How to Set a Custom Form as the Default for a Folder

Last reviewed on December 30, 2013   —  27 comments

You can easily change the default form used for new items for any folder type except Mail folders.

  1. Contact forms propertiesRight click on the folder name and choose Properties.
  2. Then select the new form from the General Tab, When posting to this folder use: field.
  3. Select the form you want to use.

If the form is published to the current folder, it will be listed in the dropdown; otherwise, you’ll need to select Forms… then browse to find it.

Once you do this, when you click the New button or otherwise create a new item of that item type, Outlook will use the form you selected.

Note that you cannot change the default form used for email.

More Information

To convert existing items to use the new form, use DocMessageClass or the macro at Set Existing Contacts to use Custom Form using VBA

Note that you can’t apply a new form to change the business card on existing contacts. See Changing Microsoft Outlook’s Business Card layout for more information.

About Diane Poremsky

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlook forums by

27 responses to “How to Set a Custom Form as the Default for a Folder”

  1. David McGee

    My custom form is set as my default but I cannot use it. When I try to add a new contact, I get the following message - "The form required to view this message is not available. Contact your administrator." It worked fine until I started using using iCloud.

    The new iCloud folder uses the custom view I setup to view my contacts. I can add columns in the view with the custom fields from my form.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      You are viewing the contact that was moved to the icloud? Icloud doesn't support custom forms or custom fields. I'll see if i can figure out a repro so I can understand why its giving you that error as icloud removes my custom fields and the form.

  2. Jim May

    I have created a new contact form and wish to make it the default form to use with several contacts sub-folders. The new form is currently setup as the default for the Contacts folder, but not for the sub-folders to Contacts. The problem is when I click on the sub-folder > properties I do not have the option to choose or enter the new default form name in the "When using this folder, use _________" field.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Do you know where it's published? If it's in the personal forms library, you can select forms then browse to find it. Otherwise, you need to publish it either to personal forms or the subfolder.

  3. Tomas Jankowski

    I was able to change the default form for Contacts folder to user defined. The problem is that each time I pick up an entry from GAL and I choose 'add to contacts' - Outlook will use the default MS form, instead of user defined. Thus I can't force it to pick up certrain non-standard fields from AD and make them appear in locally stored copy of contact details for particular person. I tried in particular to change the default 'home phone' to 'business phone 2'.
    It works fine for direct entry to Contacts folder, once default form has been customized. When using GAL though, 'home phone' is still there instead of 'business phone 2'.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Is business phone 2 field saved when you save to contacts? If not, you'd need to use another method (like VBA) to get that from the AD. If it is saved with the contact, you'll need to change the message class after it's saved. See macro to change message class for a macro that will change the message class on all items in a folder.

      If it's something you need to do often, you can turn it into an itemadd macro.

  4. Wayne

    Hi Diane
    I have quite a few public folder calendars that I need to migrate to resource rooms.
    For each of my public folder calendars I designed a custom form, published the forms to my organizational library, then assigned each form to its corresponding calendar. When any user in the domain added a calendar item it always used the form I designed and all was good.
    Can you tell me how I can get all my users to see these same forms when adding an item to a resource room calendar??
    I logged into the mailbox with the resource room account and set the calendar to use my custom form(TC5500) and added an item and the form shows all my customizations. When I open the calendar in my outlook from the room list, the properties show TC5500 when posting to this folder, however my customizations are not there
    Any ideas???

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Custom forms published to the folder will only work if they open the resource calendar and then create the meeting. If they create the meeting in their own calendar and invite the resource, their form is used. I'll have to test it with a resource mailbox... it should work the same as in public folders as long as everyone has permission to the forms.

    2. Diane Poremsky

      Oh, and one more thing - if this is with outlook 2013, there is some goofiness with custom forms in shared calendars. The forms seem to come and go - they might be visible one time, not the next. The fields and values are listed in All fields. It might help to change your cache setting for shared folders.

  5. Marjolein

    Hi Diane, thank you for your very helpful tips that I have used often. I have a very simple (stupid) question about the above explanation: what comes BEFORe the first step you describe above ("Right click on the folder name and choose Properties')? In other words: where do I find this Folder that I have to right click on? Am I IN the Calendar already? Thanks from a sunny Amsterdam. Outlook 2010.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      It's the folder you want to set the custom form to be the default for... if you create a custom appointment form and want to use it as the default, you right click on the calendar folder. You'll either need to be in the Calendar module or the Folder list. If it's a contact form, you'll right click on the Contact folder...

  6. Andrew

    Hi Diane, I second what others have said, your posts have been amazingly helpful so thank you. I created an account as per your article Now, I want to use a custom form as the default for a new calendar item, but the option to browse in Forms is greyed out. Suggestions?

    1. Diane Poremsky EAS doesn't support custom forms. I'll take a look and see if there is some way around it, but even if there is, it will only be available "on this computer".

    2. Andrew

      Thanks. Availability only on this computer is not a problem as it is the only one I use.

    3. Diane Poremsky

      Are you using Outlook 2013 or 2010/under?

    4. Andrew

      I'm using OL 2013 64-bit version.

  7. Ben

    Thanks for the great tutorials, Diane. I have a Meeting Request template/form created with some tables and images/colors. I have set this form to be the default for the calendar as you instructed, and it seems to be working, except that the invite displays as plaintext (no images/tables).

    Any ideas on how to fix this?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      What type of email account? I know and iCloud will use plain text format.

    2. Ben

      I am using Outlook 2007 on an Exchange server. The form works perfect when I do Choose Form, but when select my new default, it is plaintext. I have the "Read all Standard mail in Plain Text" settings unchecked/off.

    3. Diane Poremsky

      I think it's loading the default form. I get the correct form using the New Appointment and New Meeting buttons on the Outlook 2013 ribbon, but when i use a different shortcut, it's the default form. I'll check it on outlook 2007, but the behavior should be the same.

    4. Diane Poremsky

      I can't repro on Outlook 2007.

    5. Ben


      I am seeing the modified form I created come up when I select New Meeting Request, but it is just text. No images, no colors, no tables.

    6. Ben

      And even stranger, if i send the meeting invite (looking Plaintext), and then open up the meeting from the Calendar, the full template loads, pictures and all. However, the text that is written before sending is not there. I am trying to have a template with tables for an Agenda.

      Seems like someone had a similar issue, no fix offered there either.

  8. Andrew

    Diane, I sync OL 2013 with Google Calendar etc. Is there any way to insure that a user-created Calendar form is used when an appointment created in Google Calendar is synced to OL?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      If the form is set as default for the folder and its not used, then no, you can't. You could use a macro to change the form after syncing or to check the form when opening and change it if necessary.
      Code samples are here:

  9. Andrés

    I have a doubt, I customee a form and i set it as default but this folder is shared and my collegues cannot see the same form, how can I fix it?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      When you publish a form to a folder then share the folder, the people you share it with need to have the form published in the personal forms or it needs to be in the organizational forms library.

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