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Designing and Using Custom Forms in Microsoft Outlook 2013

Adding graphics to forms

Although developing solutions in Outlook 2013 can require much thought and effort, users might not necessarily share your enthusiasm and excitement about the forms that you’ve created. One way to increase acceptance and usability is to add some pleasing graphics to the forms. These graphics can come in a variety of formats, such as JPEG, GIF, WMF, EMF, and ICO.

One way to add a graphic to your form is to use the image control from the Control Toolbox. Initially, the control will appear as a gray square. You can resize it, just as you can resize any of the standard controls, although it’s a good idea to place the picture in the control before you resize it. Set the picture source for the image control by using the Properties dialog box, shown in Figure 27-15. Double-click the Picture property, and then select the desired picture in the Load Picture dialog box.

Figure 27-15

Figure 27-15 Use the Properties dialog box to select a picture to insert into the image control.

Follow these steps to insert a picture in your control:

  1. Right-click the image control that you placed on your form.

  2. Click Advanced Properties.

  3. In the list of properties, scroll down to the Picture property.

  4. Select the Picture property and then click the ellipsis button at the top of the form, or simply double-click the Picture property.

  5. In the Load Picture dialog box, navigate to the picture that you want to appear in the image control, and then click Open.

  6. Close the Advanced Properties dialog box, and then verify that the control now contains the picture you chose.

Another way to make your forms more attractive and usable is to add an icon to buttons on the forms. You can configure the command button available in the Toolbox to display both a text caption and a graphic. For example, if your button sends a custom message to a recipient when clicked, you could add an envelope image to the button to convey the notion of sending a message. To have the button display an image, set the Picture property for the button just as you would for an image control. You can also set the Picture property for other controls, such as text boxes and labels.

In addition, you can display a custom icon in the form’s title bar. Outlook 2013 always displays a default icon in the upper-left corner of a form that indicates whether it is a task form, an appointment form, and so on. You can change this icon by clicking the Properties tab of your form when you’re working in design mode. Click Change Large Icon or Change Small Icon, and then navigate to the .ico file you want to use. The Large Icon setting tells Outlook 2013 which image to display when a user displays the properties of the form. The Small Icon setting specifies the title bar image and the image that is shown when the form is displayed in an Outlook 2013 folder.