Configuring Outlook Express
If you are using Windows XP SP2, please mind the following:
- OE-QuoteFix uses external files to color quoted material and to replace emoticons with icons. After installing WinXP SP2, OE is configured by default to block automatic downloads of external content. That means the coloring and icons features in OE-QuoteFix will not work. If you wish to use these features, you must disable the block in OE under [Tools | Options | Security].
- Furthermore, SP2 makes changes in OE's Read all messages in plain text feature. Instead of using an IE control, it now uses the RichEdit control. OE-QuoteFix' Viewing features will not function at all if you enable the plain text feature in OE under [Tools | Options | Read].
The following applies to all users: It may be necessary to adjust some OE options that are related to
certain OE-QuoteFix options...
Start OE-QuoteFix via the start menu or the icon that was created on your desktop:
Outlook Express with OE-QuoteFix will launch Outlook Express together with OE-QuoteFix. Note
that by default, OE-QuoteFix is configured to terminate as soon as OE is closed. If you usually
run Outlook Express with a parameter, e.g. /outnews, you can modify the shortcut and specify
those parameters for OELaunch.exe; they will then be passed on to Outlook Express.
Using the default settings, OE-QuoteFix stand-alone will only start OE-QuoteFix if Outlook Express is
already running. But if you disable the option Depend on OE, you can use this shortcut to start OE-QuoteFix
without Outlook Express. If you would like to keep OE-QuoteFix running all the time, disable
Depend on OE and copy the stand-alone shortcut to your StartUp folder.
The Tray Icon
When OE-QuoteFix is running, an icon will appear in the system tray (unless you choose to hide it; it looks very similar to
the OE icon). Double click on the icon to open a dialog that allows you to change some
options and provides you with useful information. Alternatively, you can right click on the icon.
You then have the following options:
- Show Dialog
display the dialog
when OE-QuoteFix is disabled, the tray icon's arrows turn from blue to red
- Invert Cursor/Sig placement
to quickly change from top to bottom posting - for those who need it; naturally, both options should be either top or bottom
- Hide Tray Icon
will remove the icon from the system tray; to get access to the dialog without the tray icon, start a second instance of OE-QuoteFix (e.g. by using the start menu); you can re-enable the tray icon in Advanced Options
opens this document
Options (Message Composition)
To configure OE-QuoteFix for a certain type of posting, e.g. top or bottom posting, see options Position cursor at top
and Move signature to bottom below, as these settings implicitly determine the posting type and alter reformatting behaviour accordingly.
It is advisable to configure OE-QuoteFix correctly before actually using it. Some changes in your OE
options may furthermore be necessary.
The character you want to use for indentation. It *must* be the same character
you chose in Outlook Express (see [Tools | Options | Send | Plain-Text Settings |
Indent Original Message with X], where X is the character in question)
The position at which OE-QuoteFix should wrap quoted lines. Use a setting that is less than
or equal to the setting in Outlook Express. See [Tools | Options | Send | Plain-Text Settings (2x) |
Automatically wrap text at XX characters, when sending]. Only values >= 60 are accepted. A setting between 72 and 80 is strongly recommended.
If enabled, all quote characters are converted to the one you selected above. If disabled, the
indentation in the original message is preserved.
Select this option to remove spaces from the indentation. For example, '> > > >' would become
'>>>>'. If Standardized indentation is disabled, this only concerns the first quote level.
Position cursor at top
Will move the cursor to the top of the message after it is processed by OE-QuoteFix.
Note that these two settings determine the posting type, which in turn affects
the number of empty lines that OE-QuoteFix will insert/remove at appropriate positions.
Disabling 'Move signature to bottom' implies top posting.
'Move sig to bottom' and 'Position cursor at top' equals interspersed posting.
Bottom posting is selected with 'Move sig to bottom' enabled and 'Position cursor at
Move signature to bottom
If selected, will move your signature to the bottom of the message, i.e. below the quoted message. Naturally, your signature must be configured to get inserted autmatically.
Ignore HTML messages
Will prevent processing of HTML/Rich Text messages. Note that when a HTML message
is processed, an OE-style quote header is used, no matter what your
If you want to send all your messages in plain-text, it is best to disable
[Tools | Options | Send | Reply to
messages using the format in which they were sent] and to use Plain-text as
the format for both mail and news under [Tools | Options | Send].
Strip quoted signature
If selected, will strip the signature (if any) of the message you reply to.
Fix existing OE quotes
This feature will attempt to fix messages that were quoted wrongly by OE alone as
you reply (i.e. incorrect line breaks will be removed and the corresponding paragraphs will
get reformatted accordingly). Do not expect this to correct all quoting errors; it is
merely an attempt.
This feature allows you to color the message composition window. If you are a pure top or bottom
poster, ignore the word 'experimental'. If, however, you write text in between quoted passages,
your text will not be colored black but will adopt the quoted passage's color, which is unavoidable.
Note that the colors displayed in the message composition window have nothing to do with the content
of the message. It is still plain-text!
Quote Header Styles
Brings up a dialog that allows you to select your favourite attribution line(s) for news
and email messages respectively. You can choose between the normal quote header (Outlook Express), a short header, a short header with
email address, no header at all and a custom header which you can define according
to your needs.
Whether OE-QuoteFix is to color quoting in messages you view. If you don't like coloring, simply
unselect this option. To change the colors OE-QuoteFix uses, see below (styles.css).
Compatibility Mode (CMode)
If your preview pane does not get colored (or if it only gets colored sporadically), check
this option. I believe it's required for OE5 users, but I'm not sure. Do not enable this feature if you
do not need to.
Will reformat the messages you view completely, according to the options
you have chosen in Message Composition for Quote character, Compressed
indentation, and most importantly: Fix existing OE Quotes. It will
therefore greatly improve the readability of messages that have messed up
With Reformat, fido-style quoting (i.e. 1-3 capital letters
followed by '>', for example "JS>") will be converted to standard
quoting, which allows for correct coloring.
The 'Reformat' feature has its own URL detection (it doesn't rely
on OE) and will unwrap unquoted, broken URLs where it
is possible to detect that it has been broken.
By default, 'Reformat' will not insert line breaks, but you can wrap at the column you
specified for Message Composition if you disable the corresponding advanced option (see below).
Note: Being beta, it can be expected that this feature
does not work correctly at all times...
Will convert implied font styles into their HTML equivalent, i.e. *bold* will become
bold, _underlined_ will become underlined and /italics/ will become
italics. When you enable this feature, a message box that allows you
to choose whether the original formatting characters are to remain in the message
text will appear.
If checked, will convert certain text emoticons, such as :) or ;), into images. The rules
for converting character sequences into images are laid down in emoticons.ini. The
structure of the file: every
line contains a character sequence and a filename, divided by a tab. The filename is
relative to the emoticons directory. Special characters must be specified with
their respective HTML code, e.g. < is specified as < and > as >.
A file in the OE-QuoteFix directory. Edit it if you want to change the colors OE-QuoteFix
uses or if you want to specify additional styles. It's a normal CSS file. There is also a file
called styles_preview.html, which allows you to preview the styles.
Many people may want their links to be colored differently, which is very simple to
accomplish. Just look at the style sheet.
Note that you can not only change text colors but also font settings, backgrounds, spacings,
sizes, etc... With CSS, the possibilites are endless. If you want to make some advanced
changes but are yet unfamiliar with cascading style sheets, check out the W3Schools CSS tutorial:
Working with OE-QuoteFix
OE-QuoteFix will automatically reformat messages (and thereby fix the quoting and apply whatever
other modifications you've chosen) whenever
you press reply/forward in Outlook Express.
By default, OE-QuoteFix processes only plain-text messages, but there is an option to process HTML
messages, too (see above).
If necessary, you can undo any changes OE-QuoteFix does to your
message by pressing Alt+Backspace and/or by choosing Edit|Undo in Outlook Express. For new messages,
only the sig fix will be applied (if enabled)
Whenever you view a plain-text message in Outlook Express, the options you chose under
'Viewing' will be applied: coloring, reformatting, emoticons, font styles, etc.
The log list at the top of the dialog will show you which message composition
and message view windows OE-QuoteFix has detected and how they were processed - or which errors occurred.
If you feel that OE-QuoteFix doesn't
do what it's supposed to do, be sure to read this whole document as well as the FAQ, before you say
it's OE-QuoteFix' fault!
All timing options are in ms.
The interval in which OE-QuoteFix becomes active. Decrease for faster reactions, but don't
set it too low.
OE Reaction Delay
The time to wait for OE to react. This value is used for viewing and, if Use clipboard is
selected (which is not recommended!), for messaege composition, too:
When viewing messages, it is the time to wait for OE to add hyperlinks to plain-text
messages. In very large messages, links further down the text will become (unclickable) plain-text,
unless this value is increased or Reformat is enabled, which does not rely on OE's
hyperlinks and adds them by itself. If Reformat is enabled, this setting is ignored.
When processing compose windows with Use clipboard, it is the time to wait for OE to process clipboard commands. Increase if you get get/put errors
(mainly concerns slower systems).
The maximum time to wait until access to the clipboard is granted
Message Composition Init Delay
If some of your messages do not get processed by OE-QuoteFix and it says 'skipped'
in the log list, you will perhaps need to set this to a much higher value than the default
(try 500 or even 1500, for example). I believe this setting only concerns slower computers.
You should also try increasing this value if you get latency errors.
Display warnings on errors
Unselect if you do not want to be informed about get/put errors (if get/put errors occur,
it means that OE-QuoteFix could not process the message).
Depend on OE
Select this option if you want OE-QuoteFix to be closed as soon as Outlook Express is closed.
It helps save system resources and is generally recommended.
For 'Reformat' allow arbitrary line length
By default, this option is checked, so that no line breaks are added when reformatting. If disabled,
text will be wrapped at the column you chose for message composition.
Hide tray icon
This setting allows you to hide/show the tray icon.
When the tray icon is hidden, you can only access the dialog by starting a second
instance of OE-QuoteFix (which will only bring up the dialog of the first instance
and then terminate) via the start menu.
ISO-8859-1/15 signature fix (deprecated)
(requires encoding patch - see Requirements
The signature fix is only relevant for OE versions prior to 6.00.2800.1123. Newer versions
no longer strip whitespace at the end of lines and can therefore generate valid signatures on their
own. If you have an older version of OE6 and are interested in getting a valid signature, it is best
to simply upgrade instead of using this feature.
Use this feature for other OE versions if you want to get RFC compliant signatures ("-- " as opposed to "--"). If you
want to use it, you must, as the name suggests, select an encoding type that uses ISO-8859-1 or -15
encoding in Outlook Express. Therefore, choose either 'Latin 9 (ISO)' or 'Western European (ISO)' under
[Tools | Options | Read | Fonts... | Encoding] and
[Tools | Options | Send | International Settings].
If you want to be absolutely sure that all your messages are sent in the correct ISO encoding, you
will also have to enable [Tools | Options | Read | International Settings | Use default encoding for
all incoming messages], but that also means that some messages will not be displayed in the correct
character set, unicode encoded messages for example.
Note that a little box will appear next to your sig delimiter (--□) in the
message composition window. It will get replaced by a space when you send the message, provided that you installed
the encoding patch (see above).
Note that the sig fix only works if you let OE insert your signature automatically
[Tools | Options | Signatures | Add signatures to all outgoing messages].
If you want to insert your
signature manually, you will also have to do the sig fix manually, i.e. you have to enter Alt+0129
after the two dashes - or you could put the message in the Outbox first and reopen it from there
before sending it in order to get OE-QuoteFix to insert that character for you anyway.
Use clipboard (deprecated)
OE-QuoteFix can process your message composition windows in two ways - either by using the clipboard
or by using a direct interface. If it all works well for you without the clipboard, I recommend
not to use it because the direct interface is more efficient as it uses fewer delays. Moreover,
some features do not work when using the clipboard.
(Up to v1.09, OE-QF could operate solely in clipboard mode.)
This setting allows you to configure the function of the Alt hotkey, which can be used
to temporarily (de)activate OE-QuoteFix.
If, for example, you do not want to use OE-QuoteFix on some messages, set this option to
deactivates and press Alt while clicking 'Reply' or 'Forward' or selecting a
message for viewing in OE.
Outlook-QuoteFix will then ignore the message and not do any processing.
Note that you must keep Alt pressed for at least as long as your 'Check Interval'
after you release the mouse button - so if you
press it for just about a second, you should be on the safe side.
OE-QuoteFix allows the insertion of random signatures. To use this feature, define a signature that contains a
line saying just "<oe-qf-sig>". This line will randomly get replaced by one of the presets you defined in
signatures.ini. For example you could have your signature in OE defined like this:
John Smith - http://www.john-smith-homepage.net
The last line of the signature will then be replaced by content defined in signatures.ini, a file located in the
OE-QuoteFix directory. Each line of this file is to contain one signature definition and may hold multiple lines separated
by \n. For example, signatures.ini could contain the following:
"some famous quote...\n...famous quote line 2" - Some Person
This is my second signature
This is my third signature\nLine 2 of sig 3\nLine 3 of sig 3
Note that the random signatures feature only works if you let OE insert the signature automatically. When you insert
a signature containing "<oe-qf-sig>" manually, do not expect a replacement to occur.
Moreover, signatures.ini is read only once
, when OE-QuoteFix starts; so any changes you make will not
take effect until you restart the program.