Outlook Folder Home Pages no longer work

HomePageTitle

Outlook ‘Folder Home Pages’ are probably not a well known feature of Outlook, but to those who took advantage of them, they are an easy way of showing information in Outlook that otherwise could not be shown.

In October 2017, users found that after installing Microsoft’s October Public Update, folder home pages no longer appeared and the Home Page feature was missing in Outlook folder properties. Microsoft explained that this feature was disabled by default to limit security vulnerabilities.

What do Home Pages look like when they are working?

‘Folder Home Pages’ replace the view that a user would normally see when they click on a folder in Outlook. Without the Home-Page the user would see a list of emails (or calendar, contacts etc) when they select a folder. If a folder Home-Page is set, this is replaced with an HTML page which can display any information – either based on items in Outlook – or a completely external application.

The image below shows an custom folder for imaginary app ‘ZoomZoomZoom’. When the user clicks on the folder – it displays a web page which gives access to the ZoomZoomZoom Enterprise Archive.

Outlook Folder Home Page

As a builder of applications and plugins for Outlook, Davton have created many applications which use this feature, and indeed we had phone calls with a few days from customers saying that their application had broken. It seems we were not alone as several  forums frequented by Outlook developers also reported issues.

For those people affected, there are several options.

Registry Fix

There are two registry fixes.

The first (recommended by Microsoft) can be used if the folder home page is set for a default folder (ie Inbox, calendar etc) AND the URL to be used is internal. Personally I think this combination fairly unlikely, but details can be found here:

http://bit.ly/2zsgBno

The second  is more generic and just reverses the limitation introduced in the October Security release. Set the following key value:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Security] “EnableRoamingFolderHomepages”=dword:00000001

Alternative Solution – Office 365 Add-in

One customer came to us for whom the registry fixes were not going to be a good solution as THEIR customers were not able/willing to implement the registry fix on 1000’s of desktops.

For this customer Davton are creating an new Office 365 Add-in with a pane which can be popped up to display the ‘Home Page’ URL.

The functionality is not exactly the same – in that the user no longer clicks on a folder, but selects a button from the ribbon bar. However the display is the same, and for a minor change in how to retrieve the information, the full functionality of the Home Page is restored.

Toolbar Button
User clicks the button to open the dialog.

 

Dialog as Home Page
A new dialog form is opened to display the home page information.

Davton help SAAS companies to Integrate with Outlook

If you have an application that uses folder home pages and you need a quick resolution, I would be pleased to have an initial conversation to discuss your options.