How to create & publish Organizational Forms in Office 365 5/5 (3)

14 min read

Organizational Forms are a very useful organization tool, can streamline and improve many repetitive processes. For example – a prepared in advance templates, that used as a reply template for customers, applying for a holiday and much more.

The first secret that most of us do not know is, that Outlook includes powerful built-in tools that can help us to create this Forms, and send them to required recipients.

The second secret that most of us do not know is that Exchange server include a built-in solution that created for the purpose of – storing this Forms, and share them between our organization users.

The “store” that Exchange server provides is implemented via Exchange system Public folder.

In the current article, we will learn how to create the “server-side side store” for Organizational Forms.

In the second part, we will review how to build this “Outlook forms,” how to publish the Form publicly, and how to send E-mail message based on a particular Form.

The concept of Outlook Forms and Organizational Forms

As mentioned, Outlook includes a very useful tool that enables each user, to create for himself a custom temple that described as a “Form”.

The Outlook Form based on Outlook well knows items such as “standard E-mail template,” a “Task template,” calendar meeting template” and so on.

The user can use one of these “Outlook templates” as a baseline and add many times of customization to the baseline template.

The customization of the Form can be minimal such as – adding a predefined text to the E-mail message, predefined recipients or a very advanced and sophisticated customization that includes calculated values, code and so on.

The custom Form that created can save in the user mailbox or, stored in a central location (Exchange server) which is available other Exchange recipients.

The store that Exchange server allocates to this “Form central store”, is implemented by using a specific system Public folder – EFORMS REGISTR, which is usually named – Organizational Forms.

In Exchange Online based environment this “particular Public folder”, need to be created by the Exchange Online administrator.

Also, the Exchange Online administrator, need to assign the required permissions to the Exchange recipient, which are going to save the custom Forms in the Organizational Forms store (The Form Manager).

When Exchange recipient keeps a Form in the Organizational Forms store, we use the term “publish”, because the recipient is storing a Form that will be shared (published) with of the rest of the Exchange recipients.

Using the option of Organizational Forms library in Exchange environment -01

In a scenario in which we want to use Organizational Forms store; we will need to complete the following steps:

Phase Server-side preparations

  • Creating the Organizational Forms library store – this is a “one-time step,” in which we create the required store for the Forms, that shared between our organization users. The creation of the Organizational Forms library is implemented by using PowerShell for creating the particular System Public Folder.
  • Assign the required permissions to the “Form Manager creator” – technically speaking, there is no such role. Most of the time, only specific users will be assigned with the required permissions that will enable them to publish (save) a Form that they have created in the Organizational Forms library store. The user who will publish the Form will need Read + Write permissions to the Organizational Forms library store.

Phase B – Creating + publishing the Organizational Forms

  • Creating the Form – the step in which a particular user creates and designs a Form for a specific organizational need.
  • Saving the Form in the personal form library – in the first step, the creator of the Form will need to save the Form locally in his mailbox.
  • Publishing the form in the Exchange Online Organizational Forms library – after the Form saved locally, the Form creator will need to save the Form in the public store meaning – publish the Form to the Organizational Forms library store.

Phase C – using the Organizational Forms

  • Using the Form as E-mail template – when the organization user needs to use a specific Form that was published, he will use Outlook to “fetch” and select the required Form that they want to use.

Organizational Forms library in Exchange environment - The task list -02

Creating the Organizational Forms library store using PowerShell

The basic assumption is that you have already created the required infrastructure of a Public folder in the Exchange Online server.
In case that you didn’t configure Public Folder, you can read the following articles:

Given that your Exchange Online infrastructure had already Public folder infrastructure, we will need to create the special system Public folder that will serve as a storage for
the Organizational Forms.

This step implemented by the Exchange Online administrator using a PowerShell commands.

Exchange Online Organizational Forms Library | The type of permissions

Technically speaking, the best practice is to create a hierarchy of permissions.

For example, a structure of three layers

Layer 1 – the Exchange Online administrator will have the Owner permissions to the Organizational Forms store.

Layer 2 – The Organizational Forms library store “creator.” These are the users who will have the required permissions of storing (publishing) Forms in the Organizational Forms library. This user needs to have the Publishing Editor permissions.

Layer 3 – The Organizational users – the user who will have the permissions to use the Forms that stored in the Organizational Forms library store. The permissions to “all Exchange Online user” are configured by using the “default” object. The permissions that are assigned to the “Default recipient” are Author permissions.

Note – In case that you need more information about the different type of Exchange Online Public folder permissions you can read the article – Add-PublicFolderClientPermission

1#4 – Creating the Organizational Forms Public Folder in Exchange Online

Generally speaking, the task of creating a “new Public folder” is implemented by the Exchange Online administrator using the Exchange Online web admin interface or, by a user who has the required permissions using Outlook mail client.

The Organizational Forms Library is a special case because, the Organizational Forms Library implemented by using a particular system Public Folder, which can be created and managed only by using PowerShell.

Organizational Forms Library | Pre requirement’s task list

1. Existing Public Folder infrastructure

The Organizational Forms library store is a sub-Public folder in the existing Public Folder infrastructure.

In case that your Exchange Online was not configured to use Public Folder infrastructure, you can create the “Root Public Folder” mailbox using the Exchange Online web management interface or, use the following PowerShell command syntax:

PowerShell command example:

2. Creating remote PowerShell session to Exchange Online

The creation of the Organizational Forms library store + the assignment of the required permissions is implemented by using PowerShell commands.

Note – the basic assumption is that you know how to create a remote PowerShell for connecting Exchange Online. In case that you are not familiar with this process,
you can read the following article – Connect to Exchange Online using PowerShell

Our tasks in a nutshell

1. Create new System Pubic folders

We will need to create new system Public folders using a special type,
described as – EFORMS REGISTRY. The special Public folder that will store the Forms will be named as – Organizational Forms Library. (A)

2. Assign the required permissions

To be able to manage the Organizational Forms library (store \ publish Forms), we will need to assign the required permissions to the – Organizational Forms library. (B)

Creating two new system Public Folders and Assign required permissions

Phase 1#2 – Creating the Exchange Online Organizational Forms Library

 

1. Creating the Exchange Online Organizational Forms Library

The PowerShell command syntax that we use for creating the new Organizational Forms library store is:

2. Define the Language code of the Organizational Forms library store

We will need to set the language setting of the Exchange Online Organizational Forms Library.

In the following example, we set the language code to en-US.

Note – If you want to read more information about the language code, you can use the following article languagecode Field

3. View the Exchange Online Organizational Forms Library Public Folder

If you want to view the “new Online Organizational Forms Library Public Folder” that you have created in the previous step, you can use the following PowerShell command:

Phase 2#2 – Assign the required permissions to Organizational Forms Library Public Folder

As mentioned, the recommendation is to assign the required permissions to the Organizational Forms Library Public Folder, by implementing a “permissions hierarchy.”

In the following screenshot, we can see that by default, the existing permissions for the Organizational Forms Library Public Folder include the Author permissions to the default user (authenticated user), and the None permissions for anonymous users (non-authenticated user).

Phase 2 - Assign the required permissions to Organizational Forms Library Public Folder -01

1.1 Assign the Owner permissions to Organizational Forms Library Public Folder | Exchange Online administrator

In this step, we assign the required permissions, to Exchange Online Administrator Brad.
The permissions that we assign to Brad are the “owner” permissions on the Organizational Forms Library Public Folder.

PowerShell command syntax:

PowerShell command example:

In the following screenshot, we can see the results:

Phase 2 - Assign the required permissions to Organizational Forms Library Public Folder -02

1.2 Assign the Publishing Editor permissions to Organizational Forms Library Public Folder | Forms manager

In our scenario, the Forms Manager is a user named – Eyal.

We will assign Eyal the Publishing Editor permissions to the Organizational Forms Library Public Folder:

In the following screenshot, we can see the results:

Phase 2 - Assign the required permissions to Organizational Forms Library Public Folder -03

2. View Public Folder permissions

In case that you want to view permissions assigned to a specific Public Folder, we can use the following PowerShell command:

PowerShell command syntax:

PowerShell command example:

In the following screenshot, we can see the results:

Phase 2 - Assign the required permissions to Organizational Forms Library Public Folder -04

3. Remove the required permissions to Organizational Forms Library Public Folder

In case that you need to remove existing permissions, you can use
the – Remove-PublicFolderClientPermission command.

PowerShell command example:

2#4 -Creating the Outlook Form

The current section is dedicated to the user whom we describe as the “Form manager.”

The responsibilities of these users are

  • Creating and design the required Outlook Form.
  • Publishing the Form to the Organizational Forms Library Public Folder.

2.1 Add the developer ribbon to Outlook

The creation, design and the publishing of the Organizational Forms, is implemented by using the Outlook developer ribbon

The Outlook developer ribbon is not added by default to the standard Outlook ribbon.

In the following section, we will review how to add the Outlook developer ribbon to the Outlook client.

  • In Outlook, select the File
  • On the left menu bar, select the menu – Options

How to add developer ribbon to Outlook -01

  • Select the Customize Ribbon menu
  • Select the option box – Developer

How to add developer ribbon to Outlook -02

In the following screenshot, we can see a “new ribbon” appear on the Outlook interface.

How to add developer ribbon to Outlook -03

In the following sections, we will review how to create a new Outlook Form.

We will examine two ways that we can use for creating Outlook Forms that will be published (saved) in the Organizational Forms Library Public Folder.

2.2 – Creating a new Form based on Outlook pre-defined template

To create a new Form that based on a predefined Outlook template, use the following steps:

  • Select the Developer menu
  • Click on the Design a Form icon
  • In the section- “Look in:”, select Standard Form Library
  • In our scenario, we will select a “message template
  • Select Open

Creating a new Form based Outlook template - Option 1 - 01

In the following screenshot, we can see the E-mail message template.

Creating a new Form based Outlook template - Option 1 - 02

We can add additional Tabs to the E-mail Form, other mail fields, add custom code and so on.

Creating a new Form based Outlook template - Option 1 - 03

After we have finished adding all the required customizations to the E-mail Form, we need to save the Form.

When relating to Outlook Forms, instead of using the term “save to” or “store in,” we use the term – “Publish.”
In the first phase, we will save (publish) the Form locally in the user Mailbox.
Later, we will copy the Form, to the Organizational Forms Library Public Folder, by publishing the Form.

  • To save the Form locally, click on the Publish icon
  • Select the sub menu – Publish Form

Creating a new Form based Outlook template - Option 1 - 04

We will save the “New Form” in the Personal Forms Library.

  • In the “Look in:” box, select – Personal Forms Library
  • Choose the name whom you want to assign to the Form.
  • Click – Publish to save the Form in the Personal Forms Library

Creating a new Form based Outlook template - Option 1 - 05

When we wish to close the Form window, we need to click “Yes” for saving the Form settings.

Creating a new Form based Outlook template - Option 1 - 06

2.3 – Creating a new Form using an HTML template

In the following section, I would like to briefly review the additional method of creating a custom Outlook Form that is based on an HTML template.

To be able to create a Form that based on HTML code, we need to use some “workaround.”

The steps that we need to implement are as follows:

Create the required HTML code that includes the necessary TEXT (the content) + the necessary CSS style.

In the following screenshot, we can see an example, in such HTML code (you can download the sample by using the following link).

Creating a new Form based on HTML template - Option 2 - 01

To be able to use the HTML code as a Form, we will need to open the HTML file using a browser.

In the following example, we use Internet Explorer for opening the HTML file.

  • Right click on the HTML file
  • Select the menu – Open with…
  • Select – Internet Explorer.

Creating a new Form based on HTML template - Option 2 - 02

  • Select the File menu and the menu – Send
  • Select the option – Page by e-mail…

Creating a new Form based on HTML template - Option 2 - 03

Send the E-mail to the recipient who acts as the “Form Manager”.

Creating a new Form based on HTML template - Option 2 - 04

In the following screenshot, we can see that the E-mail reached to our “Form Manager.”

Creating a new Form based on HTML template - Option 2 - 05

To publish the E-mail as a “Form,”

  • Select the E-mail message
  • Select the Publish icon
  • Click on the Publish Form icon

Creating a new Form based on HTML template - Option 2 - 06

In the first phase, we will save the “New Form” in the Personal Forms Library

  • In the “Look in:” box, select – Personal Forms Library
  • Choose the name which you want to assign to the New Form.
  • Click – Publish to save the Form in the Personal Forms Library

Creating a new Form based on HTML template - Option 2 - 07

When we wish to close the Form window, we need to click “Yes” for saving the Form settings.

Creating a new Form based on HTML template - Option 2 - 08

3#4 – Publishing the Form in the Exchange Online Organizational Forms library

In the following section, we review the process of publishing the Form that created in the former section, and how to manage the Exchange Online Organizational Forms library store.

In the following step, we will copy the Form that was stored in the Personal Forms Library in the Exchange Online Organizational Forms library store.

The “transfer” process implemented in the following way:

  • In Outlook, select the File menu and the select – Options

Publishing the form in the Exchange Online Organizational Forms library-01

  • On the left menu bar select – Advanced
  • In the Developers section, click on the Custom Forms… button

Publishing the form in the Exchange Online Organizational Forms library-02

  • Click on the Manage Forms… button

Publishing the form in the Exchange Online Organizational Forms library-03

On the “right side” the content of the Personal Forms library (the personal user store).

To copy the custom Forms stored locally (number 1) to the Organizational Forms library store, we need to select the name of the required Form and click on the Copy button (number 2).

In the following screenshot, we can see the Forms copied to the organizational Form store (number 3).

  • Click – Close (number 4).

Publishing the form in the Exchange Online Organizational Forms library-04

  • Click – OK

Publishing the form in the Exchange Online Organizational Forms library-05

4#4 – Using a Form as an E-mail template

This is the “last step” in our Organizational Forms library store journey.

In this phase, the custom Forms were already created and published by the “Forms Manager” to the Organizational Forms library store.

Now, we will review how an organization’s user can use the Form when using Outlook.

  • To use a Form, in the Home menu, click on the New Items icon
  • Select the menu – Choose Form…

Using the form as E-mail template -01

  • In the “Look in:” box, select the option – Organization Forms Library
  • In our scenario, the user selects from the Form list, a Form named – Sorry for the Delay
  • Click – Open

Using the form as E-mail template -02

In the following screenshot, we can see that the “new E-mail message” is based on the Form that serves as a Template.

Using the form as E-mail template -03

Now it’s Your Turn!
It is important for us to know your opinion on this article

Summary
How to create & publish Organizational Forms in Office 365
Article Name
How to create & publish Organizational Forms in Office 365
Description
Organizational Forms are a very effective organization tool, can streamline and improve many repetitive processes. For example – a prepared in advance templates, that will be used as a reply template for customers, applying for a holiday and much more.
Author
Publisher Name
o365info.com
Publisher Logo
Print Friendly

Related Post

Please rate this

Eyal Doron on EmailEyal Doron on FacebookEyal Doron on GoogleEyal Doron on LinkedinEyal Doron on PinterestEyal Doron on RssEyal Doron on TwitterEyal Doron on WordpressEyal Doron on Youtube
Eyal Doron
Share your knowledge.
It’s a way to achieve immortality.
Dalai Lama

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *