New to Microsoft Outlook 2007 is Form Regions. These nice little pieces of code attach as “sub-forms” to existing forms in Outlook 2007. You can have them display adjoining to the standard Outlook form, as a separate tab, or replace the Outlook form entirely. Technet has a few great samples to play with:
Walkthrough: Creating an Outlook Form Region
Building an Outlook 2007 Form Region with a Managed Add-In
Outlook 2007 Sample Add-ins: Rules Add-in, Travel Agency Add-in, and Prepare for Meeting Add-in
You really have free reign with what you can do here … except that form regions do not currently support managed controls, meaning you’ll need to stick with ActiveX controls for now … though any ActiveX control will work. Here’s a screenshot from an “alpha” version of our ticketing system that uses form regions:
The nice thing with forms regions is that they can attach to a standard Outlook form or to a customized form and they finally look and feel like part of Outlook. No more Office 97 style controls. The controls can access user defined fields or, like in our case, we populate them with data from SQL.