpublished free/busy status, even if the Outlook Calendar is shared.

Managing Scheduling Data with Microsoft Exchange Server

For Outlook clients who use Microsoft Exchange Server, free/busy status and free/busy details are stored in a hidden public folder on the server. Within a single site (intrasite), this public folder may be replicated to load balance the queries to the free/busy information. When the free/busy folder is replicated, network traffic is reduced, especially when a large number of users are connecting to Microsoft Exchange Server.

You can also replicate the free/busy folder between two Microsoft Exchange Server computers located across a remote link. This reduces the total traffic across the link and improves performance when users read or write remote schedule data.

Scheduling Resources

With Outlook, you can plan schedules not only for workgroup users but also for resources such as conference rooms and AV equipment. This feature makes it easy for everyone in a workgroup to see when resources are available and to reserve the resources in advance. Users can include the resources, along with other attendees, in a meeting request. You can configure each resource account to accept or reject meeting requests automatically, or you can have requests for several resources handled by a single delegate.

To set up a resource on Outlook, first create an e­mail account for each resource, just as you would for a workgroup member. If a delegate is assigned for a resource, you can configure the resource account so that users send meeting requests directly to the delegate.

Unlike Schedule+ resource accounts, Outlook resource accounts cannot be booked directly. To set up automatic booking of Outlook resource accounts, you must configure the resource account so that Outlook automatically responds when meeting requests are delivered to the Inbox. To do this, you must have Outlook running on a computer and logged on to the resource account.

If you want to centralize booking of several resources, you can assign a single delegate to multiple resource accounts and then configure the delegate to respond to meeting requests automatically. All meeting requests sent to the resources are forwarded to the delegate for processing. The advantage to this method is that only one computer is required to handle multiple resources. For example, you can set up a dedicated computer, with Outlook logged on to the delegate account, to handle the booking of several conference rooms at once.

To assign a delegate to an Outlook resource account

  1. Create an e­mail account with the name of the resource.

    For example, create an e­mail account with the name Conference Room 3/422.

  2. Create an e­mail account for the delegate.

    You can create a dedicated delegate account, or you can use an existing user account. For example, you may use a receptionist's e­mail account for booking all conference rooms in a building.

  3. Start Outlook and log on to the resource account.
  4. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Delegates tab.
  5. Click Add.
  6. In the Add Users dialog box, select the delegate user, click Add, and then click OK.
  7. Set the permissions you want the delegate to have, then click OK.
  8. On the Delegates tab, select the Send meeting requests and responses only to my delegates, not to me check box. (This option is not available before you add the delegate.)

    All meeting requests sent to this resource are automatically forwarded to the delegate for processing.

You can also set up the resource account to handle meeting requests automatically.

To enable automatic booking of resource requests

  1. Start Outlook and log on to the delegate account.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Options, then click the E­mail tab.
  3. Select the Process requests and responses on arrival check box.
  4. Click the Calendar tab, and then click Advanced Scheduling.
  5. Under Processing of meeting requests, select the check boxes that correspond to the options you want to use.

    Select all three options for complete automatic booking of all meeting requests forwarded to the delegate. If you select only some of these options, you must log on to the delegate account periodically to accept or reject meeting requests.


Microsoft Exchange Public Folders

Note   This Outlook feature requires that you use Microsoft Exchange Server mail system.

When you set up Outlook as a workgroup client for Microsoft Exchange Server, you can set up public folders for users to share information. Outlook has built­in Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks modules that can be customized for workgroups to share details such as company schedules and holidays, employee and customer lists, and project task lists. Public folders can also be set up for users to participate in online conversations, to post information or documents in a bulletin board format, or to collect a list of shared World Wide Web sites.

You can develop custom views and forms for public folders to create custom applications. You can also give public folder users permission to do this. For more information about creating forms for custom applications, see Building Microsoft Outlook 97 Applications, published by Microsoft Press and available wherever computer books are sold. For more information about Microsoft Press, see Appendix E, "Other Support Resources."

The list of available public folders appears in the Outlook Folder List and in the Microsoft Exchange Server Administrator program. Users are not required to know the name or location of the server where public folder data is stored. If they have permission, other Microsoft clients (such as Microsoft Exchange Client) running under different operating systems can also use these public folders.

Setting Up Public Folders

As the workgroup administrator, you use the Microsoft Exchange Server Administrator program and the Outlook client to set up public folders for users in your workgroup. If you grant some or all of the users permission, they can share the task of creating the public folders. If you work in a large organization or expect heavy use of public folders, you might want to create public folder replicas on additional servers to distribute the user load, and set up a replication schedule to keep all public folder information up to date.

Follow these general steps to set up public folders:

  1. Determine how the public folders will be used in your organization. Consider the number of users, servers needed, and whether you need to tightly control public folder creation or permit users to share this task.
  2. Configure a Microsoft Exchange Server computer to have a public information store.

    The public information store can be on a dedicated public folder server or on a server that also contains a private information store.

  3. Use the Administrator program to set up the public folder hierarchy and public folder age and size limits, storage warnings, and access.
  4. Use Outlook to create public folders, set permissions levels, and create rules and views for items in the public folders.
  5. If necessary, create public folder replicas on additional servers and set up a replication schedule.

Note   For more information about how to set up, organize, and maintain public folders and how to set up and maintain public folder replication, see your Microsoft Exchange Server documentation.

Distributing Public Folder Shortcuts to Users

In an organization that has many public folders, it can be awkward for users to navigate to the folders they want to use, especially if the folders are deep in the Folder List hierarchy. To simplify finding a public folder, users can keep frequently used folders in the Public Folders Favorites folder. When you create public folders, you can distribute shortcuts easily by sending a message that contains public folder shortcuts to users who have permission to use them.

To send public folder shortcuts to users

  1. Create and address a mail message.

    Tip   Include the steps of the following procedure in the text of your message.

  2. For each public folder for which you want to send a shortcut, drag the public folder from the Folder List to the mail message.
  3. Send the message.

Recipients of your mail message must perform the following steps.

To save a shortcut to a public folder

  1. In the mail message, double­click the public folder shortcut you want to add to the Public Folders Favorites folder.

    The public folder opens in a separate window.

  2. On the File menu, click Add to Outlook Bar.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for each shortcut you want to add.

Why aren't public folder subfolders available?

When users add a public folder shortcut to the Public Folders Favorites folder, subfolders in that folder are not available when they use the shortcut. To make sure that subfolders are available from shortcuts in the Public Folders Favorites folder, have users create individual shortcuts for each subfolder they want to open from the Public Folders Favorites folder.

Helping Protect the Security of Public Folders

Depending on the permissions you grant, administrators and users can help control access to public folders. They can help control folder access at any point in the folder hierarchy. Permissions are grouped into predefined roles, or sets of activities, that can be performed in the folder. For example, the editor role permits users to read, create, edit, and delete any item in the folder, but not to create subfolders.

Hiding Public Folders from Unauthorized Users

By default, users can view the contents of the Public Folders folder and the All Public Folders folder. To keep users from viewing the contents of a public folder or any of its subfolders, you can use the Administrator program to revoke read permission for a user or distribution list. Revoking a user's read permission for a folder prevents the user from opening the folder or any of its subfolders in the Folder List.

To revoke read permission for a folder or subfolder

  1. In the Administrator window, click Public Folders in the Folder List.
  2. Double­click the public folder you want to change.
  3. Click the General tab, and then click Client Permissions.
  4. Click the name of the user or distribution list for which you want to revoke permissions.

    If you change permissions both for a user and for a distribution list that includes the user, the user permissions take precedence.

  5. Clear the Read Items check box.

Note   A subfolder inherits permissions from the parent folder only when the subfolder is created. If a user adds the subfolder shortcut to the Public Folders Favorites folder before you revoke read permission from the parent folder, the user can continue to use the shortcut to open the subfolder and view its contents. To help protect all subfolders in a public folder, you must revoke read permission for the parent folder and each subfolder.

Preventing Unauthorized Delegates from Adding Messages to a Public Folder

When users copy or move messages to a public folder, one of two names can appear in the From field of the posted message: the name of the person who originally sent the message or the name of the person who moved or copied the message. If the name of the person who originally sent the message appears in the From field, it appears as if the message were posted on behalf of the sender, even if the person who moved or copied the message does not have the appropriate delegate access permissions.

To change the From field setting for a public folder

  1. On the Outlook View menu, click Folder List.
  2. In the Public Folders folder, right­click the public folder for which you want to change the From field setting, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu.
  3. Click the Administration tab.
  4. In the Drag/Drop posting is a box, click Forward.

    The name of the person who originally sent the message appears in the text box of the message, instead of in the From field.

Supporting the Anonymous Exchange of Information

In Outlook, users can send messages or post information anonymously to a public folder. This practice is useful when users want to make a comment or distribute information to a public folder without revealing their identity to other users.

To permit users to exchange information anonymously, you must create an Anonymous account.

To create an Anonymous account

  1. In the Microsoft Exchange Server Administrator program, create a mailbox with the display name Anonymous.
  2. Give the Windows NT Domain users group (or any other group containing all or some of the Outlook users) Send As permissions on this mailbox.

    The simplest way to give Send As permission to all the users who will send mail through this account is to give permission to the group. Then every user in the group gets the permission automatically.

Once you have created the Anonymous account, users can address messages or post items from Anonymous instead of using their own names.

To send or post information anonymously

  1. In Outlook, create a message or item to be posted.
  2. On the View menu, click From Field, and then click From.
  3. In the Type Name or Select from List box, enter Anonymous, and then click OK.
  4. Enter recipient names in the To and Cc boxes.
  5. Give the message a subject, type the message text, and then send the message.

Tip   To prevent users from sending or posting information anonymously to a public folder, you can limit permissions for the Anonymous account or create a rule for the public folder to reject messages sent from the Anonymous account.

How do I know when public folders contain unread messages?

Although the name of a private folder appears in bold when the folder contains unread messages, the name of a public folder does not. This may be confusing to users accustomed to working with private folders.

If you want to be notified when a public folder contains unread messages, create a shortcut to the public folder. When the public folder contains unread messages, the name of the public folder shortcut appears in bold.


Extended Task Management Capabilities with Microsoft Team Manager

The Microsoft Team Manager program extends the task management capabilities of Outlook. Team Manager is a team activity manager that makes it possible for a workgroup to assign, track, and consolidate tasks. When Team Manager is used with Outlook, team members use the Tasks folder in Outlook to receive, view, and update team tasks. Outlook also serves as the messaging client through which team members send and receive task information.

You can use Team Manager in your workgroup to extend task management features in Outlook in the following ways:

Setting Up Team Manager

Team Manager has two Setup options. Managers use the manager Setup option, and team members use the team member Setup option. Even though team members track tasks in Outlook, team member Setup is required. Users who function both as managers and as team members must use both Setup options.

When users install Team Manager, they must choose a messaging option. If managers and team members are not all using Outlook as a messaging client, managers can set up a shared folder or directory on the network to send messages to and receive messages from team members. Users who function both as managers and as team members must choose the same messaging option for manager and team member Setup options. If your workgroup needs to switch to another messaging option (for example, if you are switching from network messages to Microsoft Exchange Server with Outlook as a client), users must reinstall Team Manager with the new messaging option.

Note   For more information about how to install Team Manager, how to set up a team file, and how to create and update tasks using Team Manager, see your Microsoft Team Manager documentation.

The following commands are added to the Outlook Tasks menu when Team Manager is installed using the team member Setup option:

Switching from Schedule+ to Outlook to View Team Tasks

Team Manager can integrate with task lists in either Schedule+ or Outlook. If your workgroup is switching from Schedule+ to Outlook, users must import their Schedule+ files into Outlook to keep team tasks synchronized between Team Manager and Outlook.

When users switch from Schedule+ to Outlook, they may need to set Team Manager to synchronize tasks with Outlook instead of Schedule+.

To set Team Manager to synchronize with Outlook

  1. On the Outlook Tasks menu, click Team Manager for team members.
  2. In Team Manager, click Options.
  3. Select the Keep copies of tasks in check box, and then click Outlook in the box to the right.

Task Priorities

Tasks are prioritized differently in Schedule+, Outlook, and Team Manager.

  • Schedule+: Tasks are prioritized from 1 to 9, A to Z, or A1 to Z9. Priority 1 is the highest priority. Priority 3 is the default.
  • Outlook: Tasks are prioritized as High, Normal, or Low.
  • Team Manager: Tasks are prioritized as Highest, Very High, High, Medium High, Medium, Medium Low, Low, Very Low, and Lowest.

When you import or synchronize tasks between programs, priorities may change. Schedule+ tasks imported into Outlook are prioritized as follows:

  • 1 = High
  • 5 = Low
  • 2 – 4 and 6 – 9 = Normal

When Outlook tasks are synchronized with Team Manager, Normal priority tasks appear as Medium priority tasks in Team Manager.

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