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Adding Custom Property Pages

Creating a custom property page for Microsoft Outlook involves four major steps:

  1. Create the page as an ActiveX control.

  2. Implement the PropertyPage object.

  3. Write a procedure that sets the value of the Dirty property and calls the OnStatusChange method.

  4. Create a Component Object Model (COM) add-in that contains an event procedure for OptionsPagesAdd for either the Application or NameSpace object, as appropriate. For information about creating a COM add-in, see Customizing Outlook using COM add-ins.

A custom property page in Outlook is an ActiveX control that’s implemented along with a dynamic link library (DLL) that’s designed as a COM add-in. The easiest way to create a custom property page is using Microsoft Visual Basic version 6.0 or higher. This version of Visual Basic provides templates and tools that simplify the process of creating both ActiveX controls and COM add-ins.

When you create the ActiveX control, you populate it with the controls your user will require to set the properties your page is designed to support. Because Outlook might resize the control when it displays the property page in the dialog box, the control’s Initialize event should position and size the child controls dynamically, depending on the final values of the control’s Width and Height properties.

The dialog box in which the custom property page is displayed has three buttons below the property pages: an OK button, a Cancel button, and an Apply button. When the user clicks the OK button, changes to properties on all pages in the dialog box are applied and the dialog box is closed. If the user clicks the Cancel button, no properties are changed and the dialog box is closed. If the user clicks the Apply button, any changes to properties are applied but the dialog box remains open. You should design your property page to respond appropriately when the user clicks these buttons. Later sections in this topic describe how to notify Outlook that the status of your property page has changed and how Outlook notifies your program when the changed property values should be applied.

The PropertyPage object is an abstract object; that is, its interfaces are defined but not implemented by Outlook. If your custom property change will rely on the Apply or Help button of the parent dialog box, the module that contains the custom property page ActiveX control must implement the PropertyPage object. To implement the object, the module must have a reference set to the Outlook object library and must contain the following statement.

Implements Outlook.PropertyPage

The module must then contain code that implements the methods and properties of the PropertyPage object. The following table describes these procedures.

Procedure

Description

Dirty property

Called by Outlook in response to the OnStatusChange method to determine whether the user has changed a value on the property page.

Apply method

Called by Outlook to notify your program that the user has clicked the OK or the Apply button. Usually this procedure applies any property values changed by the user in the property page.

GetPageInfo method

Called by Outlook to obtain the Help file and topic associated with the property page.

Most commonly, changes to property values are not applied immediately in response to user interaction with the controls that let the user specify those values. Instead, the values are applied when the user clicks OK or Apply in the dialog box. The Apply button is grayed until the user changes a value on a property page. To notify Outlook that the user has changed a value on your property page, your program should call the OnStatusChange method and then return True when Outlook queries the Dirty property.

The OptionsPagesAdd event gives your program the opportunity to add your custom property page to the Microsoft OutlookOptions dialog box (if the event is fired for the Application object) or the folders Properties dialog box (if the event is called for the NameSpace object). When Outlook calls this event procedure, it passes a PropertyPages object. Your event procedure uses the Add method of the collection to add the PropertyPage object implemented by your program to the object.

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