Thursday, March 29, 2007

SnTT - Outbound e-mail address formatting

Alan Lepofsky shared a tip recently that shows how users can control their own outbound e-mail address formatting. This works well if you work from a local mail replica, but if you're a typical office worker who accesses his mail directly from the server, you're sorta* out of luck. Notes 6 shipped with a feature called Dynamic Client Configuration that updates your Location document with information from the server and one of the fields that gets overwritten is the Internet Address. So if you apply Alan's tip and you regularly connect to a Domino server, your changes will be overwritten.

I'm a dual propeller beanie wielding developer and admin so I get the lovely joy of figuring out how to use layers and researching how to configure a mail server so it shows users' full names as well as e-mail addresses. Lucky for you I'm the generous sort who doesn't mind sharing. :-)

Before we dive into the technical bits it helps to understand the big picture of how this fits together. The Notes client can send e-mail through a Domino server or directly to the Internet. This is controlled via the Location document that is selected in Notes.

If you send mail directly to the Internet, the e-mail address on the Location document is used. In this case using Alan's tip makes sense, since there is nothing else that is going to take care of adding extra bits to your outbound e-mail address. If you send through a Domino server the server's configuration is used, so it's best let the server to do the conversion.

Configuring how the Domino server formats outbound e-mail addresses is done in a Global Domain document.

If you don't already have a Global Domain document create one by clicking the Add Domain button. If you have multiple Global Domain documents, one needs to be designated as the default.

The important part here is the Conversion tab. Note the last field, which specifies the Address format. I had to set this to Name and Address even though the section above it very specifically states it is not used in R5 or higher.

It's as simple as that. Now all outbound e-mail that goes through the server will include the sender's name. Remember, if you're working from a local replica and sending mail directly to the Internet you will have to use Alan's tip to include your name with your address.

There is also a section on the default Configuration document that deals with some server level configuration of mail addressing. I honestly had no idea this existed until Thomas Adrian mentioned it as a response to Alan's blog post. According to a later response, this doesn't work reliably. I've been using a Global Domain document for years and never had any issues. Hopefully a better admin than I am can explain when the Configuration document is needed and when a Global Domain document is needed.

* I said sorta because there is a way to disable Dynamic Client Configuration (the feature that lets the the server update your Location document), but it's not one I show end users since it hobbles administrative abilities and I need all the help I can get. See the responses on Alan's blog if you're interested in how DCC can be turned off.


  1. Strange, your instructions don't work here on a 6.5.5 SMTP server.

    Instead, setting this in the configuration document works fine.

  2. I first set this up on R5 and apparently stuff changed in later releases. Everyone I've spoken with has it set up like I do. The documentation isn't clear on when to use a Global Domain document or when to use the MIME settings on a configuration document.

    I'm glad you were able to get this solved using one of the methods. :-)