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Displaying fields in Outlook via the web and FileMaker

Posted on 2004-10-15
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Is it possible in FileMaker (via the web) and Outlook to create a a form with about 15 fields and a "mail to" link that will open up MS Outlook (once the mail to link is clicked) with those same 15 fields of information displayed on an email?
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Question by:shuittny
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billmercer earned 500 total points
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Yes, this fairly straightforward. Basically, you'll need to construct the mailto: link something like this:
<a href="mailto:barbecue@afn.org?&Subject=MESSAGE%20SUBJECT&Body=FIELD1%0DFIELD2%0DFIELD3%0D">Send Mail</a>

Remember that you can't have whitespace or certain other symbols in a URL, so you have to encode any whitespace characters. Use %20 instead of a space character, and %0D when you want a return.

The hardest part of this whole process is probably URL encoding the string. You can use the replace function to replace certain characters with their encoded equivalents, or I believe there's also a third party plugin that does URL encoding for you.  

The ? character separates the arguments for the mailto link. Whatever text follows the ?Subject= piece goes into the message subject, and whatever follows the ?Body= is placed in the main message text.
You can also add ?CC= and ?BC= elements if you want copies of the email sent to others.

To do this in FileMaker, you'll probably want to use a series of calculated fields or scripts to combine the values together. Assuming you have a field called URL, one called emailaddr, one called Subjectfield, and three data fields called field1, field2, and field3. URL encode all the text in the fields, then do something like this:
URL = "mailto:" & emailaddr & "?Subject=" & subjectfield & "?Body="& field1 & "%0D" & field2 & "%0D" & field3

I suggest building the URL string up in stages, rather than trying to do it all in one big long calculation, because it's easier to debug that way if you make a mistake.  

Things to be aware of:
- A mailto link will use whatever the default email client is on the computer, which might not be Outlook if you don't have control of the end users. Most popular mail clients should work with these URLs, but YMMV.
- The link itself could get extremely long, depending on your field sizes.
- In addition to whitespace, there are other characters that can't be used in URLs, so if any of your fields could contain any of them, they should be encoded. For example, the ? character is reserved, so you'd need to replace it with
Here's a link to a reference on URL encoding.
http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_ref_urlencode.asp
 
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by:billmercer
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Oops, I meant to say you'll need to replace the ? character with %3F.
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