E-mail Composing

HowTo Edit the HTML Source Code while composing a Message

Editing the HTML source code has been made very easy in Outlook Express. In Microsoft Office Outlook… well, not so much and I doubt whether the tool available has actually been designed for this since the process is anything but intuitive.

  1. Make sure you’ve got Word selected as your e-mail editor; Tools-> Options-> tab Mail Format
  2. Create a new message and make sure the Web Tools Toolbar is visible; View-> Toolbars-> Web Tools
  3. Press the Microsoft Script Editor button. A new windows will pop-up displaying the HTML. Word uses a stylesheet so don’t be frightened by the immense amount of code in the header. Just scroll to the body part and edit the HTML
  4. When done close the script editor and choose to save it when prompted; a Save As dialog will pop-up
  5. Cancel this dialog
  6. Close the Script Editor and note that you don’t get prompted to save this time (unless you started editing again). You’ll find the HTML editing applied to your message


HowTo Adding Sound and Scrolling Text (workaround)

I’ve previously described the proper and built-in method to add a background sound or scrolling text into an Outlook message here. However since Windows XP SP2 this method is no longer supported as SP2 disables the ActiveX component (because of security issues) that controls this functionality. Since there is no fix announced to revive this feature for any version of Office and running Windows XP without SP2 also isn’t a real option I wrote this workaround which describes a safe method to insert sound and/or scrolling text to an e-mail when using Outlook 2003 or previous.

Continue reading: Adding Sound and Scrolling Text (workaround)

HowTo Adding Sound to Your E-mail

Adding sound to a mail message in Outlook Express is pretty straight forward; Format-> Background-> Sound. In Microsoft Office Outlook it isn’t that straight forward at all. It is even quite hard to find. Probably because Microsoft Office Outlook is targeted to a more business public than a home user one. But if you look a bit closer you’ll find that you can do a lot more fun stuff Microsoft Office Outlook than Outlook Express. This guide not only instructs you how to add a sound to an e-mail but also leads you to options to let you add stuff like scrolling text or even a movie!

Update: Sadly this method is broken when you are running Windows XP SP2 click here for a method that also works on Windows XP with SP2 installed.
There is no way to do this anymore at all in Outlook 2007.

  1. First you’ll have to make sure that Microsoft Office Word is your e-mail editor. Please note that you can only set Word as your editor when Outlook and Word are the same version. To set Word as the e-mail editor go to Tools-> Options-> tab Mail Format.
  2. On this tab you’ll also have to set your message format to HTML
  3. Press OK to apply and leave Options
  4. Create a new message. A message will be displayed that Word is starting as your e-mail editor. Note that this looks exactly like Word with specific e-mail fields and options to it
  5. To insert sound you’ll need an extra Toolbar called Web Tools. To make this visible choose View-> Toolbars-> Web Tools. A small pane will pop-up now
  6. In the small pane press the Sound icon. A new window called Background Sound will pop-up
  7. In the Background Sound window press Browse to browse to your sound file. You can add the following sound files
    • wav
    • mid
    • midi
    • rmi
    • au
    • aif
    • aiff
    • snd
    I strongly advise to use midi-files. These files are quite small even when they are quite lengthy. When you’ve found your sound file press Open to go back to the Background Sound window
  8. You can also set the amount of loops for the sound file; how many times the sound file is played completely before it stops playing. You can give this a value between 1 to 5 or set it to Infinite to loop until another message is selected or when Outlook is closed.
  9. Press OK to add the sound to your message. Note that the sound-file is played directly.

Do you want to create more advanced e-mails?

Now that you’ve found the Web Tools toolbar you can add the following to your e-mail;

  • Check Box
  • Option Button
  • Drop-Down Box
  • List Box
  • Text Box
  • Text Area
  • Submit button
  • Submit button with a Picture on it
  • Form Reset button
  • Hidden Text Box
  • Password Box
  • Movie
  • Sound
  • Scrolling Text

This is everything you need to create an e-mail that is a fully digital form. For some of the tools it is required that you know some basic VBA scripting. Then you can even change the underlying source (including HTML) by pressing the Microsoft Script Editor button.

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