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Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Susan Salgy

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Posted: 2 Jun 1999
 

So you've heard about GroupWise rules, but aside from the little sample one you created in training, you haven't really used them for anything. Maybe you think they're for other people: the kind who can successfully program their VCR to tape Seinfeld without any commercials. Maybe you think they are an unnecessary luxury, like a 3.8 liter engine with platinum-tipped plugs. Maybe you just (be honest) forgot about them altogether, and wonder, uneasily, what you've been doing the hard way that you could have been doing with rules.

Well, here's a perfect chance to get on the train. Here are four interesting problems you've sent in, all of which can be solved using Rules, Find, and other assorted power tools, in creative ways. They're fun, the way cooking a white chocolate mousse is fun. Which is to say, they're not quick and basic, but if you've got about an hour of uninterrupted time, this is a great adventure that will inspire envy in your co-workers. Best of all, you're in for a bountiful dose of satisfaction when you come to realize that Stuart Smalley was right. You really are good enough, after all. Try your hand at one or two of these and see for yourself.

One: Saving My Immortal E-mail
Michael O'R., M.D., Michigan, USA, wrote: I am a faculty anesthesiologist at the University of Michigan. I frequently want to save a copy of an e-mail message I am sending, for future reference. I can go to the Sent Items folder and move the message to the appropriate folder, but I bet there is an easier way to accomplish this. Thanks for your help.

Two: Creating a Common Team Mailbox
Rob G., USA, wrote: What would be the best way to handle setting up general Mailboxes in GroupWise? (For example, suppose I want to send a message to sales@groupwise.com to get the first available person in sales.) And how would individuals be notified that a new message has been sent to the general sales@groupwise.com Mailbox?

and

Chris S., Providence, Rhode Island, USA, wrote: I am a member of a technical team that encourages the e-mailing of problems. I want to be able to have e-mail sent to a group, but I want to be able to quickly know if someone else on the team has already responded and/or solved the problem. What do you think?

Three: Reading Your E-mail Without Letting People Know You're in Your Office
Sandy, California, USA, wrote: Most users (more than 5,000 users) in our county are pretty adult about using e-mail countywide. There are a few that use it as a tracking device. Once their e-mail is opened, they climb on the elevator and start trying to track down some of our management staff. Subsequently, members of the management staff would like to know if there is a way to not show information status when they open certain individual's e-mail (i.e. not notify the sender the recipient has opened e-mail and/or delete the information status page).

Four: Keeping Tabs on the Appointments You Send
Gwen A. in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, wrote: Can accept/decline replies (to schedule/meeting requests) go to the Mailbox of the person who initiated the request? Right now, we have to go into our Sent Items folders, then find and open the schedule request to see who has replied.

Keep reading for the solutions to all four problems, they're all pretty cool solutions that use rules.

One:  Saving My Immortal E-mail

Michael O'R., M.D., Michigan, USA, wrote: I am a faculty anesthesiologist at the University of Michigan. I frequently want to save a copy of an e-mail message I am sending, for future reference. I can go to the Sent Items folder and move the message to the appropriate folder, but I bet there is an easier way to accomplish this. Thanks for your help.

Yes, Dr. O'R., this is a complete piece of GroupWise cake. (And by the way, we think you have the coolest kind of specialty: people pay you to put them to sleep. Technical writers can relate.) All you have to do is make a folder for your immortal e-mail and a little rule that moves the mail into the folder upon your command and you're more than halfway home. Here's what you do:

First:  Create a folder.
1.  Click the Cabinet in your Folder List, click File, New, Folder.
2.  Type a name for the folder (perhaps Mail I have sent).
3.  Click Up, Down, Right, or Left to position the folder where you want it to appear in the Folder List. Click Next.
4.  Type a description for the folder, then click Finish.

Second:  Make a rule.
First you have to set up which events (like receiving a new mail message) will trigger your rule.
1.  Click Tools, Rules, New.
2.  Type a name in the Rule Name box (perhaps Putting my own messages in a folder).
3.  In the When Event Is pop-up list, click New Item.
4.  Click Sent next to And Items Are. You may need to click Received to deselect it.
5.  Click Mail under Item Types.

Now you have to target the specific kinds of new items you want to move to the folder.
1.  Click the Define Conditions button.
2.  Click From in the first drop-down list.
3.  Click Contains in the second pop-up list. Okay, it is not really the second pop-up list, it's the first one. Let's not get too technical; it's the second element, going left to right.
4.  Type your username in the third box (MichaelO, or whatever).
5.  In the fourth pop-up list, click And. (This will give you a new row to work with.)
6.  Click Bc in the first drop-down list of the second row.
7.  Click Contains in the second pop-up list.
8.  Type your username in the third box (MichaelO, or whatever).
9.  The fourth pop-up list in the second row should say End.

Here's what it should look like:

10.  Click OK.
Now you should see the new rule defined with these conditions: Act on items where (Item Type is Mail) and From contains "MichaelO." and Bc contains "MichaelO."
11.  Click Add Action, Move to Folder, click the check box next to the folder you created (Mail I have sent), then click Move. You may need to expand your Cabinet by clicking the plus sign (+) next to the Cabinet.
12.  Click Save.
Now you'll see the list of all the rules you've created, and this one will be last in line. If you want it to run before some of the other ones, just drag it up where you want it in the list.
13. Click the check box next to the newly created rule to enable it, then click Close.

What you do to make it work
From now on, whenever you send mail that you'd like to preserve for all time, address a Bc to yourself and the rule will take hold of it and move it into your folder. Cool, huh?

Two: Creating a Common Team Mailbox

Rob G., USA, wrote: What would be the best way to handle setting up general Mailboxes in GroupWise? (For example, suppose I want to send a message to sales@groupwise.com to get the first available person in sales.) And how would individuals be notified that a new message has been sent to the general sales@groupwise.com Mailbox?

and

Chris S., Providence, Rhode Island, USA, wrote: I am a member of a technical team that encourages the e-mailing of problems. I want to be able to have e-mail sent to a group, but I want to be able to quickly know if someone else on the team has already responded and/or solved the problem. What do you think?

You have come to the right place, both of you. Both of these problems can be solved through a creative use of folders. In fact, this is exactly the way we handle the letters you send in to Ask the Experts. It'll take some doing, but it is well worth the effort. Hang out your Do Not Disturb sign for the next half hour and follow along.

First: Create a new user named "XYZ" (Sales, Support, Staff, etc.).

What you're actually doing is creating a dummy user who will receive e-mail on behalf of your team. Admin Alert: This has to be done by the system administrator in GWAdmin. Tell your administrator to add your new user to the post office by editing the user object's GroupWise Account properties. Then he or she will need to edit the user object's Rights to Files and Directories properties. Have him or her also give you full rights to this Mailbox. This is what the system administrator needs to do:
1. Right-click the user object, click Details, GroupWise Account.
2.  Fill in the fields.
3.  Click Rights to Files and Directories.
4.  Assign directory rights. For more information about the rights necessary for post office subdirectories, see Grant Post Office Directory Rights in the GWAdmin Help file.

Second: Create a folder in XYZ's Mailbox.
1.  Click the Cabinet in the Folder List, click File, New, Folder.
2.  Type a name for the folder (Rob could call it Sales Inquiries; Chris could call it Technical Difficulties).
3.  Click Up, Down, Right, or Left to position the folder where you want it to appear in the Folder List, then click Next.
4.  Type a description for the folder, then click Finish.

Third: Create an XYZ Team personal group.
1.  Click the Address Book button on the toolbar. If the Address List is not visible, click the Address List button in the lower-right corner of the Address Book dialog box.
2.  Click To, CC, or BC then double-click the users and resources for your group.
3.  Click Save Group.
4.  Specify a name (try XYZ Team) and personal address book for the group, then click OK.

Fourth: Share the folder with members of the XYZ team.
1.  In the Main Window, right click the folder you want to share, then click Sharing.
2.  Click Shared With.
3.  In the Name box, type the name of the XYZ Personal Group. (This will automatically bring in the names of each member of that group.)
4.  When each team member's name appears in the box, click Add User to move them into the Share List. By the way, you'll get a warning messages that says that you can't share a folder with a group and asks you if you want to add the users to the Share List. Just click Yes.
5.  Click the access options you want for the user (give them Add, Edit, and Delete rights).
6. Type a Subject for the shared folder notification, type a message that will be sent to each user that you are sharing the folder with, then click OK.

Fifth: Create a rule that moves items received by XYZ into the shared folder.
First you have to specify the events (like receiving a new mail message) that will trigger your rule.
1.  Click Tools, Rules, New.
2.  Type a name in the Rule Name box (perhaps Putting messages in the Sales Inquiries folder).
3.  In the When Event Is pop-up list, click New Item.
4.  Click Received next to And Items Are. It may already be selected.
5.  Click Mail under Item types.

Now you have to target the specific kinds of new items you want to move to the folder.
1.  Click the Define Conditions button.
2.  Click To in the first drop-down list.
3.  Choose Contains in the second pop-up list. Again, don't get too technical. We mean the second element in the row, going left to right.
4.  Type the dummy user name (XYZ) in the third box.
5.  The fourth pop-up list should say End.

This is what it should look like:

6.  Click OK.

Now you have to tell it to move those targeted items to a folder.

1.  Click Add Actions, Move to Folder, click the check box next to the folder you created, then click Move.

Now you have to tell it to send a message to members of the team to let them know there is a new message in the folder.
1.  Click Add Actions, Send Mail.
2.  Type XYZ in the To: box (or the name of the personal group you created).
3. In the Subject box, type New mail in the XYZ Folder.
4. Click OK, Save, Close.

Once this is all set up, you've got to tell the team members what to expect and how they are supposed to work within the process. Here's how it works:

How do we know when there is new stuff in the XYZ Mailbox? When new messages arrive in the shared folder, a New Mail icon will appear next to the folder. The entire XYZ team will receive an automatic e-mail notifying them of new mail.

How do we handle the messages without trampling each other underfoot? You could set this up in a couple of ways so that people don't get confused about who is handling the problem.

One way: When someone on the team decides to own the problem, he or she drags it out of the shared folder and puts it in his or her own (unshared) work folder. This will keep multiple people from handling the same message. It also makes for a tidier shared folder, in which you only see the mail that still needs to be handled. The downside is that it is harder to manage the flow of messages and assignments and to track them through to completion.

Another way: If you'd rather keep all the mail in the single shared folder, you can keep track of ownership, progress, and completion by adding Discussion Threads. Here's how it works.

Make sure you have set the view of the shared folder to be Discussion Thread by doing this:
1.  Right-click the shared folder, then click Properties.
2.  Click the Display tab.
3.  Under View By, click Discussion Thread, OK.

In this system, whenever an XYZ team member decides to handle a problem, he or she replies to the message with a little note (called a discussion item) in which he or she claims it.  (Don't be confused by the term "Reply." This is not a reply to the person who sent the e-mail--this is a little note to the other XYZ team members that only they can see.)

The other XYZ teamsters see the reply and know the message is being handled. If they have input on the issue, they can add their own notes to the message or reply to the message with another reply. All you have to do to add discussion threads is:
1.  Right-click the message you want to discuss, then click Reply.
2.  Click Reply to Selected Subject, click OK.
3.  Type in a subject for your reply and your reply message.
4.  Click OK.

Once this is set up, you will be able to track and manage the requests that are e-mailed to you. You may want to require that all requests be e-mailed to the XYZ Mailbox (rather than allowing people to leave requests by phone, sticky notes, interoffice mail, or by ambushing team members in the hall). It'll make it easier to control the chaos and give your customers more reliable service.

Three: Reading Your E-mail Without Letting People Know You're in Your Office

Sandy, California, USA, wrote: Most users (more than 5,000 users) in our county are pretty adult about using e-mail countywide. There are a few that use it as a tracking device. Once their e-mail is opened, they climb on the elevator and start trying to track down some of our management staff. Subsequently, management staff would like to know if there is a way to not show information status when they open certain individuals' e-mail (i.e. not notify the sender the recipient has opened e-mail and/or delete the information status page).

This is a fine state of affairs, Sandy. You've got people who have figured out how to use GroupWise to leave a little trap (like a hair in the door) so they can see if someone is in his or her office. Very creative! Naturally this isn't so nice for the poor folks who are trying to hide out in their offices and get some work done without interruption. So, of course we had to come up with a solution. A cool one, too.

There are actually two ways to hide while you read your e-mail. The most sure way to do it is to have the administrator turn off status tracking for messages sent from a particular individual. This will only work if you are absolutely sure who is doing the tracking. Just give a list of the offending parties to your administrator and ask to have the Include User Statistics part of the MTA Message Log Settings changed. Now Sandy, this is a pretty harsh alternative. It actually handicaps those people by taking away all of their normal (non-entrapping) uses of the status reports. Think of this as cutting off their hands for shoplifting. They won't be shoplifting anymore, but their typing speed may suffer.

The more humane way to hide is based on the idea that once mail is forwarded, it isn't trackable. So for this solution, you're going to create a little cave for your mail to hide in, a sanctuary where you can read in transcendent, trackless, tranquillity. Twisted, huh? It's all done with rules, Sandy. Here's how:

First: Create a folder to be your hideout.
1.  Click the Cabinet in your Folder List, click File, New, Folder.
2.  Type a name for the folder (how 'bout Hiding Place).
3.  Click Up, Down, Right, or Left to position the folder where you want it to appear in the Folder List. Click Next.
4.  Type a description for the folder, then click Finish.

Second:  Create a rule that moves forwarded items to the Hiding Place folder.
1.  Click Tools, Rules, New.
2.  Type a name in the Rule Name box (like Moving to the hiding place).
3.  In the When Event Is pop-up list, click New Item.
4.  Click Received next to And Items Are.
5.  Under Item types, Click Mail, Appointment, Task, Note, and Phone Message (all of them).
6.  Next to Appointment Conflicts, click Does Not Matter.
7.  Click Add Action, Move to Folder, click the Hiding Place folder, of course, then click Move.
8.  Click Add Action again, then click Stop Rule Processing.
9.  Click Save, Close.

Third:  Now (here's the essential twisted part) create a rule that forwards your mail to--you.
1.  Click Tools, Rules, New.
2.  Type a name in the Rule Name box (like Forwarding my mail to me).
3.  In the When Event Is pop-up list, click New Item.
4.  Click Received next to And Items Are.
5.  Under Item types, click Mail and Phone Message. (Warning: don't forward your appointments, tasks, and notes to yourself, or you'll neuter them. Forwarded appointments can't be accepted, delegated, marked complete, or anything else besides being read. Of course, you'll have to remember not to open (or view) them while you're trying to hide or you'll blow your cover.)
6.  Next to Appointment Conflicts, click Does not matter.
7.  Click Add Action, Forward, type in your own username, then click OK.
8.  Click Save, Close.

NOTE: rules are executed in consecutive order, as they fall in the list. You must make sure the first rule in your rule list is the one called "Moving to the hiding place" and the second one is "Forwarding my mail to me." If you get those backwards, you'll get into a weird loop where your forwarded mail gets forwarded, and so on, and so on. Trust me when I say, not pretty.

From now on, when you've got the rule enabled, all mail and phone messages that someone sends you will automatically be forwarded to yourself and moved into your Hiding Place folder. Once they're in the folder, you can open them, delete them, and everything else, without your correspondent knowing about it.

Now be warned, this isn't foolproof. There are ways that have nothing to do with GroupWise by which a really determined person could figure out you are there, but we'll leave it to someone else to discover them. However, this would be a good first step to see if you can provide a little more privacy for your managers. If it doesn't work, you may have to resort to the hand amputation by telling your system administrator to disable their status tracking.

Okay now, Sandy, here's a bonus tip, because we want you to look good, and because both of these solutions seem to be missing the essential principle behind GroupWise: people work better when they are connected to information and to each other. This is, arguably, the central notion of our times, as evidenced by the phenomenal growth of networked (rather than stand-alone) computing, the dialogic quality of discourse on the Internet, the pager, the telephone. But more to the point, it's why we have e-mail, with attachments.

So before you embark on a project to disable a valuable feature of GroupWise (status tracking), consider this alternative tip. It sounds like what you really need is an Office Hours policy, in which the members of the management staff make themselves available to drop-in visitors during specific hours of the day. With that in place, they could legitimately close the door and get their individual work done during the non-office hours, without shutting people out completely.  If people are having to resort to GroupWise traps in order to secure an audience with a manager, it seems like there's something a tiny bit wrong with the communication flow in your office.

Sure, GroupWise can help you hide from those traps, but it can also help you open your door on your own terms. You could launch the new office-hours policy with an e-mail message to everyone and you could have the managers block out their time on their calendars so no one schedules them for anything during their Open Office Hours. You could even send out auto-dated notes each week reminding everyone that the managers are sitting there at the appointed time with the door open, just waiting for a visit. This is the coolest solution of all, if you can pull it off. Go ahead and try it for a month and see how it works. If you keep going the other way, we're betting the managers will find themselves under siege in their own offices, afraid to go to the rest room for fear the paparazzi will spot them in the hall and snap candid shots of their wingtips from beneath the door on their stall.

Four: Keeping Tabs on the Appointments You Send

Gwen A. in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, wrote: Can accept/decline replies (to schedule/meeting requests) go to the Mailbox of the person who initiated the request? Right now, we have to go into our Sent Items folder, find, and open the schedule request to see who has replied.

Good question, Gwen. There are actually two cool solutions you can choose between. One will give you update messages in your Mailbox when people do anything about the appointment you sent them. The other will put this information in a folder so you can review it at your convenience. (This is probably most useful if you schedule a lot of meetings.) We'll lay 'em both out and let you choose.

Update Messages: This is a really easy way to make sure you always know who accepted or declined your appointment, right from the comfort of your own Mailbox. Actually, you can ask to know all kinds of things. GroupWise will let you know when someone opens or deletes your message. It'll tell you when someone completes a task you sent them. But more to the point, it will do exactly what you asked: it'll tell you when someone declines or accepts the appointments you schedule. Here's how it works:
1.  Click Tools, Options, then double-click Send.
2.  Click the Appointment tab.
3.  Under Return Notification, click the None buttons and specify how you'd like to be notified when an appointment is opened, declined, or accepted. You can choose between None (what you're getting now), a mail message, a notify message, or mail and notify together.

Info Folder:  This is a lot more work to set up, but it is undeniably cool once it's in place. (This is one of those things that will inspire Folder Envy. Once you've got it, flaunt it. Your personal stock will skyrocket.) If you're feeling adventuresome, grab a Big Gulp, hang out your Do Not Disturb sign, and jump in...

First: Set up the Find parameters.
1.  Click Tools, Find.
2.  Click the Advanced Find button.

You're about to create a four-row Find that looks like this:

Here's the recipe for the four different rows.

Row 1
1.
  Click Item Source for the first box.
2.  Click =.
3.  Click Sent.
4.  Click the End button and Click And (this will give you a new row to work with).

Row 2
1.
  On the new row, click Item Type for the first box.
2.  Click =.
3.  Click Appointment.
4.  Click the End button and click And again (yep--another new row).

Row 3
1. 
On the next new row, click Due/End Date for the first box. (Don't worry if you can't see Due/End Date on your short list of optional Field names. The truth is, there is a huge master list of Field names to choose from, and your little list just offers the ones you've already used, or the most popular ones. Click All Fields to open the master list.
2.  Click On or After (>=).
3.  Click the down arrow until the number reads -1 (meaning yesterday).
4.  Click Today in the fourth box.
5.  Click the End button and choose And (this is the last new row. Hang in there...).

Row 4
1.
  On the new row, click Due/End Date for the first field. (If you did this right on Row 3, it has magically become part of your short list, and you won't have to go trolling through All Fields anymore. Unless you want to.)
2.  Click On or Before (<=).
3.  Click the up arrow until the number reads 10 (meaning ten days after today).
4.  Click Today in the fourth box.
5.  End will be showing on the button. Leave it there. Click OK.

Second: Take the formula for a test drive.

This is what you should be looking at:

Picture

1.  Click the Look In tab, click the check box next to All Libraries to deselect it. This will speed your search.
2.  In the Find dialog, Click OK.

This will begin the search, so you can try out your formula. If it doesn't show you enough days, go back in and add a few to both ends of the search window. This is probably going to take a few minutes. Gulp your Big Gulp; stand up; stretch. Whatever you do, don't close anything yet. You've still got to play around with the columns so they'll tell you everything you want to know about those appointments. Ready? Onward...

Third: Modify the columns.
1.  When the search is finished, drag all of the column headers off the page except for "Name," "Subject," and "Date." (Just grab 'em with the little hand and pull 'em to the right until they disappear.)
2.  Right-click in the column header area (that space that you just cleared away), then click More Columns.
3.  Add the following columns: (just click them one at a time, then click the Add button).
Recipients# (tells you how many people received the appointment)
Opened# (tells you how many people have opened it)
Accepted# (tells you how many people have accepted your appointment)
Deleted# (tells you how many have deleted or declined it)
4.  Click OK.

You're now looking at the GroupWise Find Results, complete with all your newly added columns. It should look like this:

Picture

Finally: Save the Find Results as a folder.
1.  Click File, Save as Folder.
2.  Name the folder (something like Appointments I have sent).
3.  Position the folder where you want it to appear in your cabinet by tweaking it with the Down and Up and Left and Right buttons.
4.  Click Next.
5.  Write a description of the folder, then make sure the box labeled Find New Matching Items Each Time the Folder is Opened is checked. (This will make sure you get fresh, updated data every time you open the folder.)
6.  Click Finish.
7.  Close the GroupWise Find Results dialog and finish your drink. (You did it. You can now count yourself among the elite one percent of GroupWise users who know how to create a Find Results Folder.)

From now on, whenever you are wondering how many people have accepted (or declined) your appointments, open the folder and see for yourself. If you do a lot of scheduling, this will allow you to keep an eye on how your meetings are shaping up, without making you go on a treasure hunt through your Sent Items folder. It will also allow you to adjust things dynamically if, say, you accidentally scheduled a department meeting during the NBA Finals, and no one wants to come. Bear in mind, this won't tell you who declined, it'll just tell you how many people refused your appointment. To find out who, you'll still need to go into that appointment's Properties and see who had the gall.

One last thing. Brace yourself for an odd side-effect, Gwen. It is strangely disheartening when someone declines an appointment you sent. And with this kind of instant notification, it's even worse, since the rejection insinuates itself into your Mailbox when you least expect it. We suggest you always do a Busy Search before you schedule anything. Don't set yourself up for failure. And try to remember: they are rejecting your appointment; they aren't rejecting you.


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