Q

Forcing Microsoft Outlook options using Active Directory Group Policy

SearchExchange.com expert Brad Dinerman explains how to force Microsoft Outlook options using Active Directory Group Policy.

Can you force Microsoft Outlook client options in an Exchange Server environment? For example, we are a hospital and want to add a specific signature line but do not want to allow employees to change stationery and fonts. How can we do this?

There are a number of Microsoft Outlook options that you can enforce using Active Directory Group Policy. To set this up, first download the Office Resource Kit. Locate the ADM files in the Resource Kit folder and copy them into %windir%\inf. The template that will be of the most interest to you is Outlk11.adm.

Once you've done this, create a Group Policy Object (GPO). Call it Outlook Configuration, or anything with a convenient name. Edit your GPO and select the Administrative Templates under User Configuration. Right-click Administrative Templates, select the Add/Remove Templates option, and then browse to the Outlok11.adm file. After you've done this, you will have a new node under User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 with lots of goodies that you can configure and enforce for your users, including specification of stationary and fonts.

Unfortunately, adding standard signatures cannot be accomplished through Group Policy. For that, you could create an Event Sink and add a disclaimer to simulate a signature, or you could use third-party software.

MEMBER FEEDBACK TO THIS ASK THE EXPERT Q&A:

Regarding creating a standard signature:

If you've got an email server, it should definitely follow that you have an antivirus software installed that is checking inbound and outbound email. Most antivirus products have a standard message for your outbound email claiming that it's been scanned by *product X* antivirus, etc. These messages are also usually customizable.

I've modified mine to include the standard promo (boiler-plate) for our company and the usual disclaimer. Far easier than setting up the event sink, in my humble opinion.
Jon C.

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What third-party software is available to add standard signatures?
Elhami M.

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One product that will do what you need is Adolsign. You can get information about Adolsign at ITeF!x Consulting's Web site.
Brad Dinerman, Client Administration Expert

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SearchExchange.com contributor Serdar Yegulalp has written tips on two third-party tools that add disclaimers to outgoing email: "Adolsign: Create AD-aware Microsoft Outlook signature files" and "Exclaimer: Add disclaimers and signatures to outgoing Exchange Server email."
Kimbers Sheppard, Associate Editor

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Try Policy Patrol. It is extremely customizable and can act as a spam filter, attachment zipper, etc. We originally got it to do server-based email signatures in a standard format using user information from Active Directory.
Rory D.

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Related information on Microsoft Outlook options:

This was first published in September 2006

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