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Opening an Attachment

Last modified: July 23, 2011

Applies to: Outlook

Opening an attachment involves displaying its data. For example, when a file attachment is opened, the contents of the file are displayed. Whereas messages and folders are opened using their entry identifiers, attachments are opened using their attachment numbers — PR_ATTACH_NUM properties. For more information, see PR_ATTACH_NUM (PidTagAttachNumber). Attachment numbers are available through a message's attachment table.

To open all attachments in a message

  1. Call the message's IMessage::GetAttachmentTable method to access its attachment table.

  2. Call HrQueryAllRows to retrieve all the rows in the table.

  3. For each row:

    1. Open the attachment by passing the attachment number represented in the PR_ATTACH_NUM column in a call to the message's IMessage::OpenAttach method. For more information, see IMessage::OpenAttach. OpenAttach returns a pointer to an IAttach implementation that provides access to attachment properties.

    2. Call the attachment's IMAPIProp::GetProps method to retrieve its PR_ATTACH_METHOD property. For more information, see IMAPIProp::GetProps and PR_ATTACH_METHOD (PidTagAttachMethod).

    3. If PR_ATTACH_METHOD is set to ATTACH_BY_REF_ONLY, call IMAPIProp::GetProps to retrieve the PR_ATTACH_PATHNAME property. For more information, see PR_ATTACH_PATHNAME (PidTagAttachPathname).

    4. If PR_ATTACH_METHOD is set to ATTACH_BY_VALUE, call IMAPIProp::OpenProperty to open the PR_ATTACH_DATA_BIN property with the IStream interface. See the sample code following this procedure. For more information, see IMAPIProp::OpenProperty and PR_ATTACH_DATA_BIN (PidTagAttachDataBinary).

    5. If PR_ATTACH_METHOD is set to ATTACH_OLE and the attachment is an OLE 2 object:

      1. Call IMAPIProp::OpenProperty to open the PR_ATTACH_DATA_OBJ property with the IStreamDocfile interface. Attempt to use this interface because it is an implementation of IStream guaranteed to work with structured storage with the least amount of overhead. For more information, see PR_ATTACH_DATA_OBJ (PidTagAttachDataObject).

      2. If the OpenProperty call fails, call it again to retrieve the PR_ATTACH_DATA_BIN property with the IStreamDocfile interface.

      3. If this second OpenProperty call fails, try again to call OpenProperty to retrieve PR_ATTACH_DATA_OBJ. However, rather than specifying IStreamDocfile, specify the IStorage interface.

  4. If PR_ATTACH_METHOD is set to ATTACH_EMBEDDED_MSG, it is not unusual for the value of PR_ATTACH_DATA_OBJ to contain an error. This is because you and the table implementer have no way to agree on the type of object to return. To retrieve a pointer to the attached message, open the attachment using IMessage::OpenAttach. Then access the attachment data by calling its IMAPIProp::OpenProperty method. For more information, see IMessage::OpenAttach and IMAPIProp::OpenProperty.

You can request that an attachment is opened in read/write or read-only mode. Read-only is the default mode, and many message store providers open all attachments in this mode regardless of what clients request. Pass the MAPI_BEST_ACCESS flag to request that the message store provider grant the highest level of access it can and then retrieve the open attachment's PR_ACCESS_LEVEL property to determine the level of access that was actually granted. For more information, see PR_ACCESS_LEVEL (PidTagAccessLevel).

The following example shows how to open the data in an attachment's PR_ATTACH_DATA_BIN property. It allocates pointers to two streams: one for the file and one for the attachment. The OpenStreamOnFile function opens the file stream in read-only mode. The call to the attachment's IMAPIProp::OpenProperty method opens the attachment stream in read/write mode. For more information, see PR_ATTACH_DATA_BIN, OpenStreamOnFile, and IMAPIProp::OpenProperty. The code then copies from the file stream to the attachment stream and releases both streams.

LPSTREAM pStreamFile, pStreamAtt;
hr = OpenStreamOnFile (MAPIAllocateBuffer, MAPIFreeBuffer,
                       STGM_READ, "myfile.doc", NULL, &pStreamFile);
    // Open the destination stream in the attachment object
    hr = pAttach->OpenProperty (PR_ATTACH_DATA_BIN,
                                MAPI_MODIFY | MAPI_CREATE,
                                (LPUNKNOWN *)&pStreamAtt);
    if (HR_SUCCEEDED(hr))
        STATSTG StatInfo;
        pStreamFile->Stat (&StatInfo, STATFLAG_NONAME);
        hResult = pStreamFile->CopyTo (pStreamAtt, StatInfo.cbSize,
                                       NULL, NULL);
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