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    Oulook Forms and Fields (2003 (11.8010.8036) SP2)

    Hi there!

    I have been asked to solve a problem for one of my company

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Oulook Forms and Fields (2003 (11.8010.8036) S

    In short, maybe. If the sender has Outlook and is able to receive the form and return it to you with the data intact, you can use script or VBA code to extract the fields and post them to a database. This should be more reliable than parsing the message body, but less flexible because the other party couldn't switch to a non-Outlook mail client.

    If you'd like to read about the challenges involved in this approach, Lounge user dreyes has posted many threads over the years.

    What are your alternatives?
    * You could have the sender fill in a Word form or Excel workbook and use VBA to stuff the data from there into your database; while there is a lot of overhead involved for everyone in dealing with attachments, they are easier to design and program than Outlook forms, and nearly everyone has either Word or Excel.
    * You could create a web interface to accept input directly. There are security issues, of course, and getting from an external page to your database might be too complicated to justify.
    * You could have the sender use an "application" (e.g., self-contained Access-runtime application, or a Word document with embedded VBA, or an Internet Explorer HTA form) to generate a data file to insert into or attach to a message. The data file could be in a proprietary format (such as a persisted recordset you can read with ADO), or XML, or plain text. On your end, you would feed the attachment to a program that updates your database. (We use something like this internally for check requests to our accounting deparment. The user fills out a Word form then clicks a button to build a plain text email message with all the field_name=data pairs.)

    Hope this helps.

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    Re: Oulook Forms and Fields (2003 (11.8010.8036) S

    Many thanks your reply.

    Having had an initial look at Outlook and setting up a test form, (there doesn't seem to be a facility for creating a new form, only modifying an existing one!), I think this is going to be a most cumbersome and frustrating experience. I have modified an existing form, added a few fields (by copying and pasting existing fields and renaming) and although this all displays nicely having published and opened, when I emailed it to myself it sent the old style form!

    I might have to mull over a few more ideas or spend some considerable time getting to know Outlook inside out.

    Cheers,

    Niven

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