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Prevent Forwarding of Outlook Meetings

The ability to quickly and easily forward an Outlook meeting to another recipient is an essential feature. Maybe you can’t make it and you need to send a delegate. Maybe you identify from the invite that bringing along a colleague who’s a subject matter expert would be beneficial. There are probably many other scenarios.

As a meeting organizer though, it’s possible that you don’t want people to be able to forward your meetings. Perhaps the location you have booked is of a limited size. Perhaps the meeting content is sensitive and discussion restricted to a particular group. There are probably many other scenarios for wanting to keep tight control over the recipient list too.

Well, good news! I’ve recently discovered this is possible, and with just a few lines of VBA you can create meetings that have the “forward” button disabled. If a recipient wants to extend the invite to someone else, they have to come back to you and ask that you do it for them.

It’s worth pointing out right at the top that this technique only works in the Microsoft Outlook desktop client. You have to be using it, and so do the meeting recipients. If your recipients also have their email/calendar available to them on another client (including mobile devices and webmail) then they can use the other client to forward the meeting.

It’s also worth pointing out that full credit for this goes to user GranEYb on Microsoft’s TechNet forums. I have merely tidied up his/her instructions, and turned them into a quick screencast. The instructions are for Outlook 2013. I know the code also works in Outlook 2010. I haven’t tested it with other versions. YMMV.

Screencast

Instructions

First, enable developer tools in Outlook:

  1. Open Outlook 2013
  2. Click File -> Options -> Customize Ribbon
  3. In the right-hand pane, place a checkmark next to the Developer group and click OK

Open Visual Basic for Applications and write the code:

  1. Navigate to the Developer tab on the ribbon, and select Visual Basic
  2. In the Visual Basic for Applications window, click Insert -> Module
  3. Copy the code from below, and choose File -> Save, or click the Save icon
  4. Close the Visual Basic for Applications window

The code:

Sub DisableForwarding()
    ActiveInspector.CurrentItem.Actions("Forward").Enabled = False
    MsgBox "Forwarding of this item has been disabled"
End Sub

Sub EnableForwarding()
    ActiveInspector.CurrentItem.Actions("Forward").Enabled = True
    MsgBox "Forwarding of this item has been enabled"
End Sub

Create the buttons in Outlook:

  1. Open Outlook calendar
  2. Click New Appointment
  3. Click File -> Options -> Customize Ribbon
  4. In the right-hand pane, select the Appointment tab and click New Group
  5. Select the New Group (Custom) item and click Rename
  6. In the Display Name box, enter Forward Control. Click OK
  7. In the left-hand pane, select the Choose Commands From: dropdown and select Macros
  8. Select Project1.DisableForwarding and click the Add >> button between the panes
  9. Select Project1.EnableForwarding and click the Add >> button between the panes
  10. In the right-hand pane, select Project1.DisableFowarding and click Rename
  11. In the Display Name box, enter Disable Forwarding. Click OK
  12. In the right-hand pane, select Project1.EnableForwarding and click Rename
  13. In the Display Name box, enter Enable Forwarding. Click OK
  14. Click OK at the bottom of the Outlook Options window

All done! If you wish, you can now hide the developer tab that we enabled with the first three steps.

To use the tool, create a new meeting invite as you normally would, but before hitting the send button hit the Disable Forwarding button first. Recipients of your invite will find that the Forward button is disabled.

image

Meetings do not have forwarding disabled by default, but if you need to re-enable forwarding for any reason then the Enable Forwarding button is your friend.

Enjoy!

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