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October, 2009

  • Jive into Messaging world

    BUG: Outlook: Word: A signature to death!


    I have been working lately with this customer who was trying to create new signature files under %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Signatures folder which will be used by Outlook 2007 (SP2) but what we discovered is that whenever they try to use it, it used to crash Outlook.

    This was the content of the HTML Signature file that we were using.

    <IMG SRC="http://www.server.com/logo.jpg" />

    Let’s save this HTML file to %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Signatures\CrashMe.htm

    Now next thing you need to do is make sure that Outlook’s Mail Format is HTML


    Next you need to make sure that “Typing replaces selected text” is unchecked under Tools->Options->Mail Format->Editor Options->Advanced


    Once you done it all, now we load a new email item and insert our signature into the body and just try to save the message, and it will crash the Outlook.

    Root Cause:

    I am not very much sure but its not Outlook’s fault at all, Outlook is just a victim and its Word libraries at fault which are used to Edit the email message.


    Since there is no solution at this moment, here are your workarounds.

    1) Create the signature file using Outlook’s Signature Designer

    2) Do not use HTML as default format for emails, either use RTF or Text

    3) Do not uncheck the ‘Typing replaces selected text�� option, keep it selected

    The word team is working on it and I shall update you all when I have some more information on this.

    Happy Debugging.

  • Jive into Messaging world

    3 years of same, yet different work and then a responsibility upgrade, a good one.


    It’s been 3 very long and cherished years of my life as I complete my 3 years of career at Microsoft India GTSC, based out of Bangalore, India.

    clip_image002A Bachelor in Computer Sciences was just a degree I acquired to certify my geek level. I was much more interested in practical knowledge than theoretical and decided to work a freelance along during my final years of graduation. After 4 years of working in different roles in IT industry,  as an independent consultant, system administrator , business analyst or software engineer, I got the opportunity to work with the Industry leader and decided to join Microsoft India GTSC & Developer Messaging Team in May 2006 as Support Engineer.

    Joining Microsoft was the beginning of my career in the real sense of the word, working with great minds & mentors brought me up to this level. Exchange has always been my favorite, seeing it grow from 5.5 to E14 and being part of this growth brings me immense pleasure. I am very excited to take up the role of Support Escalation Engineer and hoping to continue my legacy of providing the best and exceeding the limits.

    Happy Coding Debugging!!!

  • Jive into Messaging world

    Hey!!! Do not forget to “Include” me… Ok?


    I am not talking about some Friday night dinner or the latest buff around the corner. I am talking about the “Include” tab on Outlook 2007’s Ribbon UI.

    Recently I got this case where customer developed a custom email form but he was not able to use the “Include” tab to add attachments to the email, as you can see from the following screenshot.


    All the buttons were grayed-out, but why? Customer had no clue, well that’s why he called Microsoft, isn’t it?

    I tried to reproduce it locally, but first I opened up the custom form which customer was using and the initial discovery was that there was no message body included to it. That ring some bells to me, but I ignored that for the moment and tried to dig if there is any property that I can set to disable that Include tab but there were none. I also checked if there was any code behind, but there was none.

    Now that I know what was present in form, and what was not, I decided to start from scratch and created a new form. And discovered the following.

    The issue here is that the customer has deleted the standard “Message” field (which is used to write the email content) from the message, this field is also used to insert attachments, business cards, calendar & other stuff by Outlook.

    Repro Steps
    1) Open a new email inspector
    2) Go to Developers Tab
    3) Hit Design Mode
    4) Delete the Message body
    5) Run the Form and you will see the “Include” as grayed out.

    Good now we know that was the culprit, but I do not need that message body on my form.. how do I fix it?

    1) We need to add the Message Body back to the form
    2) Open the form in Design Mode again and drag & drop the “Message” back to the form 
    3) Now you might not want that “Message Body” to be visible, but if you set the “Message Body” visible state
       to false then you will again not be able to add attachments as the body is not visible.
    4) Another workaround, you need to keep the visible state as visible but make body’s height & width set to 0 to hide it from screen

    Bingo!! That was it.. yeah now it works.

    ..but what a minute..why?

    Overall, that's a general design decision they made a long time ago. That first page of the message form has a lot of dependencies on commands, etc. So once you do a "simple" thing like delete the body control, you run some big risks. It's up to the form developer to really scope all of that out, disable other commands if they need to, etc.

    Happy Debugging!!!

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