Customizing Contact Form

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Jim Mulligan

Outlook version
Email Account
Okay, I have no technical background so I hope I'm able to at least communicate my problem here sufficiently.

I'm in "Contacts" in Outlook 2007. Under "My Contacts" I have folders called Clients and Prospects. If I double click on a contact when viewing either folder, I see the default contact form (Name, Internet, Phone and Address sections down the left side and a Business Card over a "Notes" section on the right).

I want to add fields to the form so that when I open a contact I see a form, much like the default form but including fields (i.e. Employee Size, Revenues, etc.) that I have added.

In my own stumbling, bumbling way I have (with, for instance, the Prospects folder selected; Tools>Forms>Design a Form>Contact) I've actually managed to add fields to the form template. This is about where I get confused.

I've tried "saving" the form but it seems like that is trying to save the data record (which is blank and the program asks me if I want to save a blank record..yeah, okay I guess). So I tried "Save As" which I guess has me saving the form as a template to my documents or whereever I chose to stick it. I've also tried "Publishing" which seems like maybe that's the ticket but I never seem to be able to establish my newly designed form as the default.

So now I have probalby half a dozen customized (all the same) forms I've "published" under different names (i.e. CustomContact, NewContact, blah, blah, blah) in various locations (Contact, Clients, Prospects, etc.) But then I'm back in my Contact or Client or Prospect view and I want to click on a contact and see it displayed on my form and I don't see it. Now, in my Prospect folder I have one contact that displays the form that I created but all the others (imported by me after I created the form thinking that would cause all display in that form) use the default form. I was thinking I am cabable of changing them one at a time (I would not do this due to the time it would require) but I just tried it and I''ve forgotten how I got that one contact to use that form?

Can anyone here read this and sort of intuit where my severe technical limitations have left me? I'd kind of like a "do over" and to delete the custom forms I've scattered all over the system trying to do this and do it one more time correctly.
See Set custom form as default - it will take care of part of your problem.

To delete the old forms you published, you need to get into manage forms. I think its in tools, options, other, but I'm not 100% sure and dont have outlook 2007 handy to check.
Larry, I want to thank you for responding to my inquiry. You and the other contributors to this site are kind to give of your time and knowledge.

I think I got rid of the extra forms using the Form Manager, much appreciated. I ALSO seem to have effectively made my customized form the default form for my "Prospects" folders using your suggestion. I say that because when I'm in that folder and click "New" up pops my customized form. Again, thanks.

The last think that's stumping me is that still when I import records (I am importing a list of about 500 prospects) and select them for editing, they don't appear on the new default (my customized) form. They open in Outlook's original default contact form.

Any idea what I'm doing wrong?
use docmessageclass (a link is at the page larry linked to) - its a free tool that will change the message class of existing items so you can apply the new form to them. This only works with published forms, not templates in the windows file system.

Because its contacts, publishing the form is the best (for email, saving a template is often better).

To remove old published forms in outlook 2007 (and older), go to tools, options, other tab - advanced options button. Then Custom forms button, Manage forms button. find the form, select it then press Delete button.
I guess we were posting at the same time :)

Importing always uses the original outlook form. Use DocMessageClass to convert after importing.
Diane, thank you. Your directing me to the tool on Larry's link helped indeed. I can now convert existing records in my Prospects folder to my custom form. Awesome.

And thanks to the two of you, I now have my 507 prospects loaded into my Prospect folder in Outlook Contacts where I can see them on my custom form including my custom fields, which I accomplished by importing to the default contact's "User 1, User 2, etc." fields then using the design tool to put them on my form and edited the label to reflect what they were. That's about as far as I need to go really. Whew!

But just out of "academic curiousity", you say that one can only Import to the default Contact form and as I say above I think I've worked around that. But I happened to have only 4 additional fields that I was able to import to User 1 through 4 fields. The fields I created as New fields for my custom form sorta showed up as "User Defined Fields in Folder" even on the default form but were not available as Mapping destinations during the import.

Is it true to say that when importing, one is limited to the 4 "User" fields in terms of data fields that exist in the source but not in the default Contact file? I mean, I think one could also take an existing Contact field that they don't need (i.e. Assistant's Dog's Pager #) and edit/tweak it to contain some other field right? Or am I, as usual, just thinking about this wrong.
Glad to hear you got it working.

Import / Export only works on the default fields. You can't import or export custom fields. I have never tried repurposing unused fields but it should work. The underlying field name won't change though, so if you change the Dog's name field to something else, exporting will use the original name. I'm not 100% sure you can change the labels for the fields but there are ways to work around it. (put another label over the original label)
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