Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sending emails from Access through Outlook


By Joe Dolittle

Although we've answered a lot of Outlook-related questions over the years, I don't think we've ever really discussed the MAPI interface before. Chris writes:

I am trying to send emails from Microsoft Access to some people in Outlook automatically. The Access leg works fine but Outlook pops up a message box "A program is trying to automatically send email on your behalf. Do you want to allow this?" Is there a way to bypass this message box and allow this automatic email?

What Chris is encountering is a very important security feature. Here's what's happening. There's an inter-application communications protocol called MAPI (Messaging Application Programming Interface).

This is a technology that allows different applications to communicate with each other, and is most often used to ask an email program to send a message. So, what's happening in Chris' case is that a program written for Access is using MAPI to talk to Outlook, and is asking Outlook to send a message.

As you might imagine, there could be malware running on your machine that might want to use your email program to send undesirable messages. What MAPI does is pop up and ask you if the program that's trying to use it is supposed to be trying to use it.

That makes sense, but -- of course -- it's also a pain, especially if you actually want a program to send an email via MAPI.

There are some workarounds. Now, here's where we give you our usual caution: doing this could hurt you, your computer, the planet, or your sex life. We do not recommend you bypass these protections.

Okay? Feel warned enough? Good, let's get going.

The best explanation and set of workaround steps comes from (no surprise) Outlook super-guru Sue Mosher. Another workaround comes from the System Admin Tips blog.

Some of these involve registry hacks. You were warned.