Seeking a tool that will allow printing of Outlook rules

S Connelly
S Connelly used Ask the Experts™
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I am looking for a tool that will allow me to print (or better yet, save to text) a copy of rules from Outlook (or the exported .rwz file).

I need a hard copy (human readable) for many reasons, including disaster recovery and management verification.

I searched Google without success, it almost seems as though such a tool doesn't exist. Please prove me wrong. :-)

Alternatively, I will write such a tool if someone can hint to me the secrets of the .rwz file.

Thank you.
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Hi - I'm not aware of a way to print Outlook rules, and did a web search to confirm my suspicions.  
I found an old post that said it can't be done.  It was posted by an Outlook MVP, although it is an older posting.  
http://www.eggheadcafe.com/forumarchives/outlookgeneral/Sep2005/post24290950.asp
There are lots of Rules Tools in this link:
http://www.slipstick.com/addins/auto.asp
And more good Rules Info here:
http://www.slipstick.com/rules/
I'll keep looking and will let you know if I find a way.
Rob
S ConnellyTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
Hi Rob, thanks for you effort, thus far.

>I found an old post that said it can't be done.

Yes, I found that message as well from a MVP (no less).. What a ridiculous message. Perhaps no one has bothered to build the tool but certainly it is not impossible. I just surprised that no one has done it yet. Doesn't anyone have complex rules that need to be read by managers or otherwise...?

I had a similar situation when I wanted to print out the settings of my Exchange Server 5.5, all the 'experts' said it was impossible! So I wrote the darn tool myself.

I don't have a lot of spare time now, so I am hoping someone else has already created a rules printing tool.
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Hi, sconnell.

What version of Outlook are you using?
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S ConnellyTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
Hi, Outlook 2003 and 2007.

I am mostly interested in converting the .rwz file into a human readable format or, at least, information that will help me do this myself.

Thanks
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Outlook 2003 does not have a programming interface to rules.  There's no way I know of to print rules in 2003 and earlier versions of Outlook other than screen printing the dialog-box.  Microsoft introduced a programming interface for rules in Outlook 2007.  A script could read each rule in 2007 and convert it into human readable format.
S ConnellyTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
Thank you.... but that still doesn't help for Outlook 2003. There must be a way to decode the .rwz file directly. I know that Outlook 2003 .rwz can be read by Outlook 2007...but still it is inconvenient because the two systems are not near each other.

I am rather surprised that know one else in the world needs something like this.

But that's again, I will looking into the scripting language... not very knowledgeable with it but it is kind of VB like so it should be relatively easy to understand.
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
I understand.  I wish I could help with 2003.  Unfortunately the interface simply isn't there.  I can help with 2007.  

Out of curiosity what's the value in having the rules in readable format?
S ConnellyTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
>Out of curiosity what's the value in having the rules in readable format?

I am really surprised that you (or anyone) would ask? Is my situation that unique?

Here is a typical senario:

- There are multiple and complex server-side rules set up on each of several mail boxes. Manager wants a to verify the rules with the other managers. What's the manager to do, all huddle around a computer monitor, while a tech clicks through each rule... and once a mailbox review has completed, log out of outlook, restart it for the next mailbox. Seems rather silly and awkward.

The most logical way to present and review the rules (in a meeting of 12 managers) is on a screen or printout, important areas highlighted in color... and perhaps accompanied by a flowchart.

Furthermore, this would be a great disaster recovery tool. In the event of some future disaster, there is no guarantee that the backed up rwz files will work nor even be compatible with some future version of Outlook (or whatever might replace it). A printout in our disaster recovery manual will ensure quick(er) continuity of business. Currently, our disaster recovery manual includes a very old text copy of the rules (very obsolete).

Transcribing the rules is ridiculous and error prone. Screen printouts will work, however, even with Gadwin Printscreen (which is the most amazing and free screen printing tool in the world BTW), it will still take an hour and a nearly a hundred screen captures to get all the rules.

I am really in that unique a position? ... never mind the managers stuff... what about for disaster recovery purposes? Perhaps no one else is using service-side rules in a [almost] mission critical way?
Wow, I feel so lonely....
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
"Is my situation that unique?"

I guess it is.  That aside, I think your reasoning is perfectly logical.  I've not seen rules, server side or client side, used in a mission critical way.  From my experience rules are used solely by power users to help organize their mailboxes, act on messages, etc.  Can you share an example of a mission critical rule?

Side note: My office uses Gadwin too and I quite agree that it's amazing.
S ConnellyTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
Thanks everyone for your efforts.


Unfortunately, I never received the answer I was looking for, :-(

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