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Exchange Server 2003 and SharePoint Integration

Outlook 2003 is used by some single users, but its strength is in its client/server capabilities. Enhancements to the way Outlook 2003 works with Exchange Server 2003 and SharePoint make it a more dependable and resourceful email client.

Working Offline Using Cached Exchange Mode

Exchange Server users know that connectivity is a sensitive issue—the loss of a high-quality connection unleashes a number of error messages you have to endure until they finally stop because it's out of your control. More often than not, even if the connection is restored, you still have to restart Outlook.

Cached Exchange Mode keeps a copy of your messages on your local computer. That way, if the connection fails, Outlook can still find and—more importantly—work with the stored messages, which Outlook 2003 stores in the Offline Folders file. In addition, Cached Exchange stores a copy of all your messages on your computer. If you lose the connection, you can still work with what you've got.

What this all means is that your mail is still accessible, offline. To toggle between offline and online, select Work Offline from the File menu.

Let Me Check Your Calendar

Exchange Server users are only a few mouse clicks away from sharing calendars with everyone. This capability can be very important to the busy office—meaning almost instant collaboration. Outlook 2003 lets you view a full day, week, work week, or month for multiple users in your Calendar window.

In Calendar view, click the Open a Shared Calendar link in the Navigation pane. Outlook 2003 prompts you to identify the contact; select a contact, and click OK.

Corporate-Level Filtering

Individual users can use filters to limit the amount of junk mail they have to sift through. Exchange Server 2003 has its own junk mail filter. Employing filters at this level filters junk mail before it ever reaches the Outlook client. The advantage is a decrease in storage requirements because the message isn't stored on the server until it's downloaded by the client and it's never downloaded to the client.

Even better, Exchange administrators can configure Exchange servers to work together with Outlook to identify and trap junk mail. The administrator can use the Exchange Intelligent Message Filter to assign a numeric rating to new incoming messages indicating the probability that they're spam. Outlook in turn can use this rating to decide whether to route an incoming message to the user's Inbox or her Junk Mail folder.

Managing SharePoint Alerts

You learned about SharePoint in Chapter 2, "Shared Office Features." Specifically, you learned how to create a new meeting workspace and alerts that notify you (or others) when certain conditions are met. You can create, manage, and delete an alert from Outlook 2003. For instance, you might create an alert that notifies you if a meeting time is changed.

To configure a SharePoint alert, select Rules and Alerts from the Tools menu. Next, click the Manage Alerts tab, which displays existing alerts. You must be part of a SharePoint Server 2003 to configure alerts from the resulting window shown in Figure 3.25. Select New Alert to launch the Rules Wizard. Or, modify or delete an existing alert rule.

Figure 3.25Figure 3.25 Manage SharePoint alerts from inside Outlook 2003.

Planning Meetings

A SharePoint meeting workspace is actually a Web site that manages information and materials for a meeting, such as an agenda document. The first step is to create the meeting workspace. To do so, select Calendar view, select a meeting date from the Date Navigator, and then select New from the File menu and then select Meeting Request. In the resulting window, enter the attendees (the To control), a subject, the location of the meeting, and reminder specifics as shown in Figure 3.26.

Figure 3.26Figure 3.26 Set up a SharePoint meeting.

When you've entered all the appropriate meeting information, click the Meeting Workspace button to open the Meeting Workspace task pane shown in Figure 3.27. If Outlook 2003 prompts you for server and default template selections, enter the choices and click OK; then click Create to create the request shown.

Figure 3.27Figure 3.27 Open the meeting workspace task pane.

To visit the workspace, click the link in the meeting request. Here, you can upload documents, create an agenda, create action items, and enter meeting objectives. Attendees can propose new meeting times, and you can update the subject, invite new people, or change the location.

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