Creating a Public Journal for Outlook

Last reviewed on May 7, 2014

Note that beginning with Microsoft Outlook 2010, the journal is deprecated and may be removed from future versions. As a result, some features of the Activities tab are broken, specifically searching for journaled items. To find these items, you need to search the journal for associated content. For more information, see Outlook 2010 & Contact Activities

The Social Connector (available as an add-in in Outlook 2007) adds “activities” to the bottom of messages and contacts, in the form of the People pane. It does not include Journaled items, but does include email, attachments, and appointments.


A major shortcoming in Microsoft Outlook + Microsoft Exchange Server is the lack of an obvious method for creating publicly accessible journal entries for contact records kept in a public folder. Below you’ll find an explanation of the problem and some possible approaches developed by the Exchange/Outlook community.

Outlook/Exchange presents three obstacles to creating a public journal:

  1. Automatic journaling takes place only for contacts in your mailbox Contacts folder.
  2. When you manually create a journal entry for a public folder contact, the journal item goes into the Journal folder in your mailbox, not into a public Journal folder.
  3. When you view the Journal tab on a Contact record, it shows only items in the Journal folder in your mailbox. In Outlook 97 and Outlook 98, you cannot view Journal entries in a public folder through a Contact, only by directly opening that folder. You can, of course, group or filter the items by Contact to make it a useful view.

Keep these issues in mind as you review the possible solutions.

The Problem | Manual entries | Tools | Hollis D. Paul’s method | Outlook 2000 and 2002 | More Information

Manual entries

Here’s a not very flashy, but useful workaround to problem #2 — a method to create entries in a public Journal folder by hand:

  1. Open the contact you want to create a journal entry for.
  2. Switch to the Journaltab.
  3. Click New Journal Entry.
  4. In the journal entry created for the contact, fill in the details.
  5. Don’t click Save and Close! (Using Save and Close will put the journal entry into the Journal folder in your mailbox.) Instead, choose File | Copy to Folder, and select the public Journal folder. Then, close the original item, clicking No when you’re asked whether you want to save changes.

From any kind of Outlook item, you can also use the Contacts button to pick a contact from a public folder and link it to the current item, as described at How to Set Up Public Journaling for Public Folder Contacts.

Another approach would be to periodically run code, similar to the following, to move all Journal entries from the mailbox Journal folder to a Public Folders/All Public Folders/Corporate Journal folder (thanks toAndrew Pike on the microsoft.public.outlook.program_vba newsgroup:

Set myOlApp = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")
Set myNamespace = myOlApp.GetNamespace("MAPI")
Set myFolder = myNamespace.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderJournal)
Set myFolder2Parent = myNamespace.Folders("Public Folders")
Set myFolder2Parent = myFolder2Parent.Folders("All Public Folders")
Set myFolder2 = myFolder2Parent.Folders("Corporate Journal")
Set myJournalItems = myFolder.Items

For Each myitem2copy In myJournalItems
    If myitem2copy.Sensitivity = 0 Then
        Set myCopiedItem = myitem2copy.Copy
        myCopiedItem.Move myFolder2
        myitem2copy.Delete
    End If
Next

This code is for Outlook 2000 VBA, but could easily be adapted to VBScript to run from an Outlook form in earlier versions.

Tools

Contact Communications Logging

Click on a contact and instantly see all emails sent between them and everyone in your company. A more powerful version of Outlook's Journaling feature that works with multiple users and public folders.

Hollis D. Paul’s method

Reorganize the way mail flows in your organization so that a shared mailbox is the primary delivery location, with private messages being sent to secondary mailboxes. See Viewing Journal Items for MVP Hollis D. Paul’s description of how this might work.

Outlook 2000 to 2007

Beginning with Outlook 2000, Microsoft Outlook introduced two new features that might make it possible to create a workable public Journal folder:

  • The ability to substitute a custom form for any default form
  • The new, customizable Activities page on the Journal form

The customizable form potentially takes care of problems #1 and 2. You create a custom form that saves to a public folder instead of — or in addition to — the user’s mailbox Journal folder. See Save in Target Folder Sample Forms for a sample. Then you use the Outlook Forms Administrator to make Outlook use the custom form instead of the normal Journal form. (Watch out: If you use the Ctrl+Shift+J shortcut to create journal items, the code on a custom substituted form won’t run consistently.)

The Activities page finally provides at least a limited solution to #3. On the properties for a public Contacts folder, you can set a new activity group consisting of your public Journal folder. This will allow you to view the public contacts’ activities that have been logged in the public Journal folder. Note, though, Activities groups can contain multiple folders only when all the folders are in the same Exchange mailbox or Outlook Personal Folders .pst file. You cannot, for example, set up an activities group that includes the mailbox Journal folders for several users.

On the other hand, you can set up an activities group that includes a single folder from just one user mailbox. However, users will only see data if they can see that folder in their Outlook folder list hierarchy (in other words, if they have added it to the Exchange Server service in their profile). If they can access the folder only with the File | Open | Other User’s Folder command, they will not be able to access it through an activity group.

More Information

Written by

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 Outlookforums.

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