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5 Reasons to Connect FileMaker to Outlook

November 25th, 2009

5 Reasons to Connect FileMaker to Outlook

 

FileMaker to OutlookPeople sometimes ask us the question:  “Why would I want to connect FileMaker to Outlook?”  My reply is, “Why wouldn’t you?”

 

Microsoft Outlook is a popular e-mail application that comes complete with contacts, appointments and tasks. It has been around for years and its proliferation in the Windows-based work environment is as wide as it is deep. For companies that use FileMaker and also use Outlook, it may seem painfully obvious that connecting the two could yield some newfound benefits. Let’s explore some of these connection points between these two important applications.

 

First of all, let’s identify what Outlook does well. Outlook does a fine job handling incoming and outgoing e-mail.  Outlook is a mature e-mail application that comes complete with all the bells and whistles. Its feature set has been defined and refined over the years and it is the standard by which other e-mail applications are judged.

 

Outlook also efficiently handles your basic task list and your appointment schedule.  Outlook comes complete with its own address book to store contacts.  Because Outlook has been around for years and is so widely used, nearly every third-party application that has anything to do with managing contacts and calendars readily connects to it.

 

In today’s world, having data in your mobile device is more important than ever. Outlook really shines in this area as I can’t think of a modern mobile PDA/phone made that Outlook cannot synchronize to either through MS Exchange or a third party sync tool.  When you think about the significance of Outlook’s uncanny ability to connect to just about everything, you soon realize that once your data is in Outlook, it can be distributed and synced most anywhere.

 

Ok, so now enter FileMaker.  FileMaker (for those of you who already own and use it, consider this a review) is undoubtedly the most powerful data management database system ever created that doesn’t require traditional computer programming skills to create and use.  Once you use FileMaker, you’ll most likely have your organization’s data stored there – after all, it is a database.  Now let’s talk about the 5 reasons why you should connect FileMaker to Outlook.

Reason #1: Populate Outlook with FileMaker address book data

Probably the most common reason people want to connect FileMaker to Outlook is because they store contacts in FileMaker, yet they send e-mail using Outlook. Outlook has its own address book and here in lies the problem. When you generate a new e-mail from Outlook it’s going to use Outlook’s address book to gather the e-mail address.  Why not create a routine that copies your FileMaker address data into Outlook on a periodic basis. This way you don’t have to worry about having two address books, you can safely e-mail people directly out of Outlook knowing full well that your data originally came from FileMaker.   People commonly create a routine in FileMaker that copies contact data either daily or weekly as a “one-way push” from FileMaker to Outlook.

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Reason #2: Populate FileMaker with Outlook address book data

So let’s assume you are new to FileMaker and you have all your contact address data already in Outlook.  In this case it would be helpful to create a routine that gathers Outlook data to create corresponding records in FileMaker. In addition you may want that periodic routine to perform a query on the Outlook data gathering only those records modified after a certain date or associated with a specific category.

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Reason #3: Calendar Management

For years people have used FileMaker as a mechanism to store calendar schedule data.  For instance, if you had a meeting and planning database system built in FileMaker, it’s safe to say that you have several hundred events listed in FileMaker all with numerous details and attributes.

 

Often times it would be helpful to have a system by which you could be reminded of these events or better still, take your events with you in your mobile device. Since Outlook already has a built-in reminder system and ability to move events to mobile device, it makes good sense to get that data into Outlook and leverage what Outlook does best. You can create a routine that periodically moves events from FileMaker to Outlook giving you additional options to be reminded, to have your data in a mobile device, or to view your data in one of the many built-in Outlook views such as month view, day view, week view, category list etc.

http%3A%2F%2Fwww.productivecomputing.com%2Fvideo%2Fvideo_library%2FOutlook_Manipulator%2FOutlook_Calendar_Task_Notes_Push.flv

Reason #4: Task Management

As in reason three above, tasks are often times entered in FileMaker just like events are.  And just like with events, Outlook can also remind you of upcoming tasks as well as move those tasks to your mobile device. If you have a list of tasks in FileMaker complete with priority, category, and notes, you can move all that data from FileMaker to  Outlook. 


 Reason #5: Create a company-wide Email Archive in FileMaker

Organizations often have their contacts in a centralized FileMaker database. And of course, it makes sense that these contacts would include an e-mail address. A common situation is that each member of the organization sends and receives e-mail each from their own Outlook client. you could say that the e-mail is “trapped” and each individual’s  “inbox” and/or  “sent items” folder.

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You can create a routine that imports email directly from Outlook into FileMaker. Once the e-mail is imported, you simply match each e-mail with the e-mail address for each FileMaker contact. What you get in the end is a complete organization wide e-mail history attached to each FileMaker contact. Imagine going to John Smith’s record for example and viewing all e-mail sent and/or received to and from anyone in the organization.

Getting Started 3Get Started: Moving data between FileMaker and Outlook can be accomplished with the use of the Outlook Manipulator plug-in by Productive Computing (Outlook Manipulator). Programing the routines mentioned in this article from scratch using the Outlook Manipulator requires intermediate FileMaker skills in the areas of scripting, calculations and relationships. Included in the download package of the plug-in is an unlocked FileMaker demo with all the routines listed above clearly demonstrated.

Entourage: Send as HTML with Default Signature

October 31st, 2009

The following video will demonstrate how to set Entourage to create new Emails formatted as HTML and use an HTML formatted signature.  As simple as this concept may seem, configuring Entourage to invoke this specific behavior may not be readily apparent or intuitive.  It turns out that there are three separate areas that need to be configured in Entourage none of which are on the same screen or in the same area of the settings.

Oh and for those of you who are using Entourage and FileMaker simultaneously, you may want to review the Entourage Manipulator plug-in which gives you the ability to transfer data between contacts, calendars, and tasks-not to mention the ability to push and pull e-mail. To find out more visit: Entourage Manipulator

YouTube Preview Image

Transcript

Hi, in this video we’re going to talk about Entourage 2008, create HTML e-mails with an HTML formatted signature.

There are three requirements to make this happen. First, you need to create a formatted signature. You do that under the tools menu. Second, you want to adjust account settings to include a signature on new e-mails. That’s done in the accounts area. And finally, you set e-mails to be a HTML formatted by default. That’s done under the preferences area.

Here we have Microsoft Entourage 2008. First we’ll click under tools and go to signatures. I’ve created a new signature here called “My Work Signature”.  If we take a closer look at that we can see we have John Smith at ABC company. And this toggles between HTML or plaint ext. I set it to HTML and even made the company name bold.

Second, under the Entourage menu, you want to click “account settings”. Make sure you’re at the options area and choose the default signature to be in this case “My Work Signature” (or whatever signature you have set up).. The default is typically “none. “So make sure you have that set to the signature you’ve just created.

And then finally, also under the entourage menu, you want to select preferences. Here you want to click the compose area and make sure that your mail format is set to HTML.

Now, let’s test it. File/new/mail message.  I’ve got a new mail message here and you can see it’s ready for HTML formatting. And “John Smith” (the signature) has been entered automatically.

Author: Categories: Software Tips Tags:

PCI Announces Windows 7 Compatibility

October 23rd, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Diego, CA – October 22, 2009 – Productive Computing, Inc., a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, is proud to announce the compatibility of our FileMaker Pro plug-ins and solutions with Windows 7. Please utilize the product links below to download the latest version.

List of Updated & Compatible Products:

Solutions:
Core2 CRM Solution v1.1.1.0: Multi-user, cross-platform CRM solution to centralize your data.
More Info

* Core² Invoices Solutionv1.0.0.8: An invoicing and payment module for FileMaker® Pro.
More Info

Outlook Automation Plug-ins:
* Outlook SendMail Plug-in v1.1.3.3: Send plain text or HTML formatted e-mails with multiple attachments.
Download Now

* Outlook Manipulator Plug-in v4.0.0.14: Exchanges data between FileMaker® Pro and Microsoft Outlook®.
Download Now

* Exchange Manipulator Plug-in v2.0.0.14: Exchanges data between FileMaker® Pro and Microsoft Exchange folders.
Download Now

QuickBooks Automation Plug-in:
* FM Books Connector Plug-in (for use with QuickBooks) v1.0.5.11: Exchanges data between QuickBooks® and FileMaker® Pro.
Download Now

Utility Plug-ins:
* Change Printer Plug-in v3.0.3.5: Automatically change printer drivers within your FileMaker scripts.
Download Now

* eSign Signature Capture Plug-in v1.0.3.0: Capture signatures and bind them to information stored in your database
Download Now

* File Manipulator Plug-in v2.0.3.1: Copy, rename, move or delete files and folders on local or networked drives.
Download Now

* PDF Manipulator Plug-in v2.0.4.1: Exchanges data between FileMaker® Pro and Adobe Acrobat.
Download Now

Should you have any questions regarding the information above please do not hesitate to post to our forum at www.productivecomputing.com/forum.

Follow all Productive Computing, Inc. product and service updates on:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ProdComp

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Marcos-CA/Productive-Computing-Inc/74665198532

About Productive Computing, Inc.:
Since 1996, Productive Computing, Inc. has been helping companies become more efficient and profitable by providing a solid foundation of indispensable software and support services. Contact us today and see how Productive Computing, Inc. can become your strategic partner for all your company’s technology needs.

Productive Computing, Inc. is one of only a few companies in the United States to have earned the highly respected and exclusive platinum level membership within the FileMaker Business Alliance.

Productive Computing, Inc.
950 Boardwalk, Suite 205
San Marcos, CA 92078
http://www.productivecomputing.com
info@productivecomputing.com
(760) 510-1200

Press Contacts:
Productive Computing, Inc.
Sally Schoonover
(760) 510-1200

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Author: Categories: FileMaker Plug-ins Tags:

PCI Announces Plug-in Compatibility for Snow Leopard

October 8th, 2009
San Diego, CA – October 8, 2009 – Productive Computing, Inc. a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, provided an update today regarding the compatibility of its FileMaker Pro Macintosh line of plug-ins with Snow Leopard Mac OS X 10.6.  Click on the links below to download the latest version.


Plug-ins Fully Compatible with Mac OS X 10.6:

Plug-ins Partially Compatible with Mac OS X 10.6:

  • Entourage Manipulator v2.0.0.9
    Known Issue: When sending Plain Text or Rich Text formatted e-mails, carriage returns are not preserved. All other functions in the Entourage Manipulator plug-in are compatible with Mac OS X 10.6. We are currently working on this issue and will announce full compatibility via our Twitter and FaceBook accounts below.

Follow all Productive Computing, Inc. product and service updates on:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ProdComp

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Marcos-CA/Productive-Computing-Inc/74665198532

About Productive Computing, Inc.
Since 1996, Productive Computing, Inc. (PCI) has been creating custom solutions to meet the specific needs of our customers as well as maintaining and modifying existing solutions. Our staff of certified FileMaker Pro developers has worked with hundreds of industries increasing productivity while giving our customers what they needed when they needed it.

Productive Computing, Inc. is one of only a few companies in the United States to have earned the highly respected and exclusive platinum level membership within the FileMaker Business Alliance.

Productive Computing, Inc.
950 Boardwalk, Suite 205
San Marcos, CA 92078
http://www.productivecomputing.com
info@productivecomputing.com
(760) 510-1200

Press Contacts:
Productive Computing, Inc.
Keith Larochelle
(760) 510-1200

Author: Categories: FileMaker Plug-ins Tags:

PCI Becomes an Apple Authorized Solution Provider

August 26th, 2009

Productive Computing, Inc. adds Apple Authorized Solution Provider to its Growing List of Certifications

San Diego, CA – August 25, 2009 – Productive Computing, Inc., a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, is proud to announce earning the Apple Authorized Solution Provider certification.

As an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP), Productive computing, Inc. is certified and authorized by Apple to perform upgrades, setup and installation, warranty repairs, and other value-added services for a wide range of Apple computer products.


“This latest distinction we have earned is the final piece to an otherwise complete portfolio of certified services we offer. Not only can we provide our customers with exceptional value by building extraordinary FileMaker Pro software solutions, but we can also service the complete array of networks, servers and workstations those solutions depend upon.” – CEO, Marc Larochelle. This is the latest certification Productive Computing, Inc. employees have earned along with FileMaker Pro developer certifications in FileMaker Pro versions 7, 8, 9 and 10 as well as certifications to service Microsoft Windows computer systems and networks.

About Productive Computing, Inc.

Since 1996, Productive Computing, Inc. has been helping companies become more efficient and profitable by providing a solid foundation of indispensable software and support services. From custom FileMaker Pro database development, consulting and products, to IT support, web site design and hosting services, Productive Computing, Inc. is your strategic partner for all your company.

Productive Computing, Inc. is one of only a few companies in the United States to have earned the highly respected and exclusive platinum level membership within the FileMaker Business Alliance.

Author: Categories: Information Technology Tags: