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Designing and Using Custom Forms in Microsoft Outlook 2013

Creating custom forms from scratch

Working with standard forms is great if you want to build a solution that is directly related to one of the Outlook 2013 item types. However, you might need an Outlook 2013 form that isn’t based on an item type at all. For example, you might want to create a form that allows users to report their work hours or initiate a purchase order. Although you could base these examples on a standard form, they could just as easily require a completely new form that you need to create.

The good news is that creating a completely new form is easier than it sounds. In fact, Outlook 2013 doesn’t really permit you to create forms completely from scratch, although you can certainly achieve the same effect. You have two ways to create a form that doesn’t contain any built-in form elements:

  • Modify a standard form by deleting all built-in interface elements from the form and adding your own.

  • Modify a standard form by hiding the page that contains built-in interface elements and showing a new page that contains elements that you add.

You’ll learn how to add pages to forms in the next section. First let’s look at how to break down a standard form to a blank form by removing built-in interface controls.

Follow these steps to turn a standard post form (a form that is used to post a note into a folder) into a blank form:

  1. Click the Developer tab.

  2. Click Design A Form.

  3. Select the Post form, and then click Open. The form opens in design mode, with the Message page selected.

  4. Click each control (TextBox, Label, Button, and so on) on the Message page and delete it.

  5. With the Message page still selected, click Page in the Form group, and then select Rename Page.

  6. Type a new name in the dialog box and then click OK.

Of course, you’ll want to make the pages on this form useful, but for now, you at least have a blank form to work with. To have this blank form available as a template, click File, Save As, and then select Outlook Template from the Save As Type drop-down list.