• Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 1200
  • Last Modified:

How can I get VB .NET to open and activate OUTLOOK.EXE?

Hi,
I am currently creating a small application to display the contents of a user's inbox in Outlook. Double clicking the only window should open and activate Outlook.

All is working as expected when Outlook is actually open but if I close it or minimise it (despite the process still running in the background), I can't seen to get my application to make Outlook visible and make it the active window.

This code only works when Outlook is currently visible and behind other windows:

Declare Auto Function SetForegroundWindow Lib "USER32.DLL" _
        (ByVal hWnd As IntPtr) As Boolean

Declare Function SetActiveWindow Lib "USER32.DLL" (ByVal hwnd As Long) As Long


Dim Outlook() As Process = Process.GetProcessesByName("Outlook")

        If Outlook.Length > 0 Then
            SetActiveWindow(Outlook(0).MainWindowHandle)
            SetForegroundWindow(Outlook(0).MainWindowHandle)
            Return True
        Else
            Return False
        End If

I would appreciate help getting my form to open/activate Outlook in any circumstance.

Thanks.
0
milesryoung
Asked:
milesryoung
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • +1
1 Solution
 
dqmqCommented:
VB is not my specialty, but can't you just use the shell() function:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/xe736fyk(VS.71).aspx
0
 
ladarlingCommented:
The Shell function is not .NET managed, use Process.Start:
System.Diagnostics.Process.Start("Outlook.exe")
 
0
 
ladarlingCommented:
If your application needs to 'own' that instance of outlook, you may want to declare it as a Process object in your app so that you can manipulate it for the eintire lifecycle of the outlook window:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.diagnostics.process.aspx
 
0
Never miss a deadline with monday.com

The revolutionary project management tool is here!   Plan visually with a single glance and make sure your projects get done.

 
Mike TomlinsonMiddle School Assistant TeacherCommented:
Try something like this:

    FocusApp("Outlook")

Using this code:
    Private Const SW_SHOWNORMAL As Integer = 1

    Private Declare Function IsIconic Lib "user32" (ByVal handle As Integer) As Integer
    Private Declare Function ShowWindow Lib "user32" (ByVal handle As IntPtr, ByVal nCmdShow As Integer) As Integer
    Private Declare Function SetForegroundWindow Lib "user32" (ByVal handle As IntPtr) As Integer

    Private Sub FocusApp(ByVal ExeName As String)
        Dim processes() As Process = Process.GetProcessesByName(ExeName)
        If processes.Length = 0 Then
            Process.Start(ExeName)
        Else
            ' Restore the window if it is minimized...
            If IsIconic(processes(0).MainWindowHandle) <> 0 Then
                ShowWindow(processes(0).MainWindowHandle, SW_SHOWNORMAL)
            End If

            ' Make it the foreground window...
            SetForegroundWindow(processes(0).MainWindowHandle)
        End If
    End Sub

Open in new window

0
 
ladarlingCommented:
@Idle: I wonder why they dont have a managed SetForeground method for the Process class? They obviously anticipated people wanting to interact with the app main window, why not add methods to do what we are trying to do. Cross-app communication hasnt really evolved much since the DDE concept, its kinda lame.
0
 
Mike TomlinsonMiddle School Assistant TeacherCommented:
I agree...they only went halfway with the legacy AppActivate() function:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dyz95fhy(VS.80).aspx

    "The AppActivate function changes the focus to the named application or window but does not affect whether it is maximized or minimized."

I think part of the problem is that there are so many different libraries out there with controls/windows that don't support standard windows messages and then what constitutes a "window" keeps evolving...

...in WPF, for example, the "handle" of a window is hidden even deeper by default requiring even more work to obtain it.
0
 
milesryoungAuthor Commented:
Hi,

Thank you to all for your input. @Idle_Mind, I've tried your code but although it now works when Outlook is minimised, it still doesn't work if Outlook has been closed (although the process is still running).

In this case the SetForegroundWindow function gets "0" as the MainWindowHandle.
0
 
Mike TomlinsonMiddle School Assistant TeacherCommented:
"...it still doesn't work if Outlook has been closed (although the process is still running)."

Hmm...so when you "close" Outlook with the 'X' in the top right it stays in the background?

If you just run it again every time maybe it will bring up the main window?
0
 
milesryoungAuthor Commented:
Yes that's right. It is still a running process but the problem is with this line:

SetForegroundWindow(processes(0).MainWindowHandle)

...because Outlook has a MainWindowHandle of "0".
0
 
milesryoungAuthor Commented:
I had to use the "Process.Start" in two places but otherwise this was a complete solution.
0

Featured Post

Free tool for managing users' photos in Office 365

Easily upload multiple users’ photos to Office 365. Manage them with an intuitive GUI and use handy built-in cropping and resizing options. Link photos with users based on Azure AD attributes. Free tool!

  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • +1
Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now