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Personalizing Your Journal Entries

 I use the Outlook Journal all the time, but I've found that the default set of Journal entry types just doesn't cover my needs. Here's how you can add your own entry types to the Journal, or remove ones you don't want.  This should work for most versions of Outlook.

It's All in the Registry

Before I get started, let me toss out the usual warning about making a good backup of your registry because if you poke around in there and accidentally change the wrong thing it could cause serious problems. That said, let's get to it!

First, run the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe), which you can find in C:\Windows. Once there, expand the list on the left so that it shows this view: My Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Outlook\Journaling. The Journal entry types are all shown as keys under the Journaling folder (key). Each entry type is its own key with a set of values shown in the pane to the right.

NOTE: Regedit.exe is the registry editor for Windows 9x. If you use Windows NT you need to use Regedt32.exe to edit your registry. Also, depending on the security setup of your particular system, you may need to have local administrator rights on your machine to edit the registry.

To add a new key, simply right-click the Journaling key, select New > Key, and name the new key for the entry type you want, such as "Outgoing Phone Call." (You can also use the menus: Edit > New > Key.) Note that your new key name doesn't have to match the descriptive text that will appear in the Entry Type field, but it's generally easier if it does.

Now add values to your new key. Don't be intimidated by the values of the existing Journaling keys (to see what I mean, click on Document, Meeting, Phone Call, Task Request, etc.). You only need two basic values for your new key to work:

Those are the minimum settings you'll need for your new key. You can omit the Large Icon value, but then you'll just get a default icon—a blank sheet of paper—for entries of this type. If you omit a Description value, your new entry type won't appear on the Entry Type list when you create a new Journal Entry (unless you specify a binary DescriptionID).

While you're in the Registry you can also delete any entry types that you don't want, with the exception of the Phone Call entry. Because it's a default entry, Outlook won't appreciate you deleting it. You can, of course, effectively rename it by simply adding a Description string value with whatever text you like. For example, I've changed mine to read "Incoming Phone Call."

Sharing Is Nice

These changes only apply to the currently logged-in user, as you may have guessed, because they're under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive. To share them with others, simply export this branch of the registry (either the specific new entry type if there's just one or the entire Journaling key if there are multiple new entry types) to a .REG file and then send/give that file to your other user(s). This is easily done in the Registry Editor by selecting Registry > Export Registry File.

When the other users receive your .REG file they can import it by double-clicking on it. Like magic, it will incorporate your new entries seamlessly into their registries!

See also:


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Last Updated: 06/07/2011
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