Outlook Forms – Cannot Edit After Upgrade to MS Office 2003 / Outlook 2003

2010-06-15 Initial Post

I ran into an issue recently where a user had dozens of Outlook custom forms in her Personal Forms Library (these are stored in the root of her Exchange mailbox per http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290802) and could no longer fully edit them and had no option to publish them. In the form design mode there was no Forms section under the Tools menu. She had her PC upgraded a few months ago and the upgrade included MS Office 2003.

Before the upgrade, she was using MS Office 2000 and had no issue editing and publishing forms. Most users don't know enough about forms to bother using them, but this user had dozens of forms, so I wanted to help her to be able to edit them again.

After some troubleshooting, I found that deselecting the option for “Use Microsoft Word to edit e-mail messages” in Outlook 2003 allowed the user to fully edit and publish existing forms. She also had the option to create new forms from a new message window (the Forms section was visible under the Tools menu in the new message window). I don’t recall if the Word editor is the default option or the desktop architecture team selects that option for the desktop build.

I’m not an Outlook developer, so I don’t have all the details on what exactly is the issue, but deselecting Word as the editor works around this issue. It appears that there’s some incompatibility with the older forms and Word (or specifically Word 2003). Regardless, I could not find any mention of this issue online, so I’m posting this in case others run into the same issue.

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