Frequently asked Outlook Questions

Outlook Email Retention

Our Help Desk mailbox needed some serious cleaning up and archiving. Although it’s constantly monitored by the team we never had a formal retention period for it’s contents. It was decided by the team to formalize an archiving process and interval to perform this process. So to start it was decided keep the file size of the back up to a minimum we would export emails received on this mailbox before our current financial year. (That is emails before July 1, 2007 would be archived). The archived emails would be exported in the form of a PST file. A copy was written on tape for off site storage and another copy was placed on a network share for ease of retrieval just in case we need to produce an important email instantly.

Then the daily back up of our Microsoft Exchange stores will take care of the incrementals.

During this back up process I decided to have analyse the questions submitted by our users regarding Outlook since migrating from Lotus Notes.

Outlook FAQs

Here were the most frequantly asked Outlook questions:

Where is the BCC Field in Outlook 2003?

Lotus Notes had this field enabled by default. Users’ where shocked  that they had to dig around to enable the BCC field in Outlook.

On Outlook 2003 the BBC field can be displayed by clicking on Options and selecting the BCC field.

On Outlook 2007 its much more obvious to enable. Click on the Show BCC under the Option Ribbon while composing a new message.

Where is the All Documents View in Outlook?

I posted a how-to article on how to create an All Documents View for Outlook 2003 and 2007. (Read: How to Create an All Documents view in Outlook) With our users being so used to the Lotus Notes All Documents view naturally this was one of the feature they looked when migrated to Outlook.

How do I access my emails offsite?

This is very different and simple approach compared to Lotus Notes Local Server replica replication model. Plus we didn’t web enable users’ Lotus Notes mailboxes.

There are two answers to this question:

Via Outlook Web Access

This first method is via Outlook Web Access via http. The address to OWA will depending on how admins implemented this. Usually it will be in the form of https://<>/<exchange>

Via Outlook mail client
Other method is simply with the use of the Outlook client configured on the laptop provided by the business. When I say configured the Outlook client must have the Exchange Proxy Settings under Connection. Users with laptops in the business have these settings pre-configured (as part of our Outlook profile set up).

When I press the Send/Receive button Outlook keeps requesting for a username and password. What is my username and password for Outlook?

This was probably the most asked question by the business. Most users figure out that they need to put their Windows Username (Active Directory username) and password. But what they fail to add before the username is the domain.

In our implementation we request for the domain prefixed in the username field be in the form of <Domain>Windows Username.

How do I send Lotus Notes document links from Outlook?

Although we’ve migrated all our users to Outlook there’s still a need for our users to refer to documents that reside in Lotus Notes DBs. Business workflows and document management are still on Lotus Notes DBs.

The business is actually in a transition period with this. A document management system is in testing phase along with workflow replacement platform.

But in the mean time users had to get by creating NDL files to send Notes document/database links to each other. (Read: How to send Lotus Notes Database links from Outlook)

I also automated this process using simple Visual Basic code and will be documenting the major concepts in a later post.

More thoughts on Lotus Notes Domino to Microsoft Exchange migration…

Migrating from one application to another is a major milestone not just for the users but for the business itself. There’s certainly major hurdles when introducing new applications to the business. User acceptance may not be immediate. In our case we tried to minimize this as much as we could by researching, testing, piloting user groups and most importantly educating our users. We had to ensure what the limitations were or what functionalities that will be lost by the incoming application.

Certain enterprise applications like Lotus Notes and Outlook were not exactly developed to co-exist with each other.Businesses either have one or the other but not both are the same time at production level.

Related posts:

  1. How to Create an All Documents view in Outlook
  2. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: How to send Lotus Notes Database links from Outlook – Part I
  3. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: Lotus Notes Document Link Creator for Outlook
  4. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: A look at Lotus Notes Links in Outlook 2007
  5. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: How to Transfer Lotus Notes Contacts to Outlook


  • 1
    John Hartman
    July 25, 2008 - 6:48 am | Permalink

    I would like to be able to have a “current event” in XHTML on my web site and then when the user clicks on the link, it adds some text to the Calendar in Outlook. I’ve searched the web and can’t find an example. Is this possible?

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