Preventing an image in your Outlook signature from pixelating

by Shijaz Abdulla on 29.08.2014 at 23:59

You’ve probably noticed that Outlook compresses an image you place in your signature when it sends the email, causing loss of quality. However the rate of pixelation varies by image type.

image image
Before (left) and after (right)

Here’s a quick tip that will help you get better results. Outlook compresses all images to 96 dpi before it sends the email. If you change your image to 96 dpi before you embed it in your signature you will have better results.

1. Open your high-resolution image in an image editor such as IrfanView or GIMP.

2. Re-scale the image to 96dpi.

In GIMP, you would go to Image > Scale Image.


In IrfanView, you would go to Image > Resize/Resample.


3. Save the image. If necessary adjust the height and width on the same tool.

4. Go back to Outlook, and embed the new image in your signature. You should get better results now.

How to synchronize your Outlook signature between multiple computers

by Shijaz Abdulla on 19.11.2011 at 12:41

Windows Live Mesh not only helps you synchronize documents between computers, it also helps you synchronize Office settings such as Outlook email signatures, custom dictionaries, templates, etc.

I stumbled upon this feature this morning when I was synchronizing files between my Windows 7 PC and my Windows 8 tablet.

Windows Live Mesh is now part of the Windows Live Essentials bundle (free download).

You can also use Windows Live Mesh to synchronize Internet Explorer favorites between multiple computers. One of the great many advantages of running Windows all your computers – be it PC, laptop or tablet!


Social Networking Connectors for Outlook 2010

by Shijaz Abdulla on 10.08.2010 at 11:40

Outlook 2010 now features Social Networking Connector Provides for Windows Live Messenger, LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook. This brings in a whole new dimension in Outlook beyond plain old email.

For instance, when you receive an email from someone who is on your Facebook friends list, you instantly see his status updates, wall posts, etc in Outlook, just below his message. Here’s a screenshot:


The same goes for updates from LinkedIn, Windows Live Messenger and MySpace. You can also add people you email with to your Facebook right from Outlook by clicking on the Add button.

To enable the connectors, simply download and install them and restart Outlook. You will be prompted to enter your credentials to the social networking sites. If you are not prompted, go to View > People Pane > Account Settings.


You can enable the social media connectors as follows:

  • Windows Live Messenger – built into Outlook
  • SharePoint – built into Outlook
  • Facebook – Download here
  • LinkedIn – Download here

Watch the Outlook Social Connector Partners page to stay updated about other social networks that will have connectors for Outlook coming soon.

Office 2010: New features

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.01.2010 at 13:56

I’ve been using the Office 2010 Technical Preview and the Beta for quite some time now. In this post, I share 10 new features in Office 2010 that I like.

  1. Video Editing features in Powerpoint

    You can now easily trim a video (i.e. play only a section of a video) or transform it in Powerpoint, without the need for any third-party tools.

    Right click on video, choose Trim Video.


    Choose Start and End points for the video.

    Transform the video using any 3D/bevel option.


    You can also add a reflection on your video!

    Run the presentation, the video plays as trimmed and automatically transformed/rendered as you selected, and the reflection also changes depending on the motion in the video!

  2. Insert Screenshot

    You can now insert a screenshot of any application that is currently running on your PC without having to hit PRINT SCREEN.


  3. Ribbon Interface in Outlook

  4. Conversation view in Outlook

    Makes it easy to group messages with the same subject (conversation). Also makes it easy to ignore or trash “conversations” with one click. 🙂


  5. Artistic Effects

    Can even make your clipart and photographs look like oil paintings, pastels, pencil sketches and more.


  6. Protected View
    For documents that originated from the Internet.


  7. Show/Hide the Office Ribbon (toolbar)
    You can minimize the Office Ribbon when you need some extra space by clicking the show/hide button marked in red.


  8. Backstage View
    This has replaced the Office menu. When you click the File tab, you are taken to a “Backstage”, where you can view and control properties for the document.


  9. Social Networking capability in Outlook

    Leverages functionality from SharePoint and Exchange Server and displays photographs and social networking information for all individuals involved in an email conversation.





  10. Smart tags in Outlook

    Lets you quickly see ways in which you can interact with a user (instant messaging, phone numbers, email),  his picture, profile, organizational information, etc. Very handy – and fully integrates with Office Communicator and SharePoint.




There are lots of other new features in Office 2010, this is just a preview of 10 features that I like. To get updates from my blog, subscribe with RSS or subscribe by email or get Windows Live Alerts.

Office 2007 Service Pack 2 released

by Shijaz Abdulla on 03.05.2009 at 10:34

Office 2007 SP2 was released just a few days ago. Some of the significant improvements are:

Office 2007 SP2 benefits :

  • Speeds up Outlook with Startup, Shutdown, Folder view and switch, and more!
  • Improves Outlook performance with using the MS Word editor (default editor)
  • Outlook Search reliability – Improves search reliability when you use SP2 with Windows Desktop Search 4 ( .
  • Improves the method by which Excel prints graphical content, especially when it prints to PCL printers
  • Improves SharePoint sync functionality with OneNote. This helps reduce the load on SharePoint servers, and it helps produce fewer sync errors.
  • Provides faster file resaves with PowerPoint
  • Improves image quality after files are saved in the .jpeg, .png, and .gif formats.

You can download Office 2007 SP2 from the Microsoft Download Center or get it installed via Windows Update.

Outlook prompting for credentials when OAB Web-based publishing enabled

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.01.2009 at 10:17

January 25, 2009

If you have enabled web-based publishing of your Offline Address Book (OAB) and your Outlook users get continuously prompted to enter their passwords, you need to check a couple of things:

  • Make sure Autodiscover is working perfectly before you made the OAB change.
  • Hold down the CTRL button and right click on the Outlook icon on the task bar, then select Test Email Autoconfiguration. Unselect GuessSmart and Secure GuessSmart and keep Use Autodiscover selected. On the Log tab, make sure Autodiscover is successful and that it was able to bind to an SCP.
  • Make sure that the entry is added to your certificate’s Subject Alernative Names list.
  • If you are facing problems with Autodiscover, you should correct that first before attempting the steps mentioned below.
  • Make sure that you have defined the External and Internal URLs for the OAB virtual directory in your client access server.

Once you have made sure that Autodiscover is working OK, and that the credentials are being prompted for the OAB URL (and not the mailbox server), you need to check the IIS Authentication setting on the client access server.

  • On the Client Access Server running Windows Server 2008, open IIS Manager console.
  • Click on Default Web Site
  • Open Authentication
  • Note that only Anonymous Authentication is enabled. All other authentication methods should be disabled.
    • Temporarily enable Windows Authentication
    • Right click on Windows Authentication and choose Advanced Settings
    • Uncheck Enable Kernel Mode Authentication and click OK
    • Disable Windows Authentication
    • Do an IISRESET


Also make sure that kernel-mode authentication is disabled for the RPC virtual directory.

Restart Outlook. You should no longer get the prompt for credentials. Test the configuration with Outlook Anywhere clients as well, if you have enabled Outlook Anywhere on your Client Access Servers.

You may need to repeat this configuration on all Client Access Servers that are enabled for Web-based publishing of Offline Address Book (OAB).

Opening two Outlook profiles at the same time

by Shijaz Abdulla on 19.10.2008 at 09:52

One common query that administrators have is the matter regarding opening two Outlook profiles simultaneously. As we all know, only one Outlook instance (profile) can be open on a PC at any given time. You can of course, open more than one Exchange mailbox inside the same Outlook instance – however this leads to (user) complications of which ‘from’ address to use when responding to email.

Jason Geffner has come up with the smart little utility that helps you run two instances of Outlook at the same time. It’s called ExtraOutlook. Try it out.

And here’s a little disclaimer: This tool is neither endorsed nor supported by Microsoft. As with all other information you find on this blog, use it at your own risk!


Clearing the Outlook 2007 AutoComplete cache

by Shijaz Abdulla on 28.07.2008 at 07:46

The AutoComplete cache fetches commonly used email addresses when you type the first few characters in the To, CC or BCC box when you compose a message in Outlook. In this post I will explain how you can remove entries from the AutoComplete cache.

A) To remove a single entry from the AutoComplete cache


1. Compose a new message and start entering the first few letters of the contact you want to remove from the cache.

2. Once Outlook suggests the contact, hit the DEL key on your keyboard.

B) To remove the entire AutoComplete cache

1. Close Outlook.

2. Start –> Run. Type “%userprofile%application datamicrosoftoutlook” (including the quotes) and click OK.

3. You will find an NK2 file named after each Outlook profile. Rename the NK2 file. (The NK2 file is your autocomplete cache file aka nickname cache file).

If you cannot find NK2 files, make sure you can see file extensions (Tools –> Folder Options –> Uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”)

Managing changes to legacyExchangeDN

by Shijaz Abdulla on 24.07.2008 at 16:37

If you had to change the legacyExchangeDN for your users as part of a migration or other manual process, or even an error in your automated user provisioning software, there are certain things that you need to be aware of.

For one thing, cached Outlook ‘autocomplete’ entries will stop working. If a sender uses his Outlook autocomplete to select a user whose legacyExchangeDN has been recently changedand sends an email to a user, chances are that the mail will bounce with the following NDR:

Jack Rabbit
The recipient’s e-mail address was not found in the recipient’s e-mail system. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please check the e-mail address and try resending this message, or provide the following diagnostic text to your system administrator.

The first thing you need to do after changing the legacyExchangeDN is to initiate an Offline Address Book rebuild. The way out of this problem is to instruct the sender to first download the Address Book by doing a full Send/Receive. Then ask the sender to manually select the affected recipient from the Address book instead of using the cached Autocomplete.


This is because, in an Exchange organization, Outlook client autocomplete caches do not save the SMTP email address. Instead, it saves the X.500 address using the legacyExchangeDN attribute from Active Directory. And that’s exactly what you have changed!



There is another workaround to prevent the NDRs. This would be to enter the old value of the legacyExchangeDN attribute as an X.500 address for the user account. This is done by opening the user object’s Email Address properties –> Add a Custom Address –> Enter the old value of legacyExchangeDN as the address and the address type as "X500" without the quotes. The drawback of this method is that you are populating the user’s email address field with garbage, which you don’t need after a while but can’t remove because you are unsure if traces of the old entries in Outlook caches are gone!

Problems with Exchange Server 2007 Availability Service

by Shijaz Abdulla on 12.05.2008 at 15:27

After you have configured your Client Access Servers, and installed your organizations SSL certificate on IIS, you realize that users are not able to see the Free/Busy information for other users from Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007.

Here are some of the symptoms:

When you try to create a new meeting request in Outlook using the scheduling assistant, you find that you are able to see free/busy information only for your own and not other users. Other users appear as ‘No information’. Under ‘suggested times’, in Outlook 2007, you find that it perpetually shows "loading". You may also receive a certificate error, concerning a name mismatch.

However, you are able to see the Free/Busy information for other users if you use Outlook Web Access (OWA).

The problem here is because of a certificate name mismatch. You have installed the certificate for your company’s webmail URL ( on your Client Access server but your Outlook client is accessing it using the host’s FQDN, which results in the mismatch. If you have configured your internal DNS servers to resolve directly to the CAS server (or the CAS NLB virtual IP), you can modify the InternalURL value by using the Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory cmdlet. In the following command I am making the internalURL same as the externalURL.

Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory -id:"EWS*" -ExternalUrl "" -InternalUrl ""


Before  you do this, make sure your internal DNS servers are setup correctly to resolve directly to the Client Access server(s). If you have multiple CAS servers in an NLB configuration, you will need to repeat the above command on all CAS servers.

Come back to Outlook and create a new meeting request with the Scheduling Assistant. Everything should be honky dory!


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