An OutlookToday Active Desktop using Digital Dashboard....

If using VBA in Outlook, there are some "gotcha's". More information is here Active Desktop
Click here to see a live page. An HTML page is here.

If you have Digital Dashboard installed, your calendar and inbox will be displayed. My page was designed for 1024x768 screen size, you'll scroll at lower resolutions. If you normally need to log on to Outlook or exchange server you may be asked to do the same when loading the page. 

The date is added using JavaScript, the original included on the DD page will not work outside outlook. The time is also JavaScript. The calendar, my tasks and new messages controls won't work outside outlook's viewer either. The ticker tape from the one dashboard sample will, however, it seems to reduce stability and slow down the system. 

Active DesktopAdd the outlook view control to display any folder. I used the calendar and the inbox on my 17" monitor. Whatever view you have outlook set to when you load the HTML file in the AD is the view your calendar will take. Day/Week/Month view will have tasks and the small calendars visible. 

Right click on the calendar and choose "go to This Day" and you can change to the Day/Week/Month view. Right click and choose "go to Date" and you can change to any view via the drop down. Right clicks in any of the views give you most of the options avail within outlook's window. You can add, open and edit calendar items, same as if you were in the outlook viewer. (Make good use of the right click. :)) This is true for the task pad also. 

Mail folders can have changes made using the right click or by changing the fields, same as in Outlook. The only thing you can't do, or maybe I haven't discovered it yet, is to change mail folders. I'm not sure if rules work, I use ExLife and it's filters will not run, but I think the couple of rules I have in Rules Wizard are firing. 

You can read and reply to your mail right from the desktop. Open a message and use the arrow buttons (or shortcut keys) to read the next messages in the message window. No preview pane for the embedded inbox, but the auto preview will work. Right click on the fields to get to the view options. 

To send new mail, either open an existing message then file > new or scroll to the end of your inbox and click on the blank space. To create any new item type, use the file > new menu from any open item, except notes. It can only create new notes. 

To delete mail, right click. The delete key doesn't work. 

The hot links to folder names bring up outlook with the folder open. Outlook is loaded when the view control is, running hidden in the background. Clicking on the hotlink brings it into view. These hotlinks point to my mail folder name, I don't use the default name MS gives the pst, so my hotlinks won't work for you. I should change them to point to the default names and freak everyone out who clicks then reads.... "how'd she do that" <g>

As long as the AD wallpaper is up, outlook will be running hidden, until you open it for the first time. If you close outlook, it's still running until you change the AD wallpaper. This is important to remember if you are having shutdown or backup errors.

If you leave all your mail in the inbox and use categories (rules wiz can assign categories to incoming mail), you can group by categories to keep your mail sorted, instead of moving messages to new folders. This could allow you to work most of the time with outlook hidden. No real advantage, except it's not on the task bar. 

You should use the check mail every xx minutes feature to check mail. It appears that refreshing the desktop may start a mail check. (Right click on desktop.) Otherwise, there is no way to start a mail check manually, that I have found. 

So how can you access folders that aren't embedded in the desktop? Without opening outlook? Easy... advanced find. Start menu > find > using outlook. If it's a search you use a lot, save it on your desktop. to see all messages in any folder, open the find dialog and browse to the specific folder. leave all search fields empty and all items will be found. 

The find viewer is much like the other information viewers and can be customized. Right click on the field names and in the viewer area and see the options avail. This works for the activities tab of contacts also. "Find" a contact, then display all items associated with that person. 

My record for not opening outlook fully is about 3 hours. The longer I use the AD version, the better I'm getting at not opening Outlook. I never liked how the outlook bar kept things hidden, sometimes I just gotta open it and see the full interface.