Outlook enables you to test your forms as you develop them. Since the design and run environment are built into Outlook, you do not have to compile or save your forms before testing them. You can start a separate run mode so that you can test the form's functionality while making changes to it in design mode. You can also enable multiple instances of your forms in run mode, which is useful if you want to try different versions of the form and test different areas of functionality. To test your forms in run mode, enter design mode and select Run This Form from the Form menu. Outlook will automatically create a new instance of your form in run mode. To get back to design mode, just close the running instance of the form. Figure 5-22 shows an Outlook form in both design and run modes.
Figure 5-22 An Outlook form both in design and run modes. These two separate modes make it easier to test your Outlook applications.
After customizing your forms, you need to make them available to your users. There are three primary ways you can distribute your forms to users:
The following sections describe each of these
As you learned in Chapter 3, Outlook supports four types of forms libraries, and each type meets a specific need for forms publishing:
Note that Outlook also allows you to create personal folder files (.pst files). These files implement the same functionality as your personal mail folders, so you can create new folders in these personal store files and publish forms to the folders. Since you can save the forms to your local hard disk, you can e-mail or copy them to a floppy for distribution.
To publish your forms to a forms library, follow these steps:
As you learned earlier in this chapter, you should save the form definition with an item when you know that the users will not have the form
You need to keep two issues in mind when you consider whether to save the form definition with the item. The first issue is security—particularly when VBScript is used to customize the form. To alleviate security concerns, Outlook provides a security measure when users receive an item with a form containing VBScript. Since Outlook supports customizing forms with VBScript, this is a necessary precaution. Without it, users could send malicious forms containing VBScript which could, for example, delete data on your hard drive. This security measure displays a warning message box, as shown in Figure 5-23, allowing the user to either enable or disable the VBScript in the form. This security warning will appear only if the form has the definition saved with it, is not published in any of the forms libraries, and has VBScript included with it.
The second issue to note is that when you save the form definition with the item, you cannot take advantage of the automatic update capabilities of Outlook forms. For example, if you change the form, the new version of the form will be included only with new items you create based on it. Any old items will use whatever form definition was originally saved with the item.
Figure 5-23 The warning message that displays when a form has the definition saved with the item and also contains VBScript.
When you attempt to publish a form, Outlook 98 will prompt you about whether you want to save the form definition with the item.
Outlook allows you to save your forms as Outlook template, or .oft, files. This enables you to embed the form in a mail message and send it to users who are both internal and external to the organization. Your users open the form using the attachment, and they either return the form completed or publish the form in a forms library. Saving your custom forms as .oft files is one way to create