So before I start I would like to say this hack is perfectly legal there is no way that you would be breaking the law by doing what I mention in this hack. So feel free to do it all you want.
This hack is perfect if you don't like the themes that come with Microsoft Outlook. And you can't find any you like on the web. Pretty much what this hack is for is to tell you how you could make your own themes. Then you could distribute them as you wish.
What You'll Need
1: Microsoft Office 2003 or Microsoft Outlook 2003. It doesn't matter what version of Office 2003 you use as long as it ships with Outlook 2003.
2: a working knowledge of HTML. (if your not familiar with HTML then click here)
3: optional > A HTML editor, such as Dreamweaver MX, or Visual Web Developer.
Yes that's it.
Like every hack you must do your research. Especially if your discovering it for your self like did. This section of the blog tells you what I had to discover to tell you how to do this hack. I had to find out what directory the stationary files where in. So my first logical guess which would have been most peoples guess was the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Stationery\1033. Makes sense right. Well that is not where you will put your files. Instead you will put them in this directory C:\Documents and Settings\Yourname\Application Data\Microsoft\Stationery. Note yourname is the name of the user account. And Application Data is usually a hidden folder, so you will have change settings to see it.
I figured out where to put these files by simply opening up Outlook, then going to Tools > Options. Then going to the Mail Format Tab & then clicking stationary picker. Then in the new window click on the button that says New and then check the radio button that says Use this file as an existing template. Then click Browse. After that you should be able to tell what the directory is.
What to do
Okay hopefully you have an idea of what you want your E-Mail to look like. If you do just create an HTML web page and save it and all the files for if to the C:\Documents and Settings\yourname\Application Data\Microsoft\Stationery directory. Now open up Outlook, and go to Tools > Options. And in the options window got to the Mail Format Tab, then click on the Stationary picker button, and select the name of the file that you gave your webpage. You should see it in there. And your Done. The next time you send mail out to someone it will have your custom background.
How else can this be helpful
Well I first tried to figure out way so people could use the voting options on that outlook has for people who don't use outlook. I knew immediately that the answer laid outside of out look. So when started messing around with it I discovered that outlook uses HTML files. And bell rang in my head. create an E-Mail form in HTML and put it in the stationary file. And it worked I was able to send E-Mails to people asking them certain questions, and when they would get done with the form it would then E-Mail there answers back to me.