6 Microsoft Outlook Integration

This chapter describes how Oracle WebCenter Content: Desktop integrates with Microsoft Outlook.

This section covers these topics:

What is Email Client integration in Microsoft Outlook?

You can check email messages and their attachments in to a content server directly from Microsoft Outlook to preserve them and share them with others in your organization. In Microsoft Outlook, you can move messages directly into content folders on a server, or you can use a special content check-in form (Oracle WebCenter Content Server only). You can also attach managed content items from the server as well as links to them to your outgoing messages.

Checked-in messages are not intended to be checked out, modified, and checked back in. Messages are checked in to a content server for the express purpose of preserving them exactly as they were received. You can open a checked-in message from a server to view it in your default email application. You can even make changes if you want, but you cannot check it back in to the server. You can, however, send the message to other people or save a copy on your local computer.

How does Desktop integrate with Microsoft Outlook?

Desktop adds some of the following integration features to Microsoft Outlook, depending on which version of Microsoft Outlook you are using.

WebCenter Content Servers Directory

This is added to the list of mail items in the mail folders pane.

To show the mail folders pane, open the View menu, then choose Navigation Pane, then choose Normal.

To show the WebCenter Content Servers directory, open the WebCenter Content menu or ribbon, choose Email Integration Settings..., then select Show WebCenter Content Servers. Click OK to return to Microsoft Outlook. You must now restart Microsoft Outlook for the change to take effect.

WebCenter Content Menu

A menu called WebCenter Content is added to the menu bar in Microsoft Outlook 2002, 2003, and 2007.

This menu contains the following items:

  • Check In Mail Item... opens a dialog where you can check the currently selected message in to a content server.

  • Check In Distribution List... opens a dialog where you can check an email distribution list in to a content server.

  • Email Integration Settings... opens a dialog where you can set a number of configuration options for the email client integration.

  • Email Integration Help launches the Desktop online help in your standard web browser.

  • About WebCenter Content: Desktop... opens a dialog that provides version information about the Desktop client software.

WebCenter Content Toolbar

A toolbar called WebCenter Content is added to Microsoft Outlook 2002, 2003, and 2007. If you do not see the toolbar, you can display it by selecting View, then Toolbars, then WebCenter Content.

The toolbar items depend on the application context. In the main Microsoft Outlook window, the WebCenter Content toolbar contains the following option:

  • Check In Mail Item opens a dialog where you can check the currently selected message in to a content server. (You can also use the WebCenter Content menu to do this.)

In a message editing window (new message or forward message), the WebCenter Content toolbar contains the following option:

  • Get Attachment opens a dialog where you can select a file on a content server to be attached to the current message or embedded in the message as a link.

WebCenter Ribbon

A ribbon called WebCenter Content is added to Microsoft Outlook 2010 and 2013.

This ribbon includes the following groups and options:

  • Check In

    • Check In Mail Item opens a dialog where you can check the currently selected email message in to a content server.

    • Check In Distribution List opens a dialog where you can check an email distribution list in to a content server.

  • Misc

    • Email Integration Settings opens a dialog where you can set a number of configuration options for the email client integration.

    • Help Contents option launches the Desktop online help in your standard web browser.

    • About WebCenter Content: Desktop opens a dialog that provides version information about the Desktop client software.

Insert and Message Ribbons

A Get Attachment item is added to the Insert and Message ribbons in Microsoft Outlook 2010 and 2013. This item opens a dialog where you can select a file on a content server to be attached to the current message or embedded in the message as a link.

Content Pane and Preview Pane

The integration with Microsoft Outlook lets you move messages into content server folders, copy and paste messages, create shortcuts, and so on.

Note:

Microsoft Outlook does not support drag and drop messages into content server folders.

When you select an object in the WebCenter Content Servers directory in the mail pane, the contents of that object are displayed on the right, in the content pane. It may, for example, show a list of all files in the current content folder.

Managed content files listed in the content pane may have a symbol in their file icon to indicate their content management status. For example, if the file is currently checked out by yourself, this is visualized using a green check mark, as shown in Figure 6-1.

Figure 6-1 Status Icon Overlaid on Top of Microsoft Word Application Icon

Check mark showing the checked out file.

Additionally, if you hover your mouse cursor over a managed file in the content pane, a screen tip is displayed providing content management information about that file, as shown in Figure 6-2.

Figure 6-2 Screen Tip Showing Content Management Information About File

Hover box showing content management information.

In details view, the content pane includes a number of columns that show metadata information about the files or folders (for example, their title and content ID). To change which metadata columns are displayed, or their default width and order, right-click any of the column headings in the content pane and choose Column Settings....

You may also see a preview pane, which shows additional information about the selected item in the content pane (as examples: summary information, metadata, a preview). If you do not see the preview pane, select WebCenter Content Servers in the Mail Folders pane, right-click in an unused area of the content pane, select View, then select Preview Pane.

How do I preserve email messages and attachments on a content server?

You preserve email messages on a content server by checking them in to that server. Unless your system has been set up to start check-in automatically, you start by selecting a message or messages in Microsoft Outlook. Select Check In Mail Items from the WebCenter Content ribbon.

If the message has attachments, these can either be checked in to the content server as separate items or embedded in the message. (Your system may be set up to always do one of these things.)

If attachments can be checked in as separate items, all detected attachments to the selected messages are shown in the Check In Email Messages dialog. By default, the settings on this dialog will check in the attachments as separate items, each with its own content ID. If you want to check in a message and one or more of its attachments as a single item, clear the check box against each attachment that you want to embed.

If the items you are checking have names that conflict with those already used on the content server, you are prompted to rename the items. You do this by selecting the item that you want to rename and clicking Rename.

Select the Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance that you want to check the message or attachment in to, then select the content profile that should be applied to the check-in form (providing any profiles are defined on the content server).

If you want the content item to show up in a content folder on the server, make sure that you specify the location in the Folder field.

After you've clicked Continue, you can use the Check In Content dialog to check in each of the messages or attachments that are to be checked in separately. The Check In Content dialog will have separate pages for each item to be checked in. If there is an item (message or attachment) that you do not want to check in, click Exclude Item when you see the item's page in the Check In Content dialog.

Each item's page includes a check-in form that is partially completed with default metadata. You can add further metadata or change the default metadata as required. See the online help for more information.

The suggested title of a checked-in Microsoft Outlook message is usually a combination of its subject line and the date it was received. However, files can be named in other ways (for example using other attributes of the email, the email message ID, or a uniquely generated code) depending on how your system has been configured. Characters not allowed in Windows file names are replaced by spaces. You can change the title as needed before completing the check-in.

Note:

By default, Desktop replaces most of the special characters in the Windows file names with a space. However, some special characters (example, #&^) in the file names are exempted and are used as is. If you want any additional special characters to be ignored by Desktop, you must create a new registry string - Remove Special Characters under the following Windows Registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Oracle\WebCenter Desktop\Content

You must then specify the special characters that you want Desktop to ignore in the Value data field.

Click Next to see the check-in form for the next item, then click Finish to check the messages and attachments in to the selected content folder.

Microsoft Outlook messages are checked in as .msg files. Outlook VCard (.vcf) files are not checked in to the content server.

Tip

  • The content information page of a checked-in message will include links to each of the checked-in attachments. These links point to the most recent revision of each attachment, unless the server is using the RmaEmail component, in which case the links will always point to the first revision.

  • In some configurations, if you move a message into a content folder that already has a message with the same file name, then a sequence number in parentheses is added to the file name (for example, "Re Our Discussion (2).msg"). In other configurations, such duplication may not be allowed.

How can I retrieve and read preserved messages and attachments?

You can open a checked-in email message from a server to view it in your default email application. You can even make changes if you want, but you cannot then check that message back in to the server. You can, however, send the message to other people or save a copy on your local computer. Remember that email messages are checked in to a content server for the express purpose of preserving them exactly as they were received.

Using Microsoft Outlook

Begin by browsing the content folders on a server to find the email message you want to view. To open an email file, double-click the file or right-click it and choose View from the context menu.

Do not choose Open from the context menu of checked-in email files. This will check out the file, but you cannot check it back in (just undo the check-out).

Using Windows Explorer

In Windows Explorer, you can browse to email files in content folders on a server, but you can also search for them. After locating the email message you want to view, right-click the file and choose View from the context menu.

How do I send messages that contain attachments and links to content server files?

Your outgoing messages can contain attachments and links to files on a content server.

For WebCenter Content user interface, begin by creating or opening an email message, then choose Get Attachment from the WebCenter Content toolbar, the Insert ribbon, or the Message ribbon. Use the Browse button on the Get Attachment dialog to locate and select the file or files that you want to include in your message. Click OK when you have done this.

After you have selected the file or files you want to include in the message, the Content Item field in the Get Attachment dialog shows their content IDs. If you selected multiple files, the Content Item field shows the content ID of the first selected file, and you can use the drop-down list to show the details of the other files.

For each content ID, decide whether to include the file as a link or as an attachment.

To insert the current file as a link, select the Link icon in the left panel. Then, for that file, provide the link text, specify the rendition type, and choose whether to link to the latest revision. For more information, see the online help.

To attach the current file to your message, select the File icon in the left panel. Then, for that file, specify the rendition type.

Click OK to include the file or files in your message as links or attachments, as specified by you.

Tips

  • If you use Microsoft Word as your email editor in Microsoft Outlook, you can right-click and insert links through the context menu.

  • You cannot attach content server files to your messages if you are using Microsoft Word as your email editor. To attach content server files, you must use Microsoft Outlook's own HTML or text editor.

  • In the Select Content dialog (opened by clicking the Browse button on the Get Attachment dialog), you can select multiple files at the same time. When searching for files, select the check box for each item in the search results list that you want to include. When browsing to files in content folders, hold the Shift key for consecutive selections and Ctrl for non-consecutive selections.

How can I create a new message with links to the file?

For native 11g user interface, when you select a file in the content folder hierarchy, you see information about that file in the preview pane. You can use the Send link by email option in the preview pane to create a new email message that includes links to the currently selected file.

Begin by selecting the file in the content folder tree (in the mail pane of Microsoft Outlook, or in Windows Explorer, as available).

WebCenter Content servers: From the Email menu, select Send link by email. This opens a new message. The subject of the message is Re: followed by the title of the linked file. In the body of the message, three links are inserted, one to the web-viewable version of the file, one to the native version of the file, and one to the content info page for the file. If you do not want to include one of these links, you can delete it before sending the message.

Content DB or WebDAV servers: In the preview pane, select Send link by email. This opens a new message. The subject of the message is Re: followed by the name of the file. In the body of the message, enclosed in angle brackets, is a URL that points to a web-viewable version of the file on the server.

You can now complete the message and send it.

How can I view all my workflow assignments?

You can view all your current workflow assignments for an Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance in one convenient list in your email application. This list shows all files currently in a workflow that you are assigned to review. You can approve or reject the files directly from the list.

Begin by making sure that the folders pane is visible in Microsoft Outlook, and that the WebCenter Content Servers node is enabled.

Select the server for which you want to see all your workflow assignments. Find and select the My Workflow Assignments node. This node may be nested beneath the Users node.

If the server does not have a node called My Workflow Assignments, then workflow assignments may not be enabled on the server, or the server is not a Content Server 11g instance.

The content pane lists all files on the server that you have currently been assigned to review. This list matches that in Oracle WebCenter Content Server's web interface (under My Content Server). You can work with the files in this list directly to review them.

How do I work with Distribution Lists?

Support for distribution lists is disabled by default. To use the distribution list features described in this section, you must enable them by checking the Support Distribution Lists option, which is on the Email Checkin Settings dialog. You can open this dialog from the WebCenter Content menu or ribbon and choosing Email Integration Settings....

A distribution list is a collection of email addresses grouped under a common name. Any message addressed to the group name is sent to everyone on the list. You can check distribution lists in to an Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance (providing it is running the RmaEmail component). You cannot check distribution lists in to Oracle Content DB server or other WebDAV servers.

You can check in distribution lists that already exist in a Microsoft Outlook address book or new ones that you create.

After you check a distribution list in to an Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance, you can modify the list by adding, changing, or removing information. Also, you can clear the information in the name and address fields by clicking Reset.

Changes you make to the list are reflected only in the version checked in to the content server. If the list is also used in Microsoft Outlook, that version remains unchanged. When you edit a distribution list that is checked in to the content server, you can create a new revision or a new content item when you save the list.

Checking In a New Distribution List

You can create a new email distribution list and then check that list in to an Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance.

Begin by choosing Check In Distribution List from the WebCenter Content ribbon or menu. On the Distribution List Checkin dialog, click Add, then, on the [Edit/Add] Distribution List dialog, enter a name for the new distribution list that you are creating.

For each new member that you want to add to the distribution list, enter the following information:

  • Name: The person's name as you would like it to display in the distribution list.

  • Address: That person's email address.

When you are finished adding the names and addresses for the distribution list, click OK to open the distribution list check-in form.

Specify the appropriate metadata for the distribution list and click Check In.

Click OK on the check-in confirmation message and then click Close to close the Distribution List Checkin dialog.

After the distribution list is checked in to the content server, it is included in the Distribution List Checkin dialog for that server.

If you use Microsoft Word as your email editor in Microsoft Outlook, you will not be able to check in distribution lists. To use this feature, you must use Microsoft Outlook's own HTML or text editor.

Checking In a Distribution List from a Microsoft Outlook Address Book

You can select an email distribution list that already exists in a Microsoft Outlook address book and check that list in to an Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance.

Begin by choosing Check In Distribution List from the WebCenter Content ribbon or menu. On the Distribution List Checkin dialog, click Address Book to open the Check In Distribution List From Address Book dialog.

In the Show lists from list, select the group in Microsoft Outlook that contains the distribution list you are checking in to the content server. From that group, select the distribution list that you want to check in.

If you want, click Details... to open the properties dialog for the distribution list, including the list of addressees. This dialog is the same one that displays in Microsoft Outlook for viewing the details of a distribution list. To modify the properties, follow the instructions in Microsoft Outlook Help.

When you are ready to check in the distribution list, click Check in to open the distribution list check-in form.

Specify the appropriate metadata for the distribution list and click Check In.

Click OK on the check-in confirmation message and then click Close to close the Distribution List Checkin dialog.

After the distribution list is checked in to the content server, it is included in the Distribution List Checkin dialog for that server.

Adding a New Member to an Existing Distribution List

Begin by selecting Check In Distribution List from the WebCenter Content menu or ribbon in Microsoft Outlook.

Select the distribution list that you want to add a new member to, then click Edit.

You can see the Edit Distribution List dialog with the name and address fields already populated with the details of the first member in the list. To add a new member, overwrite these values with the name and address of the new member. This will not remove the original first addressee in the list.

Click Add to add the new member to the distribution list.

Repeat this process for each new member you want to add to the distribution list.

When you are finished adding new members to the distribution list, click OK.

You are prompted to check in the distribution list either as a new content item or as a revision to the existing item. To check in the distribution list as a new content item, choose New Content Item. Then provide a new name for the distribution list and click OK. To check in the distribution list as a revision to the existing content item, choose New Revision.

Provide or modify the appropriate metadata for the distribution list, then click Check In.

Click OK to the check-in confirmation message, then click Close.

Changing the Name or Address of a Distribution List Member

Begin by selecting Check In Distribution List from the WebCenter Content menu or ribbon in Microsoft Outlook.

Select the distribution list that contains the member whose name or address you want to modify, then click Edit.

Select the list member whose name or address you want to modify.

Update the Name and Address fields as appropriate and click Modify to save the changes.

Repeat this process for each list member whose name and address you want to modify.

When you are finished, click OK.

You are prompted to check in the distribution list either as a new content item or as a revision to the existing item. To check in the distribution list as a new content item, choose New Content Item. Then provide a new name for the distribution list and click OK. To check in the distribution list as a revision to the existing content item, choose New Revision.

Provide or modify the appropriate metadata for the distribution list, then click Check In.

Click OK to the check-in confirmation message, then click Close.

Deleting a Member from a Distribution List

Begin by selecting Check In Distribution List from the WebCenter Content menu or ribbon in Microsoft Outlook.

Select the distribution list that contains the member that you want to remove from the list, then click Edit.

Select the list member that you want to remove from the distribution list. Click Delete to remove the selected list member, and click Yes to confirm the operation.

Repeat this process for each member that you want to remove from the distribution list.

When you are finished, click OK.

You are prompted to check in the distribution list either as a new content item or as a revision to the existing item. To check in the distribution list as a new content item, choose New Content Item. Then provide a new name for the distribution list and click OK. To check in the distribution list as a revision to the existing content item, choose New Revision.

Provide or modify the appropriate metadata for the distribution list, then click Check In.

Click OK to the check-in confirmation message, then click Close.

Deleting a Distribution List

You can delete a distribution list from Oracle WebCenter Content Server. When you do so, all revisions of that distribution list will be removed. If the list is also used in Microsoft Outlook, it remains unchanged and is still available through Microsoft Outlook.

Begin by selecting Check In Distribution List from the WebCenter Content menu or ribbon in Microsoft Outlook.

Select the distribution list that you want to remove from the content server.

Click Delete to remove the selected distribution list, and click Yes to confirm the operation. Click Close to close the Distribution List Checkin dialog.

What are the background and setup information needed to connect to a content server?

Email Specific Metadata on Oracle WebCenter Content Server

This section applies only when connected to a server that is using the native 11g user interface.

With the Desktop components installed on an Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance, the content check-in form typically includes six email specific metadata fields, providing they were enabled on the content server (see Table  below). These are all optional metadata fields, which means you do not need to provide values for them in order to check in an email message. If used, these metadata fields are pre-populated with available values when you check an email message or attachment in to the content server.

Field Label on Content Check-in Form Field Name in Content Server Description

Author Or Originator

EmailFrom

The sender of the email message (that is, the name in the 'From' field).

Addressee(s)

EmailTo

The recipient or recipients of the email message (that is, the name or names in the 'To' field).

Other Addressee(s)

EmailCC

The other recipients of the email message (that is, the names in the 'Cc' field). Any names in the 'Bcc' field are ignored.

Email Subject

EmailSubject

The subject line of the email message.

Publication Date

PublicationDate

This is the date and time that the email message was sent (as recorded in the message header).

Received Date

ReceivedDate

This is the date and time that the email message was received (as recorded in the message header).

Default Email Metadata and File Names

Oracle WebCenter Content Server

Oracle WebCenter Content Server can store multiple files of the same name as separate content items. However, in the integration of Oracle WebCenter Content Server with your Windows desktop application, file names in content folders must be unique (in the same way that a folder in Windows cannot contain two files of the same name). Because of this requirement, when you add an email message to a content folder that already contains a message of the same name, it is automatically checked in as a new revision to the existing item on the server. For example, if Our discussion.msg is in a folder on the server and you add a second Our discussion.msg file to that same folder, then the second file becomes a new revision of the first file. If Our discussion.msg is in a folder and you add Our recent discussion.msg or Our discussion.eml to that folder, then they remain separate content items because they have different file names.

The file name that is displayed in the Name column in Windows Explorer or your email application and in the Name field of the Content Properties dialog is the same as the original file name in the content server repository. When you rename content through the Windows Explorer integration, the original file name also changes to reflect the new name.

If Oracle WebCenter Content Server is set up to automatically generate content IDs, then the content IDs follow the established numbering convention. If this option is not enabled, checking in a new content item through Windows Explorer or an email client generates a unique sequential content or message ID.

Oracle Content Database Servers and Other WebDAV Servers

Content folders on Oracle Content Database servers and other WebDAV servers behave exactly like Windows folders on your local computer. If you copy a file to a folder on the server that already contains a file of the same name, then the existing file is simply overwritten. (Unlike with Oracle WebCenter Content Server, there is no revisioning on these servers.)

Setting the Email Check In Option

When you check email messages in to the content server, you have the option of setting some configuration options.

Begin by selecting Options, then Email Integration Settings... from the WebCenter Content menu or ribbon in Microsoft Outlook.

Select the appropriate option to specify how email messages must be handled when checking in to the content server:

  • Check In Email After Sending: Each email is checked in to the content server at the time of sending.

  • Support Distribution Lists: A distribution list is a collection of email addresses grouped under a common name. If you enable the support for distribution list, any message addressed to the group name is sent to everyone on the list.

  • Show WebCenter Content Servers: Displays the integration hierarchy in the folders list of your email client (Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes). You must restart your email application for the integration hierarchy to be displayed. You can see a folder called WebCenter Content Servers in the folders pane in your email application.

This setting applies only if you check in a message using the Check In Mail Item feature in Microsoft Outlook [or Lotus Notes]. It does not apply if you move a message into a content folder.

Click OK to close the Email Checkin Settings dialog. The setting takes effect immediately.