Href hyperlink - can it be done?

  farnaby 10:18 07 Jan 2003
  farnaby 10:18 07 Jan 2003

On my Intranet site I would like to create a hyperlink which will either create a new Task Request in Outlook '97, or point to specifically to an Outlook template (a Helpdesk template) which I have created, using something similar to the href hyperlink? i.e.
a href="mailto:[email protected]">Mail /a>

Does anyone know how such a specific link can be created? I wish to create a simple Helpdesk e-mail facility using Outlook97 for my users to record their requests to me by e-mail, rather than using the phone to contact me.
Expensive Helpdesk software would be a little over-the-top for managing a 70 user network.

  farnaby 17:46 08 Jan 2003


  Taran 18:02 08 Jan 2003

Have you set up the custom template as a form ?

There are a lot of ways to do what I think you are driving at, but possibly the easiest is to create a custom template form, save it as an Outlook Template File (.oft) then set up whichever interaction is your preference in terms of how you want to link to it.

There's loads of info on this since it is such a widely used method of using Outlook.

click here

click here

click here

or run a search in Google for hyperlinking to outlook. you'll get more info than you know what to do with.

You can also make your own webpage (along the lines of a visitor feedback form) where users may fill in the relevant details, then it is up to you how and where this information will be delivered. You could gather it to an inbox, append it to a webpage log, append it to a database and so on.

  Taran 18:04 08 Jan 2003

Sorry about that.

I hit the "Post response" button before I had finished.

I was going to add that if you supply a little more detail of the nuts and bolts of your intentions, coupled with the intended target audience I may be able to suggest something more appropriate.



  farnaby 11:39 09 Jan 2003

I was definitely too specific in my search criteria (using "outlook

97") - consequently the search engine search results were minimal on

the information which I was searching for. Your "click here" links

proved very helpful to me ..
I must confess I am not a programmer by any stretch of the imagination,

and consequently I have been scratching around for ideas.
I want to enable my users to mail a task (it could be

hardware/application software assistance) for my attention (using say,

a standardised "HelpDesk" template in Outlook). These tasks could

automatically be logged on a centralised list also, which I could then

evaluate according to a priority criteria.
I would like at the same time to compile a Helpdesk intranet site which

would publish a step-by-step guide for my users with solutions for some

of the common reocurring problems (which will, as in the case of

"FAQs", be compiled in response to the frequency of a request recorded

in the task log), and which involves a needless of my time in fixing.
My ultimate aim is to wean all my users from telephoning me directly

out of habit, and to look first for possible solutions on the HelpDesk

intranet site - failing which, they can then post me a "call" by

hyperlink from the intranet site. Thus the original question whether I

could "hyperlink" to a specific outlook template from the Intranet site

.. Any other ideas which may be more appropriate to contemplate, would be most appreciated :o)
BTW - I have a Windows NT4 network, with Exchange 5.5, and Windows

95/98 clients.

  farnaby 10:57 10 Jan 2003

Thanks to Taran's assistance, my original question is answered. However, there may still be some subsequent ideas to be shared? - which will always be most welcome Regards

  Taran 17:52 10 Jan 2003

My apologies for the delay in getting back to you; I’ve been a tad busy to say the least.

Having given some thought to your requirements I have come up with a variety of solutions that may or may not be appropriate to your needs. One of my favourites, that I touched upon initially and that I have implemented several times personally, is to use a web page submission form that delivers the contents to the destination of your choice; Inbox, database, spreadsheet or whatever. The fields of the form may be set to contain whatever you like and you can include features for allowing attachments to be sent with the more obvious requirements. This has certain advantages in that you may set parameters in terms of where the form returns go (I usually prefer to set up a dedicated Help request email address if the destination is an email client with an audible or visual indicator to alert of the messages presence), how they get their, which format you want them to be delivered in (perhaps you might need them in a usable format for more than one software application) and so on.

Your questions and resulting solutions may then be compiled from such a setup into a series of searchable pages. You can manually set up a series of drill down hyperlinks subdivided by category – sort of like a hyperlink tree – or Microsoft FrontPage, if you have it, features an excellent facility for generating wizard produced sites or parts of a site that have as part of their makeup a search facility. You have to have the FrontPage extensions installed serverside for it all to work, but it has to be one of the quickest and easiest ways I know of to generate a searchable site or series of pages.

This method also has other advantages in terms of putting a Help link at every workstation users fingertips as part of their favourites (again allowing the link to be live from within Outlook in the favourites folder) and also being an integrated and dedicated part of the intranet site.

There are lots of other possibilities, but this is one of my favourite methods and it works very well. There are also sevral ways of playing with Outlook templates and linking to them if you are set on that solution. It can very much depend on how you think and what your input and expected outputs will be when deciding on an appropriate solution.

If it isn’t suitable or you do not have either the necessary software or experience, there are other possible alternatives. Post back if you’re still struggling with things a bit.



  farnaby 17:33 13 Jan 2003

Thank you Taran for your considerable input, which I am most grateful for.
A web-based Help Desk certainly does look the more interesting solution, and best of all, one can obtain free helpdesk software goto click here
However, I am not sure how easily customiseable this particular software is - (especially as I am not a "developer" as such i.e. if I wanted to add say a new field, or change the layout etc.) Gleaning a few messages from the developer's forum, it appears to use something called ASP (Active Server Pages)?
I guess the only way to test this out, would be to download and install it?
A casual search on the Net for web-based Help Desk applications reveals a large number of software companies plying their products - too numerous really to know where to begin!
Can any readers recommend any web-based Help Desk applications (relatively inexpensive and easy to customise) which comes with a searchable knowledge base?
I don't want to pretend to try to "re-invent the wheel", when some very knowledgeable people have created something like this already!

  jazzypop 17:43 13 Jan 2003

You may well be able to implement a technologically dazzling solution - but unless you physically disconnect your phone, I suspect that it will gather dust.

I am certainly not trying to dampen your obvious enthusiasm, nor decry Taran's considerable advice - just reminding you that you are relying on people to put a little amount of effort into a self-help scheme (work through an FAQ), rather than make the problem your responsibility (oh well, I called Support - it's their problem now).

We tried what you said - the only person who uses the system is the person in IT Support who is paid to answer the phone calls and field all the 'easy' calls using the FAQs.

I wish you well :)

  farnaby 08:49 14 Jan 2003

Thank you for your comments - and yes, your insight into human nature is well taken :o)
I have been seriously contemplating the prospects of "disconnecting" my phone (and have been granted permission to do so). This is in order that users in future log all their calls via a HelpDesk app. Yet at the same time, I need to balance the practicalities of this with the desire to still continue to be approachable (sigh, this is the area where I acquire my greatest sense of job satisfaction). However, the increasing demands of the network require me to look to a more regimented system of working for my users, where my attention can be concentrated on more important matters of planning and implementation of IT strategy for the company.

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