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I/O with Outlook & WordPerfect


ajpid
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Does anyone have experience passing contact info from Outlook 2000 and WordPerfect 9 to FM Pro 5.5 and back?

My firm has been using Outlook 2000 and WordPerfect 9 to manage their contacts. Shortly after arriving at the firm, I advised them to purchase FileMaker Pro 5.5 to use as our main database instead. They have now followed my suggestion. However, everyone in the firm is still used to using Outlook for quick lookups of info and emailing and WordPerfect for faxes and transmittals with automatic address inclusion.

Since this preference for Outlook and WordPerfect is popular, I need to be able to pass the info back and forth between them accurately and relatively easily. Through my investigation, this is what I need to do...

1) Create a new FM database with fields matching the combined fields of Outlook and WordPerfect.

2a) Export contacts and fields from the Outlook Exchange Server via Comma Separated Values.

2b) Export contacts and fields from WordPerfect Address Book on the server via ASCII text with comma and return delimiters.

3) Import both text files into FM and edit for duplicates, extra info, etc. and save the file as the main database file for the firm.

4) Export the modified contact info from the new main FM database in Comma Separated Values format.

5) Delete the existing contacts in Outlook and WordPerfect Address Book.

6) Import the CSV file from FM into Outlook and WordPerfect Address Book, both on the server.

This is the procedure that makes sense to me so far. Has anyone else used a different more streamlined, less labor intensive method?

Any input is appreciated.

--

Aj

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Unfortunately I don't write to offer a solution, but rather to state that I too have a need to integrate FileMaker with Outlook. It seems very inefficient to have a great customer and vendor database in FileMaker Pro, only to have everyone in the office with different address books on their computer(We don't have exchange server). I'm sure that each computer has incomplete and not up-to-date information.

I realize that exporting out of FileMaker and then importing into each Outlook client a feasible workaround, it certainly isn't an efficient nor elegant one.

Is it even remotely possible (maybe with a plug-in) to have outlook connect to a FileMaker server and request contact data, email addresses, etc..

The best solution would be an instant one (update a record in FileMaker and the update is filtered automatically to the Outlook clients.

The second best would be to schedule periodic updates.

I have been hoping someone would find a solution or write one (I am not VB or Plug-in developer) because this seems like a situation many people would run into.

Just a thought.

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Trevor,

I would agree with you. Another unfortunate thing is that I recommended getting FileMaker for the same reason that may make this interaction among these programs difficult - I'm not a programmer. I'm a designer in an architectural firm who feels really comfortable with FM and is a bit confused about the workings of Outlook Exchange Server and WordPerfect shared Address Books.

If there could be a way to have live links or scheduled updates of either the server or everyone's personal address books for Outlook alone, that would be extremely helpful, mainly because I already know how to get WordPerfect to access a local (personal) Outlook Address Book.

So there it is - how to get FM to link or periodically update an Outlook Address Book. Anybody have an answer or possible solution?

On a related subject...

Outlook 2000 has a problem (I call it a design flaw) that it also happens to share with WordPerfect 9 - for some reason, whomever designed the software did not give separate fields to multi-line street addresses?! Here's what I mean...

Joe Blow

123 45th Street

Suite 678

PO Box 90123

Wherever, KS 90123

The above sample has three lines of street address. In a correctly designed contact management program, there would be three fields - one for each line of street address. For some reason Microsoft and Corel see things differently, that is, cloudy. They both have only one field for street address which means that multiple lines of street info need to be separated by a return. Well, you can imagine what happens when these records are exported to a real database like FM...

An example of Tab Separated Values export from Outlook/WordPerfect...

Joe Blow <tab> 123 45th Street <return> Suite 678 <return> PO Box 90123 <tab> Wherever <tab> KS <tab> 90123 <return> ... new record

When this gets imported into FM it will do one of two things depending on whether it was exported as tab delimited or comma delimited.

1) Tab: it will create a new contact upon hitting each <return>.

2) Comma: it will keep the contact together, but will place carriage return symbols (blocks) in between each line of street address and they will all end up on the "Street 1" field.

The only solution I've come up with, is to enter all street info onto one line. Well, as you can imagine, this isn't ideal for printing things like labels or envelopes, let alone bringing such info into a transmittal or fax via WordPerfect.

Microsoft has even documented this "design flaw" in a technote. Go to http://support.microsoft.com and there you should be able to search for this technote - "OL2000: Problem Exporting Multi-Line Contact Street Addresses (Q198283). This technote verifies the flaw and offers a couple of workarounds that do not solve the problem - namely they have some labor intensive ways of getting all of the street info to end up on one line without the return symbols separting them. Thanks, but not nearly enough - this doesn't solve getting the info into a multiple street fields in another program, or address reimporting back into Outlook from the other program.

So, if anyone has any ideas or solutions for the following detailed problems, I (and possibly several others) would greatly appreciate it.

--

Aj

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  • 1 month later...

I know of the same flaw...and what I did was import the data and then write a complicated calculation to strip the second address from the data and put it into another field. Not pretty but the end result works. Without it Printing labels and such doesn't work very well.

BTW...I also want to sync Outlook and FMP regularly...because although I recommend using the databse for almost everything...people still use the crappy scheduler and Contacts in Outlook.

I'd also like to know how to link them...live if possible.

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Hi!

I’ve had the misfortune of having to deal with this problem myself. Unfortunately, I can’t really help you guys too much as my solution was a one-time work around. But I would advise you to reconsider your approach to this problem. One of the first rules I learned about programming – regardless of which database structure – is to avoid locally stored information wherever possible. Another is to run as few separate programs as possible. The reasons for this are all the reasons you have already described – out of date information on some clients, conflicting data across client machines, hours and hours of work trying to update the information across client machines. . . . . . and the list goes on and on…..

So! What I would suggest is to get rid of the Outlook system for this kind of data storage. What I did was to export all the Outlook clients to text files. Then I imported them into a spreadsheet (Excel). There, I spent days reformatting the information, deleting doubles, and basically creating a sound data structure for an import into FMP. I then imported all the information into FMP, and created a series of scripts etc. that allow users to work within FMP pretty much as though they were working in Outlook. So, for example, if they want to send an Email, they use a script in FMP related to the record. This opens a new mail window from Outlook, inserting the address. This file is server-based; so all the information is shared across the network. Now, all the employees within the company only use the Outlook address book for private stuff.

I don’t know if any of this will help – but since all our data storage is now central and based on a single application, administration, updating and modification has become much easier. And everyone got used to the new system very quickly, especially once they began to see the benefits.

BTW the trick was designing my solution around Outlook. I made it look, feel and work the same way, incorporating a scheduler. Everyone loves it.

Rigsby

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