Eugene Starostin

Complete review – Advanced Outlook Regions, part 2

My previous post was about what the Advanced Outlook Regions really are. And now I will show you all possible variants of regions for two main Outlook windows – Explorers and Inspectors. In this post, there will be a lot of pictures and little text. As usually, all the forms that I am going to demonstrate do not have a single control.

At the very beginning of their history, the Advanced Outlook Regions were totally based on the Microsoft Office 2003 terminology, that is why you may find some discrepancies in the names of the regions supported at that time and in the more recent regions’ names. The point is that in those, in fact, not very old days nobody could fancy that Microsoft would release their version of regions and would call them Outlook form regions. Then two nouns were used in the description of the Outlook windows elements – panes and subpanes. For this reason, beside the pictures I will give the specific name of the region, which is used in the ExplorerLayout and InspectorLayout properties of the Add-in Express Outlook Forms Manager component.

Outlook Explorer regions and Outlook view regions

To denote regions that can be created in the Outlook Explorer window, we use two interchangeable phrases – “Outlook Explorer regions” and “Outlook view regions”, even despite the fact that the View pane (an area containing, for example, a grid with e-mails in mail folders) is just a part of the Outlook Explorer window.

Outlook Inspector regions and Outlook form regions

For regions in the Outlook Inspector window, we employ the same approach and use two interchangeable phrases – “Outlook Inspector regions” and “Outlook form regions”.

Outlook view regions

All regions that you can use in Outlook Explorer windows are grouped together under this common name. However, there is always an opportunity to specify the region more precisely by using the following more accurate names:

  • Folder view regions
  • Reading pane regions
  • To-Do Bar region
  • Navigation Pane region
  • Outlook bar region
  • WebView pane region

You will find more details about each of them below.

Folder view regions

Let’s start with four regions located around the View pane. Here are their names according to the ExplorerLayout property: LeftSubpane, TopSubpane, BottomSubpane, RightSubpane. In these names, you can notice an evident terminology of the Office 2003 times.

Folder view regions

In the screenshot above I deliberately hid the Outlook To-Do bar and the Reading pane. Here is what we get if to turn them on:

Outlook To-Do bar and the Reading pane regions

Don’t you agree that it looks too variegated? I hope nobody is going to use all the four regions in such parrot-like coloring :) And here’s how the most frequently used pattern looks like – in this case the top region includes a folder-specific toolbar:

Outlook region with a folder-specific toolbar

Reading Pane regions

Regions around the Reading pane are complete analogues of the previously shown regions, they embed forms like this:

Regions around the Outlook Reading pane

These are their names for the ExplorerLayout property: LeftReadingPane, TopReadingPane, BottomReadingPane, RightReadingPane.

To-Do Bar, Navigation Pane and Outlook Bar region

Practically all panes of the Outlook Explorer windows can include regions. Besides the above mentioned regions there are two more: BottomNavigationPane and BottomTodoBar in the ExplorerLayout property (for Outlook 2000 and 2002 there is yet another one – BottomOutlookBar region). You can see these two regions in the following picture:

To-Do Bar, Navigation Pane and Outlook Bar region

Both the Outlook Navigation Pane and To-Do Bar (oh yes, and Outlook Bar in Office 2002) can be hidden or minimized. In this case the regions that they contain will be hidden.

WebViewPane region

WebViewPane is the name of one more region from the ExplorerLayout property. The WebViewPane region totally replaces the content of the View pane (the region is based on the folder home pages). The most frequent use of the region is to replace some folder’s view with its form. In principle, when using this solution nothing prevents you from hosting any application into Outlook, allocating its interface into the folders created for this occasion. The best examples of such applications are Outlook Business Contact Manager and Outlook Client for Microsoft CRM.

Outlook WebViewPane region

Outlook form regions

For Outlook Inspector window, you can use any of the four regions available in the InspectorLayout property: LeftSubpane, TopSubpane, BottomSubpane, RightSubpane (their names sprout up from the Outlook 2003 terminology):

Regions for the Outlook Inspector window

Regions and “zero-visibility”

Finally, there are three quite specific regions, which are described separately in Add-in Express 2009, beta 1 – Zero-visibility for Outlook regions, part 2. You will find a couple of interesting pictures there as well :)

BTW, the next post will not have such colorful pictures, enjoy them now :)

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