Is it Possible to Make a Custom "To-Do Bar"-Like Pane?

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TmljayBLb21vc2luc2tp

I've recently been browsing various forums and websites looking to see what

others have and could accomplish with the To-Do Bar pane. I've stumbled upon

many topics, and concluded the following information (please correct anything

if I am misinformed):

•To-Do Bar is not extensible.

•Add-in Express is able to add an adjoining form region to the To-Do Bar

through some complex manipulation of Windows API.

•It is not possible to mimic the collapsing feature of To-Do Bar with a

Custom Task Pane. [Custom Task Panes and To-Do Bar Pane are of different

types (msocommandbar and NetUIHWND, respectively)]

Since I am unable to directly modify, adjoin, or replace the To-Do Bar pane,

I am looking to create my own. From what I have been able to research it also

seems that I am not able to directly mimic the complete functionality of the

pane. But, I did run into a post where someone used a custom task pane that

contained a button that would slide out a form

(http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vsto/thread/df4fe74d-381b-4a9b-8c31-67b2e8400267/).

This method is greatly less eye-appealing, and doesn't exactly mimic the

To-Do Bar that well. Is there a better method of attempting to "clone" what

the To-Do bar looks like and can do? If there is not, and this would be the

only currently available method to get this done, I have a few more questions

that I would like addressed.

In Outlook, if the Navigation Pane is collapsed one can drag a task, mail

item, contact, et cetera overtop of the "Navigation Pane" section and the

pane will then slide out, and then it is possible to drop that item into the

slide out. If I am limited to the situation described in the last paragraph,

would it be possible to mimic the drag, slide, drop functionality that the

navigation pane is able to do? I have attempted to search to see if anyone

else has tried to do this, and received no luck in my results. I am not quite

sure how limited I am by having to use a combination of a custom task pane,

user control, and form to attempt to make a To-Do bar.

When creating the custom task pane, by default it has the drop down menu

that has the Move, Size, and Close options. Would it be possible to disable

this drop down completely? I first attempted to turn this off by setting the

appropriate sections to false in the properties of the User Control, once I

saw no results I then realized it is the custom task pane that these settings

need to be set false on. I was unsure how to set any of the properties (such

as move, size, et cetera) of the custom task pane, and was wondering if first

is it possible to disable these, second how can this be accomplished, and

lastly would it be possible to chance the functionality of the drop down (or

add a new button) to that section that would act as the draw in and out

button for the pane? I did recently find a tutorial on creating a custom

panel (http://www.codeproject.com/KB/office/additional_panel_Outlook.aspx)

which would solve the move/size issue, but it creates new issues of making

the window, and how it effects displaying the to-do bar. I am not sure if the

custom task pane, this additional custom panel, or some other method would be

the best approach.

Lastly, this is kind of a side question that I have been pondering, but is

it possible to force close the To-Do Bar, or take over the region where the

To-Do bar is? I know it's not possible to modify the To-Do Bar, but I wasn't

sure if it was possible to take it over or just stop it from being visible.

I realize there are a lot of questions here, and in some parts I am

attempting to explain how I want it to work, so if there is any discrepancy

in my descriptions please let me know and I will address that as soon as

possible. Thank you in advance.
 
K

Ken Slovak - [MVP - Outlook]

You can't modify, open or close the ToDo Bar using code. To close it you'd

need to get its window handle and send it a WM_CLOSE message using Win32 API

calls.

Mimicking the ToDo bar using an alternative approach will always have to

allow for some differences in how things work, I don't know of a way to

exactly mimic that without a lot of work and reverse engineering and tons of

Win32 API work. There are 3rd party controls available such as one that

mimic the Navigation Pane, but you have to license them and they may or may

not work the way you want or be able to be used where you want to use them.

That you'd have to learn about and experiment with.

"Nick Komosinski" <Nick Komosinski> wrote in

message news:7060A394-5752-448F-B3BA-CCEF96A801F2@microsoft.com...
> I've recently been browsing various forums and websites looking to see
> what
> others have and could accomplish with the To-Do Bar pane. I've stumbled
> upon
> many topics, and concluded the following information (please correct
> anything
> if I am misinformed):

> •To-Do Bar is not extensible.
> •Add-in Express is able to add an adjoining form region to the To-Do Bar
> through some complex manipulation of Windows API.
> •It is not possible to mimic the collapsing feature of To-Do Bar with a
> Custom Task Pane. [Custom Task Panes and To-Do Bar Pane are of different
> types (msocommandbar and NetUIHWND, respectively)]

> Since I am unable to directly modify, adjoin, or replace the To-Do Bar
> pane,
> I am looking to create my own. From what I have been able to research it
> also
> seems that I am not able to directly mimic the complete functionality of
> the
> pane. But, I did run into a post where someone used a custom task pane
> that
> contained a button that would slide out a form
> (http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vsto/thread/df4fe74d-381b-4a9b-8c31-67b2e8400267/).
> This method is greatly less eye-appealing, and doesn't exactly mimic the
> To-Do Bar that well. Is there a better method of attempting to "clone"
> what
> the To-Do bar looks like and can do? If there is not, and this would be
> the
> only currently available method to get this done, I have a few more
> questions
> that I would like addressed.

> In Outlook, if the Navigation Pane is collapsed one can drag a task, mail
> item, contact, et cetera overtop of the "Navigation Pane" section and the
> pane will then slide out, and then it is possible to drop that item into
> the
> slide out. If I am limited to the situation described in the last
> paragraph,
> would it be possible to mimic the drag, slide, drop functionality that the
> navigation pane is able to do? I have attempted to search to see if anyone
> else has tried to do this, and received no luck in my results. I am not
> quite
> sure how limited I am by having to use a combination of a custom task
> pane,
> user control, and form to attempt to make a To-Do bar.

> When creating the custom task pane, by default it has the drop down menu
> that has the Move, Size, and Close options. Would it be possible to
> disable
> this drop down completely? I first attempted to turn this off by setting
> the
> appropriate sections to false in the properties of the User Control, once
> I
> saw no results I then realized it is the custom task pane that these
> settings
> need to be set false on. I was unsure how to set any of the properties
> (such
> as move, size, et cetera) of the custom task pane, and was wondering if
> first
> is it possible to disable these, second how can this be accomplished, and
> lastly would it be possible to chance the functionality of the drop down
> (or
> add a new button) to that section that would act as the draw in and out
> button for the pane? I did recently find a tutorial on creating a custom
> panel (http://www.codeproject.com/KB/office/additional_panel_Outlook.aspx)
> which would solve the move/size issue, but it creates new issues of making
> the window, and how it effects displaying the to-do bar. I am not sure if
> the
> custom task pane, this additional custom panel, or some other method would
> be
> the best approach.

> Lastly, this is kind of a side question that I have been pondering, but is
> it possible to force close the To-Do Bar, or take over the region where
> the
> To-Do bar is? I know it's not possible to modify the To-Do Bar, but I
> wasn't
> sure if it was possible to take it over or just stop it from being
> visible.

> I realize there are a lot of questions here, and in some parts I am
> attempting to explain how I want it to work, so if there is any
> discrepancy
> in my descriptions please let me know and I will address that as soon as
> possible. Thank you in advance.
 
A

Andrei Smolin [Add-in Express]

Hello Nick,

We describe Add-in Express regions on our blog (see

http://www.add-in-express.com/creating-addins-blog/2009/04/15/outlook-forms-regions/).

In version 2009, we made the regions collapsing similar to the To-Do Bar.

Also, the regions themselves are now drag-and-droppable. :)

In your add-in, you can close the To-Do Bar programmatically by "clicking"

on the corresponding menu item. I published the code that manipulates the

Preview Pane in this way at

http://www.add-in-express.com/forum/read.php?FID=5&TID=5227&MID=26019#message26019.

To make it work with the To-Do Bar, you'll need to know the ID of the

command bar popup control named "To-Do Bar" (menu View | To Do Bar). The ID

must be used when calling FindControl in my code. You can find that ID using

our free Built-in Control Scanner -

http://www.add-in-express.com/products/commandbars-controls-ids.php.

In addition, Add-in Express enables you to know the current state of the

To-Do bar and to be informed if the state changes. But currently there's no

way to "slide out" an Add-in Express custom pane. We will have to think this

over.

Regards from Belarus (GMT+2),

Andrei Smolin

Add-in Express Team Leader

www.add-in-express.com

"Nick Komosinski" <Nick Komosinski> wrote in

message news:7060A394-5752-448F-B3BA-CCEF96A801F2@microsoft.com...
> I've recently been browsing various forums and websites looking to see
> what
> others have and could accomplish with the To-Do Bar pane. I've stumbled
> upon
> many topics, and concluded the following information (please correct
> anything
> if I am misinformed):

> •To-Do Bar is not extensible.
> •Add-in Express is able to add an adjoining form region to the To-Do Bar
> through some complex manipulation of Windows API.
> •It is not possible to mimic the collapsing feature of To-Do Bar with a
> Custom Task Pane. [Custom Task Panes and To-Do Bar Pane are of different
> types (msocommandbar and NetUIHWND, respectively)]

> Since I am unable to directly modify, adjoin, or replace the To-Do Bar
> pane,
> I am looking to create my own. From what I have been able to research it
> also
> seems that I am not able to directly mimic the complete functionality of
> the
> pane. But, I did run into a post where someone used a custom task pane
> that
> contained a button that would slide out a form
> (http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vsto/thread/df4fe74d-381b-4a9b-8c31-67b2e8400267/).
> This method is greatly less eye-appealing, and doesn't exactly mimic the
> To-Do Bar that well. Is there a better method of attempting to "clone"
> what
> the To-Do bar looks like and can do? If there is not, and this would be
> the
> only currently available method to get this done, I have a few more
> questions
> that I would like addressed.

> In Outlook, if the Navigation Pane is collapsed one can drag a task, mail
> item, contact, et cetera overtop of the "Navigation Pane" section and the
> pane will then slide out, and then it is possible to drop that item into
> the
> slide out. If I am limited to the situation described in the last
> paragraph,
> would it be possible to mimic the drag, slide, drop functionality that the
> navigation pane is able to do? I have attempted to search to see if anyone
> else has tried to do this, and received no luck in my results. I am not
> quite
> sure how limited I am by having to use a combination of a custom task
> pane,
> user control, and form to attempt to make a To-Do bar.

> When creating the custom task pane, by default it has the drop down menu
> that has the Move, Size, and Close options. Would it be possible to
> disable
> this drop down completely? I first attempted to turn this off by setting
> the
> appropriate sections to false in the properties of the User Control, once
> I
> saw no results I then realized it is the custom task pane that these
> settings
> need to be set false on. I was unsure how to set any of the properties
> (such
> as move, size, et cetera) of the custom task pane, and was wondering if
> first
> is it possible to disable these, second how can this be accomplished, and
> lastly would it be possible to chance the functionality of the drop down
> (or
> add a new button) to that section that would act as the draw in and out
> button for the pane? I did recently find a tutorial on creating a custom
> panel (http://www.codeproject.com/KB/office/additional_panel_Outlook.aspx)
> which would solve the move/size issue, but it creates new issues of making
> the window, and how it effects displaying the to-do bar. I am not sure if
> the
> custom task pane, this additional custom panel, or some other method would
> be
> the best approach.

> Lastly, this is kind of a side question that I have been pondering, but is
> it possible to force close the To-Do Bar, or take over the region where
> the
> To-Do bar is? I know it's not possible to modify the To-Do Bar, but I
> wasn't
> sure if it was possible to take it over or just stop it from being
> visible.

> I realize there are a lot of questions here, and in some parts I am
> attempting to explain how I want it to work, so if there is any
> discrepancy
> in my descriptions please let me know and I will address that as soon as
> possible. Thank you in advance.
>
 
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