Note. In order to make full use of this tutorial, it is essential to first install Blueprint for Outlook. Further details can be found on the 'Download' page
To explain the concepts with this tutorial, the following blueprint template example will be referenced: MESSAGE_SIMPLE.htm
This tutorial will explain how to use the following features:
The Blueprint property tag (BPMessProp)
The Message Body tag
The Blueprint property tag, 'BPMessProp' is at the heart of the Blueprint formatting mechanism. This is used to define an element within the HTML template that should be processed by the Blueprint engine. A typical basic element is as follows:
This basic example describes a single HTML element. The element type here is DIV (Note. other types of elements could be used e.g. SPAN, TD). The important tag within the element is the 'id="BPMessProp"'. This tells Blueprint that this element contains message property information, and should be processed. The text section of the HTML element (e.g. 'NAME=To') is used to describe the message property information. Blueprint will use all the information provided in this section and will replace the text section with the appropriate property information extracted from the actioned message.
Therefore, when Blueprint processes the above tag, it will be replaced as follows:
<DIV id="BPMessProp">Blueprint Support</DIV>
(where the selected message was sent to the Blueprint Support Team.)
The MESSAGE_SIMPLE.htm template shows examples of using the following Property names: ReceivedBy, From, To, Bcc, Cc, Attachments and Subject. THe HTML that describes each element is as similiar to the previous example. However, it also adds a simple prefix to each property value that will be presented on the printed message. For example:
<DIV><SPAN><STRONG>From: </STRONG></SPAN><SPAN id="BPMessProp">NAME=From</SPAN><DIV>
Note, there is only a BPMessProp element on the second SPAN element. Therefore, only the 'NAME=From' is managed by Blueprint. Any other HTML elements in the document will be untouched by Blueprint, and any standard HTML formatting rules and text will be persisted as is to the final print. Therefore, the above line will be replaced as follows:
<SPAN><STRONG>From: </STRONG></SPAN><SPAN id="BPMessProp">Blueprint Support</SPAN>
and will be printed as:
Note. There is a large number of standard Property names which can be used. To see the full list, see the Technical Reference page
In addition to the large number of standard Blueprint property tags that are available, one of the tags is worth discussing in more detail. This is the Message Body tag and is formatted as follows:
When this property is processed by Blueprint, it is replaced by the entire message body of the selected message. Microsoft Outlook supports three different format types of messages. These are: HTML, Rich Text, and Plain Text. However, regardless of the format, Blueprint for Outlook will attempt to present the message body in HTML format.
It may also be possible to modify the formatting of the HTML message body. (e.g. Font or size). This can be achieved by using the stylesheets provided within the document. (For more information on stylesheets, see http://www.w3schools.com/css/css_intro.asp). In this instance the message style is used and can be found at the top of the template.
Note. The ability to modify the HTML formatting of the message will strongly depend on the existing HTML Body and any formatting styles which already exist, as these will take precedence over any defined in the blueprint template.
In this tutorial, we introduced the idea of the blueprint template. It described how message properties could be extracted from a message and placed into a HTML document through the use of the property tag, BPMessProp. However, the discussion so far has only provided a basic toolset for presenting your messages.
In the next tutorial, we will expand the toolset and explain how the Blueprint engine can be used to easily create a Microsoft Outlook style print view of a message.
Continue to Tutorial 2: Creating an Outlook style Template >>