Editing Contacts with the full Contact Editing Form in Outlook 2013

I like Outlook 2013, with useful improvements like inline replies, calendar sneak peak and performance improvements. What I don’t like, however, is the default way how double-clicking a Contact works. In Outlook 2013, you get a Contact Card with only a few of the details that you can edit:
outlook2013_contact_default

I prefer the “old” full contact editing form when double-clicking a contact.
You can do that by clicking on Outlook (Contacts) in the View Source section:
outlook2013_contact

 

That will open the full Outlook Contact Editing Form:
outlook2013_contact_full

I learned about this by reading Open the full contact editing form in Outlook 2013 on MSOutlook.info.
The article has more information about this behavior and even provides you with a few options to disable it.

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Fixing slow loading of attachments from Outlook

Do you experience a long wait when opening attachments from within Outlook? And the same file opens in a snap when you save the attachment first on your hard disk, launch the program and then open the file from within the program?

If you answered yes to all questions above, you probable have a DDE issue. DDE (short for Dynamic Data Exchange) allows applications to communicate with one another. For example, when you double-click a document in Windows Explorer, and the associated application is already running, Explorer sends a DDE message to the application, with instructions to open the document on its own, rather than launching another copy of the application. Sounds neat, no?

Well, on my machine, DDE has the tendency to get corrupted… or at least confused. I’m not sure why, but when that happens, it does cause significant delays in opening documents. Not only when launching it from Outlook, also when double-clicking a file in Windows Explorer.

The solution? Disable DDE for those file types that you have trouble with. Like Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. This is the process:

  1. Start > Control Panel > Folder Options
  2. In the File Types tab, select the file extension you want to change (e.g. .doc for Word documents)
  3. Click the Advanced button
  4. Select the Open action, click Edit. You will get a dialog box like this:
  5. Uncheck Use DDE
  6. In the field Application used to perform action, you will see something similar to
    “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\WINWORD.EXE” /n /dde
    Remove everything after the application (in this case /n /dde) and add %1. (Ensure you put %1 between double quotes (“), otherwise this might not work if the folder and/or filename of the document contains spaces).
    The field should now contain
    “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\WINWORD.EXE” “%1”
  7. Click OK, OK, Close

That’s it. One final note: the DDE functionality gets restored when you re-install the application. But that will probably also fix the DDE issue itself, and if not, simply follow the instructions above again.

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Reason #4 why I like Office 2007: the new file format

The new file format that Office 2007 uses is an XML-based file format, which is stored on the hard disk in a compressed format. A standard ZIP-compression is used, which means that you can open Office 2007 files in a zip-compatible application.

This opens a lot of possibilities, but what I really like about it is that you can easily extract images or other embedded documents out of Word, Excel or PowerPoint files.
Better yet, this (finally!) gives me an easy way to find out why a PowerPoint presentation has a huge file size, even though I used “Compress Pictures…” before I saved.

I could put this into practice today: a colleague asked for my help because he had a PowerPoint presentation with about 30 slides, some of which contained pictures, and the file size was 11MB. Too large to send as an e-mail attachment in our organization.

I first looked at the obvious things: no master slides that were not used, no pictures that were scaled down to 25% or less, all pictures compressed and cropped… nothing that would explain the 11MB.

So I opened the file in PowerPoint 2007, saved it as an .pptx-file, opened that with WinZip and sorted the list on file size. The result? The presentation contained 6 images in .wmf-format, which apparently take a lot of space.

I could not have seen that in PowerPoint 2003: the images themselves were less than 300×300 pixels and were scaled at 100%, so everything looked OK.

After replacing the pictures with a .jpg-version, the PowerPoint presentation shrank to a mere 3 MB!

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