Using Access and Outlook to Send To Mailing Lists

Perhaps the most popular article on the site explains how to send email to a bunch of people using Access and Outlook.

It has garnered its fair share of comments and emails, and one came in today that I figured I’d share and then elaborate on.

The mail reads (in part):

I have a following question: How to modify this module to be able to send messages to various mailing lists that I predefine in respective queries? In other words, I have in my database 3 categories of customers (in 3 different queries) andI want to address them with a different message. Do I need to create 3 macros running 3 modules each referring to a separate query with a given category of customers or is there another way to do it?

You don’t have to create modules for each list, you just need to be able to tell the macro which query you want to use before running it.
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Importing and Exporting Mail and User Accounts in Outlook 2007

Outlook 2007 did away with the export account information that was present in earlier editions. So, if a user with one account moves machines, it’s often faster to just recreate the account on the new machine. However, if a user has 8 accounts (like one did today) it’s time to find a better way.

That better way is hidden the registry.

On The Old Machine

Outlook 2007 is nice enough to put all of its account info for each profile under one key.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\

So, first off, close Outlook if it’s running.

To export your Outlook account information, we just need to export that magic key.

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Select the key that you want to save as a file.
  3. On the File menu, click Export.
  4. In the Export Registry File dialog box, in Save in, click the drive, folder, or network computer and folder where you want to save the hive.
  5. In File name, enter a name for the key. (outlook_profile.reg would work great.)
  6. In Save as type, make sure it’s set as Registration Files (*.reg)
  7. Click Save.

Caveats: Every profile on your system under your logon will be exported.

To move your old mail, you’ll need to copy your PST file to the new machine.

  1. Click Start, Run
  2. Type %userprofile%\local settings\application data\microsoft\outlook
  3. Click OK
  4. In that folder there will be some *.pst files. Copy (don’t move!) them to a removable drive or a network share. The one you’re most likely concerned with is outlook.pst

On The New Machine

First, we need to import the profile information.

  1. Double-click the file (outlook_profiles.reg) you exported on the old machine. That will import the new information into the registry. (Simple!)

Next, we need to get your data file back over.

  1. Click Start, Run
  2. Type %userprofile%\local settings\application data\microsoft\outlook
  3. Click OK
  4. Copy (don’t move!) the *.pst files you found on the old machine. The one you’re most likely concerned with is outlook.pst

Lastly, we need to set Outlook to use the profile from the old machine.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Open the Mail applet.
  3. Click on the Show Profiles button.
  4. Choose the profile name that matches the one you used to use from the “Always use this profile” dropdown.
  5. Click OK.

Now, when you open Outlook, you should have your old mail and the mail accounts all set up and ready to go.

Passwords

Outlook on the new machine mightwill ask you for passwords the first time it does a send/receive on all non-Exchange accounts.

If you know the passwords, awesome. If not, you’ll need to find them out, and we go back to the old machine to do so.

What we need to do is peer behind the dots that Microsoft uses in their password boxes. To do so, we need a piece of freeware that will do that for us.

Passware offers a utility, Asterisk Key, which will do the job.

  1. Download, install and run the tool on the old machine using this link.
  2. Open Notepad.
  3. Open Outlook 2007.
  4. Click Tools, Account Settings.
  5. Double-click the account you don’t know the password to.
  6. Go into Asterisk Key and click the RECOVER icon on the toolbar.
  7. The tool will reveal your password for that account. Click the COPY LINK next to the revealed password.
  8. PASTE the password into your notepad document.
  9. Repeat Steps 5-8 as necessary.
  10. Save the Notepad document so you can move it to the new machine.
  11. At the new machine, paste the passwords from the Notepad document into Outlook.

That oughta do it.

Our Favorite Tools: Google Calendar

Not only am I a sysadmin, but I’m also a family man. I’ve spoken of my love for the Exchange connector which syncs my Treo with my Outlook calendar; but that doesn’t help my wife who would like to know where I am too…

Enter Google Calendar.

Both my wife and I have Google acounts which allows us to share our calendars. I can find out where she is and she can find out where I am. It’s a nice complement to the calendar that’s stuck on the fridge when I’m not near the fridge.

However, it’s been a hassle double-entering my stuff.. once in Outlook and once in Google Calendar (or GCal for you hipsters).

Companion Link software, maker of many fine sync products, had an Outlook to GCal sync program, and I ponied up the $20 or $30 for it, and it worked for awile… but things got horribly out of synch and I ended up with like 7 copies ofbirthdays and other recurring appointmentson my Outlook calendar, so I sidelined CompanionLink and basicially let GCal wither on the vine.

But no longer! Google themselves came out with an Outlook / GCal sync tool, and so far, I like it a lot. It’s a small app that sits in your tray and it snychs up your calendars on a given schedule. (Default is every 120 minutes.)

Whaty’s also nice is it allows for one-way sync… so I push my Outlook calendar out to my GCal and my wife knows (within two hours) where I’ll be.

Handy!

Outlook Deleted Items Recovery

At one of my clients, we limit their users mailboxes to keep the Exchange server humming along. We use an archiving program to keep older mail around in accordance with our document retention policies.

One of the things we mandate is that Outlook purges its Deleted Items folder upon closing. We’ve had users maintain 3800 (unread!) messages in their deleted items folder and then complain loudly when they run out of mailbox space citing that they might need something in their Deleted Items folder. (Of course, this runs counter to the design of the Deleted Items folder is — short term storage for items no longer needed. Long term storage should be used in either the users’ folder or the server’s file system.)

These complaints have subsided now that everyone has had a chance to live with the policy… but there are still some times when people delete something, close Outlook and then realize they can’t get it back.

(Let’s assume the archiver is off-line.)

Outlook Web Access can come to the rescue and recover some of the lost items as long as it was deleted recently. Stuff deleted a year ago is long gone.

Log in to Outlook Web Access. (This works in Outlook Web Access 2000 and 2003. Screenshots are from OWA 2003)

Click on the OPTIONS button at the bottom of the screen (it’s the last icon on the right)

Outlook Web Access Options Icon

Scroll all the way down the page until you see “Click View Items to view and recover items that were recently emptied from your Deleted Items folder. Recovered items will be moved back to your Deleted Items folder.

Outlook Recover Deleted ItemsOutlook Recover Deleted Items

Click the “View Items” button and you should be able to browse thru a collection of recently deleted items.

Any item you restore will go back into your Deleted Items folder, where you can then recover it and put it where it belongs.

Bacon saved.

Handy Word Tip – Tracking Changes by User

Word Security Options DialogA few versions ago, MS Word came under fire for including personal information with every document. The registered user’s name, company and other info was available in the metadata of the document.

MS answered the hue and cry by giving users the option of removing this personal information. We think this is generally a good idea, tho it gets in the way try to collaborate using Tracked Changes.

Before saving a documents with tracked changes, make sure that the “Remove personal information…” option is UNCHECKED.

That will ensure that your tracked changes are saved and passed along; lest they be lumped together with all other changes, making user tracking impossible.