TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Introduction to AppleScripting Microsoft Entourage

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 05
Column Tag: Scripting

AppleScript Essentials

Introduction to AppleScripting Microsoft Entourage

by Ben Waldie

For some time now, we have been discussing scripting the Microsoft Office applications, partially in preparation for the forthcoming release of Office 2008, in which Microsoft has announced that Visual Basic macros will no longer be supported. So far, we have explored the AppleScript support in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, three applications that currently (in Office 2004) include Visual Basic macro support. This month, we are going to discuss the fourth major Office application, Entourage, a popular email and project management client.

Unlike the other Office applications, Entourage does not include Visual Basic macro support. So, when Office 2008 is released, there won't be any macros requiring conversion. However, Entourage does possess fairly comprehensive AppleScript support. Using AppleScript, it is possible to manipulate various types of elements in Entourage, including messages, contacts, events, tasks, notes, and more. In this month's column, we will explore ways of manipulating some of these elements. Let's get started.

Working with Messages

Probably the primary elements with which you will want to interact are messages. Using AppleScript, it is possible to create messages, read messages, send messages, move messages from one folder to another, and more.

In Entourage, there are two primary types of messages, incoming and outgoing. While each of these types possesses its own set of properties, both types inherit a number of common properties from the more generic message class.

Creating an Outgoing Message

To create a new outgoing message, use the make command, followed by the class outgoing message, and optionally, properties to be assigned to the message. For example:

set theSubject to "Some Subject"
set theBody to "Some Body"
tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   make new outgoing message with properties 
{subject:theSubject, content:theBody}
end tell
--> outgoing message id 11285 of application "Microsoft Entourage"

Take note that, when creating a new outgoing message, it will not automatically be visible in Entourage's interface. Regardless, it is created. To make a newly created outgoing message visible in Entourage's interface, the message must be opened. Fortunately, the make command will return as its result a reference to the newly created message. This reference may be placed into a variable, which can then be opened using the open command, as demonstrated below.

set theSubject to "Some Subject"
set theBody to "Some Body"
tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   set theMessage to make new outgoing message with properties
{subject:theSubject, content:theBody}
   open theMessage
end tell

Adding Recipients to a Message

In the examples that we have discussed above, we have specified certain properties for the outgoing message, which are assigned when the message is created. Specifically, we have specified a subject and a body for the message. However, an outgoing message cannot be sent without first assigning it recipients.

When assigning recipients to a message, each recipient must consist of two bits of information. The first bit of information is the address, and the second is the type of recipient (to, cc, bcc). The address of a recipient is broken down even further, into two more parts - an email address and a display name (i.e. first and last name of the recipient).

To accommodate this, Entourage's AppleScript support includes a recipient class, which possesses an address property and a recipient type property. The value of a recipient's address property translates to the address class in Entourage, which has a display name property and an address property of its own. Put together in AppleScript code, this all translates to the following for each recipient in the list of recipients:

{address:{display name:"RecipientName", 
address:"RecipientEmailAddress"}, 
recipient type:to recipient}

Now, let's put this together to assign recipients as a message is created. The following example code will create an outgoing message in Entourage, addressing it to Ben Waldie, and copying MacTech Editorial, the result of which is shown in figure 1.

set theSubject to "Some Subject"
set theBody to "Some Body"
tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   set theRecipients to {{address:{display name:"Ben Waldie",
address:"ben@automatedworkflows.com"}, recipient type:to recipient},
{address:{display name:"MacTech Editorial", address:"editorial@mactech.com"},
recipient type:cc recipient}}
   set theMessage to make new outgoing message with properties 
{recipient:theRecipients, subject:theSubject, content:theBody}
   open theMessage
end tell


Figure 1. An Outgoing Message with Recipients

Adding Attachments to an Outgoing Message

Another common task when creating outgoing messages is adding attachments. One or more files may be added to an outgoing message as attachments by providing the paths to those files when the message is created, as follows:

set theSubject to "Some Subject"
set theBody to "Some Body"
set theAttachment to choose file with prompt "Select a file to attach:" without invisibles
tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   set theRecipients to {{address:{display name:"Ben Waldie", 
address:"ben@automatedworkflows.com"}, recipient type:to recipient}, 
{address:{display name:"MacTech Editorial", 
address:"editorial@mactech.com"}, 
recipient type:cc recipient}}
   set theMessage to make new outgoing message with properties 
{recipient:theRecipients, subject:theSubject, 
content:theBody, attachments:theAttachment}
   open theMessage
end tell

In this case, we have only added a single attachment to an outgoing message. Adding multiple attachments is done in the same manner. Just specify a list of paths, rather than a single path. Figure 2 shows the result of the previous example code.


Figure 2. An Outgoing Message with an Attachment

Sending an Outgoing Message

Once you have created an outgoing message, you will most likely want to send it. Earlier, we discussed opening outgoing messages, since they are not visible by default. Well, if you are going to immediately send an outgoing message after creating it, then you might not need to open it. Regardless, to send a message, use the send command, followed by a list of the messages you want to send. For example:

send theMessage

Please note that, when first sending a message via AppleScript, Entourage will display a dialog notifying the user that a script is attempting to send a message (figure 3). The user must click a Send button before the script can proceed. Keep this in mind, and be prepared for this occurrence.


Figure 3. Entourage's Send Message Warning Dialog

Working with Incoming Messages

So far, we have been discussing ways of working with outgoing messages. Incoming messages possess most of the same properties that outgoing messages possess, so interacting with them is very similar.

To retrieve a list of currently selected incoming messages, reference the selection property of the application. For example:

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   selection
end tell
--> {incoming message id 136 of application "Microsoft Entourage"}

Once you have a reference to an incoming message, you can retrieve any of its properties. For example, the following code will retrieve the subject of a selected incoming message.

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   set theSelection to selection
   set theCurrentMessage to item 1 of theSelection
   subject of theCurrentMessage
end tell
--> "RE: Meeting Today!"

Forwarding a Message

To forward a message to another recipient, you can use Entourage's forward command. This command requires a reference to a message to be forwarded as its direct parameter. Optional parameters include a to recipient for the forwarded message, and whether the forwarded message's window should be opened in Entourage's interface. For example:

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   set theSelection to selection
   set theCurrentMessage to item 1 of theSelection
   forward theCurrentMessage to "ben@automatedworkflows.com" 
with opening window
end tell
--> window "FW: Meeting Today!" of application 
"Microsoft Entourage"

Take note that the result of the forward command in the example code above is a reference to the window of the forwarded message. This is because we specified that the forwarded message should be opened. If we had specified for the message not to be opened, then an outgoing message reference would have been returned instead. For example:

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   set theSelection to selection
   set theCurrentMessage to item 1 of theSelection
   forward theCurrentMessage to "ben@automatedworkflows.com" 
without opening window
end tell
--> outgoing message id 11277 of application 
"Microsoft Entourage"

Moving a Message to a Folder

You may have a need to move incoming messages from one folder to another via AppleScript. To do this, you can use the move command. When using this command, you must provide a reference to the message you want to move, along with a reference to the folder into which you would like the message to be moved. For example, the following code would move the currently selected message into a folder called "Some Folder".

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   set theSelection to selection
   set theCurrentMessage to item 1 of theSelection
   move theCurrentMessage to folder "Some Folder"
end tell

Keep in mind that since folders have a hierarchy in Entourage, then they must be addressed within this hierarchy via AppleScript. The following example code would move a message into a folder named "Another Folder", which resides inside of a folder named "Some Folder".

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   set theSelection to selection
   set theCurrentMessage to item 1 of theSelection
   move theCurrentMessage to folder "Another Folder" 
of folder "Some Folder"
end tell

Working with Contacts

Now that we have discussed ways of interacting with messages in Entourage, let's discuss ways of interacting with other scriptable elements. First, we will take a look at contacts.

To create a new contact in Entourage, use the make command, much in the same way that we discussed creating outgoing messages. For the sake of efficiency, you will probably want to apply properties to the contact as it is created. To do this, use the make command's optional with properties parameter.

The following example code demonstrates how this is done. This particular code will create a contact, complete with a first name, last name, company, job title, business address, business web page address, and email address. Figure 4 shows an example of the newly created contact.

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   make new contact with properties 
{first name:"Ben", last name:"Waldie", company:"Automated Workflows, LLC", 
job title:"President", business phone number:"610-935-0652", 
business address:{street address:"116 Cold Stream Road", 
city:"Phoenixville", state:"PA", zip:"19460", country:"USA"}, 
business web page:"http://www.automatedworkflows.com", 
email address:{{label:"Work", contents:"ben@automatedworkflows.com"}}}
end tell
--> contact id 18 of application "Microsoft Entourage"


Figure 4. A Newly Created Contact

Please note that, in the example code above, AppleScript records were used to assign values to certain contact properties. This is because these properties reference classes that contain properties of their own. For example, the business address property of a contact references a value of class postal address. The postal address class possesses street address, city, state, zip, and country properties.

Working with Events

AppleScript may also be used to interact with calendar events in Entourage. Like outgoing messages and contacts, events may be created using the make command. For example, the following code will create a new event for this year's Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco. Figure 5 shows an example of the newly created event.

set theStartDate to date "Monday, June 11, 2007 12:00:00 AM"
set theEndDate to date "Friday, June 15, 2007 11:59:00 PM"
tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
   make new event with properties {subject:"WWDC", 
location:"Moscone West, San Francisco, CA",
content:"Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference", 
start time:theStartDate, end time:theEndDate}
end tell
--> event id 50 of application "Microsoft Entourage"


Figure 5. A Newly Created Event

In Conclusion

Like the other Microsoft Office applications, Entourage has fairly comprehensive AppleScript support, and we have really only scratched the surface in this month's column. You are encouraged to explore some of the other things that can be done via scripting, such as interacting with tasks, triggering AppleScripts from Entourage rules, and more. Be sure to view Entourage's AppleScript dictionary for a complete list of its AppleScript terminology.

Another great way to get started with scripting Entourage is to download some of the many freeware and shareware AppleScripts for Entourage that have been written by third-party developers, such as Paul Berkowitz. Many of these scripts are available from the ScriptBuilders section of MacScripter.net. http://scriptbuilders.net//

Note to Readers

Many of you who are regular MacTech readers know that I have been writing monthly AppleScript columns for MacTech for several years now. In addition to writing for MacTech, I've also been busy running Automated Workflows, LLC, my AppleScript and workflow automation consulting firm. As my company has grown, so have my commitments. For this reason, I have decided that it is time to begin focusing more on my company. Therefore, this month's column will serve as my final regular MacTech column.

Throughout the years, I have received numerous emails from you, the readers. I want to thank you for your many nice comments and questions along the way. As always, my email inbox will remain open, and you are welcome to continue sending your comments and questions to me in the future at ben@automatedworkflows.com. I will also be attending WWDC 2007, and I hope to have the opportunity to meet some of you there, as well.

For a complete list of my MacTech columns, please be sure to visit the "Archives" section of the MacTech website. You can also find links to all of my MacTech columns, as well as many of my other AppleScript and Automator articles, tips, techniques, and books on my website at http://www.automatedworkflows.com.

Keep scripting!


Ben Waldie is the author of the best selling books "AppleScripting the Finder" and the "Mac OS X Technology Guide to Automator", available from http://www.spiderworks.com, as well as an AppleScript Training CD, available from http://www.vtc.com. Ben is also president of Automated Workflows, LLC, a company specializing in AppleScript and workflow automation consulting. For years, Ben has developed professional AppleScript-based solutions for businesses including Adobe, Apple, NASA, PC World, and TV Guide. For more information about Ben, please visit http://www.automatedworkflows.com, or email Ben at ben@automatedworkflows.com.

 
AAPL
$112.65
Apple Inc.
+3.24
MSFT
$47.52
Microsoft Corpora
+1.78
GOOG
$511.10
Google Inc.
+6.21

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.2.1 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Adobe After Effects CC 2014 13.2 - Creat...
After Effects CC 2014 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous After Effects customer). After Effects CS6 is still available... Read more
Command-C 1.1.7 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Tidy Up 4.0.2 - Find duplicate files and...
Tidy Up is a complete duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. With Tidy Up you can search for duplicate files and packages by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, time... Read more
Typinator 6.3 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
GraphicConverter 9.5 - Graphics editor w...
GraphicConverter is an all-purpose image-editing program that can import 200 different graphic-based formats, edit the image, and export it to any of 80 available file formats. The high-end editing... Read more
Toast Titanium 12.0.1 - The ultimate med...
Toast Titanium goes way beyond the very basic burning in the Mac OS and iLife software, and sets the standard for burning CDs, DVDs, and now Blu-ray discs on the Mac. Create superior sounding audio... Read more
QuickBooks 2015 16.0.2.1422 R3 - Financi...
Save 20% on QuickBooks Pro for Mac today through this special discount link QuickBooks Pro 2013 helps you manage your business easily and efficiently. Organize your finances all in one place, track... Read more
Remotix 3.0.6 - Access all your computer...
Remotix is a fast and powerful application to easily access multiple Macs (and PCs) from your own Mac. Features: Complete Apple Screen Sharing support - including Mac OS X login, clipboard... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Shift - Photo Filters Designed By You (...
Shift - Photo Filters Designed By You 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Elastic Drums (Music)
Elastic Drums 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Music Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: *** Introduction price 3,99$ instead of 7,99$ *** Elastic Drums is a music app with 6 channels of synthesized drum sounds, a step... | Read more »
Fireworks Simulator (Games)
Fireworks Simulator 1.0.8 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0.8 (iTunes) Description: *** 50% discount – For a short time only *** You can play Fireworks Simulator on these devices: - iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6,... | Read more »
The Hit List — Simply Powerful Tasks, To...
The Hit List — Simply Powerful Tasks, To-Dos, Projects, & Reminders 2.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $9.99, Version: 2.0 (iTunes) Description: >> LAUNCH SPECIAL: The Hit List 2 for iPhone is ONLY $9.99... | Read more »
Mahjong Journey Review
Mahjong Journey Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STEADY MATCHINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Aimed at the more laid back gamer, Mahjong Journey isn’t for everyone, but those looking for some... | Read more »
Emoji Type - custom keyboard with predic...
Emoji Type - custom keyboard with predictive emojis 0.4.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $.99, Version: 0.4.0 (iTunes) Description: Emoji Type is custom keyboard for iOS 8 that auto suggests emojis as you type. ABOUT... | Read more »
Game of the Year 2014 – 148Apps Staff Pi...
The end of 2014 is almost here, which can only mean one thing. Okay it can mean a lot of things, but in this specific context it means Game of the Year lists! Which is why the 148Apps staff have all picked their favorites from the past year. And why... | Read more »
UponPixels Review
UponPixels Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CREATIVE TYPOGRAPHYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Add cool typography and objects to your photos with the easy to use UponPixels.   | Read more »
The Vikings are Coming! CastleStorm’s Ne...
The Vikings are Coming! CastleStorm’s New Update Adds a Survival Mode Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Duet Display (Productivity)
Duet Display 0.3.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Productivity Price: $9.99, Version: 0.3.3 (iTunes) Description: Duet Display allows you to use your iPad or iPhone as an extra display. Developed by a team of ex-Apple engineers,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $400 on MacBooks with Apple Certif...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Save up to $300 on Macs, $30 on iPads with Ap...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
iOS and Android OS Targeted by Man-in-the-Mid...
Cloud services security provider Akamai Technologies, Inc. has released, through the company’s Prolexic Security Engineering & Research Team (PLXsert), a new cybersecurity threat advisory. The... Read more
KMI MIDI K-Board Great Gift for Amateur &...
The K-Board is a MIDI Nano keyboard for music creation for iPad, Android, And computers; the easiest way to make music with iPads & Android tablets, and Mac, Windows, or Linux computers. Ultra-... Read more
Amazon offers 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook P...
 Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP. Stock is limited, so act now if you’re interested. Read more
Holiday sales continue: MacBook Pros for up t...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more
Holiday sale: Mac minis available for up to $...
 B&H Photo has new 2014 Mac minis on sale for up to $80 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $459 $40 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $629 $70 off... Read more
Google Search App For iOS Gets A Major Makeov...
Google has given iOS users an early Christmas present with a substantial update of it’s not-very-often-upgraded Google Search app. Google Search has been my go-to tool for Web searches since it was... Read more
ShopKeep Apple Pay And Chip Card Reader Avail...
ShopKeep, a cloud-based technology provider to more than 10,000 small business owners to manage retail shops and restaurants with iPads, has released its new Apple Pay and chip card reader. This... Read more
Holiday sale! 27-inch 5K iMac for $2299, save...
 B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.