IN THIS CHAPTER
Linking to Outlook folders
Learning about the Outlook object model
Working with Outlook appointments
Working with Outlook tasks
Working with Outlook mail messages
Working with Outlook contacts
Outlook has a great interface for working with calendars, contacts, and tasks, as well as for sending email messages. But Outlook is a relative newcomer to Office (it was first introduced in Office 97), which means that if you have been using Access for longer than that, you probably have calendar, contact, or task data stored in Access tables in databases that were created many Office versions ago. (I have some that were originally created in Access 1.0!)
In the case of contact information, there is another reason that many users prefer storing data in Access: Access is a relational database, allowing you to set up one-to-many links between companies and contacts, contacts and phones, contacts and addresses, and so forth. Outlook, in contrast, isn't a relational database; it stores all of its data in a flat-file MAPI database. That's why you will see slots for three addresses on an Outlook contact, and a large (but finite) selection of Phone and ID slots. If you need to enter four addresses for a contact, you are out of luck. If you need to enter a type of phone number or ID that is not one of the available items, you can't do it.
But if you store your contact data in Access, you can create linked tables of addresses, phone numbers, and IDs, letting ...