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As noted in a previous update post on my Foxit PDF Previewer for Outlook and Vista/Windows 7, there is an issue in the Office 2010 64-bit Beta (specifically Outlook) for executing 32-bit preview handlers on 64-bit Outlook.  I’ve got an update for those temporarily.

First, I can confirm that the issue is fixed in the later builds of Outlook 2010, so this fix is indeed only temporary.

Thanks to some assistance that Leo Davidson provided, I was able to provide a work around for my previewer that I’ve been able to confirm “works for me” on my installation of Outlook 64-bit on Windows 7 64-bit edition.

WARNING: This temporary fix involves messing with your registry.  You should do this with caution.  While I’ve done it successfully and tested fine, don’t hold me responsible if you computer catches on fire or neighbor pet animals die by doing this.  You should backup your registry before applying this to be safe.  Again, that said, it’s minor, only updates my application area settings and shouldn’t interfere with your settings.

The fix involves massaging some registry settings.  I’ve provided the registry settings in a file you can download here: FoxitPreviewerTempFix.zip.  There are two (2) registry files here.  Even though they are labeled 32-bit and 64-bit, they both need to be merged for this fix to work.  You should be able to double-click the .reg file and it will merge it auotomatically.  Additionally you can start regedit.exe and use the Import option (this is what I do).

Once complete, and assuming you have my previewer installed, then PDF preview attachment with my handler for Outlook 64-bit should be fixed for you.  Again, the requirement first here is that you have my Foxit PDF Previewer installed FIRST.

Please leave comments if this solved your issue.  This is ONLY for Outlook 2010 64-bit.  This is not necessary if you are running Outlook 2010 (32-bit), even if you are on Windows 64-bit.  That’s a lot of ‘bit’ talk I know.

Hope this helps! (and thanks Leo!)

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For those that may use my Foxit PDF Previewer (for use with Outlook 2007 or Windows Vista and Windows 7), I wanted to provide a few updates.

Blank white screen previews

I’ve been getting quite a few reports lately about white screen previews while the PDF file renders fine in other readers.  After some research and patient testing with some of you that reported it, it’s been determined that the consistent piece is that the PDFs were documents that were scanned.  These documents in the PDF format contained a different format of encoded images.  The current incarnation of the Foxit PDF Previewer does not have the decoder embedded within the product.  Here is the workaround to get it to work:

  1. Download the JPEG2000/JPIG decoder file directly from Foxit: JPEG200 Decoder.
  2. Take the contents of that ZIP file (fxdecode1.dll) and place it in the directory where you installed the Foxit PDF Previewer (if you accepted all the defaults it will likely be c:\Program Files \Tim Heuer\Foxit PDF Preview Handler)
  3. That’s it !

The decoder library isn’t currently licensed for me to distribute with the previewer and thus this workaround.  It may be possible in a future version that this functionality will be built in, but this is a minor workaround.  The decoder is built into the Foxit SDK for version 3 (the previewer uses version 2).

Outlook 2010 Technical Preview

I have also received some comments from beta testers of Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview.  These reports have indicated that the previewer does not work in 64-bit mode for Outlook.  I can confirm this to be true.  I’ve logged a bug with the Outlook developer team to track this issue and will make any modifications necessary to make it work.  Please feel free to subscribe here for Foxit PDF Previewer specific updates (you may also subscribe to my main feed as well).

I would like to remind participants of the Office 2010 technical preview program of any confidentiality agreements they may have agreed to and to respect those in public.  If you are a part of the program, please log an official bug with the Outlook 2010 program channels with regard to Foxit Previewer not working…this will help my cause :-).

That is all.  Thanks for being a user of the software and as always, thanks to Foxit Software for being such a great partner to provide the licensing of the SDK for this software to exist.  They make other great PDF software so be sure to check them out.

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Hello readers!  If you are a Foxit user, please update your reader software to the latest version ASAP.  A recent exploit was found by a security research firm and Foxit turned around an update to their reader within 24 hours.  Bravo to the Foxit team for being very agile and getting this rectified.

After some further research and discussion with the development team it was found that the ActiveX component used in the PDF Preview Handlers might also be vulnerable.  To reconcile this, Foxit has issued a patched (and updated) version of the ActiveX control for the preview handlers.  I have since patched  both the Vista and the XP versions accordingly and tested them on several Vista and XP SP2 machines accordingly.

If you are using these and have installed them PRIOR to 07-MAY-2008), please take a moment to proceed with the following:

    1. Close any instance of Outlook 2007.
    2. Uninstall any versions of the Foxit PDF Preview Handler from your system.
    3. Download the latest version of the PDF Preview Handler (Vista or XP). 
    4. Install the latest version.

Note: that the previous links have been updated with the patched versions as well just in case.

That should do it!  If you find any issues, please report them to me.  Thanks again to Foxit for being responsive and aggressive in this manner and for their support of the PDF Preview Handlers.

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i'm very frustrated now.  the title says it all.  let me explain my scenario, tell you how i found out the problem and give you the suggested workaround from apple.

the setup

i have a few phones laying around, and being the gadget geek i am, i do have an iphone that i've been using lately.  my setup consists of syncing my iphone to my pc laptop for contacts/calendering and to my macbook for music/photos/movies/podcasts.  it is a simple setup really, and allows me to keep my work machine for work (i don't have music or anything on my work machine) and my home machine attached to my media storage libraries, etc. 

everything was running smoothly even though it is quite annoying to cable sync -- i wish over-the-air was possible.

my situation

i missed an appointment the other day.  i was on the road and didn't get an alert.  it wasn't a terribly important appointment (meeting a friend for lunch), but still i was embarrassed.  my memory is not that of an elephant and i rely on technology to keep my sane.  when i returned to my laptop i noticed that my appointment was on my calendar, but it wasn't synced to my phone.  weird.  i began investigating.

i did a few tests.  i restored the phone to factory default.  i did a one-way force sync on calendars.  i synced under a new profile.  i re-installed itunes.  i did everything the troubleshooting steps said to do, which by the way included an arrogant statement of basically asking me to uninstall any other add-on that i might have and that the itunes helper should be the only add-on enabledto work.  alas, a few appointments were still not syncing.  and then i looked closer and noticed a trend.

the appointments that were not syncing were meeting requests sent from other people.

i first thought 'holy crap, no meeting requests from other people at all are being synced' but that was not the case.  i could isolate it to meeting requests from other people but it was so sporadic that it was driving me insane.  so i began to research as best i can and then i resorted to calling support...something i did not want to do, but even us techies must admit we need help...and i exhausted all my knowledge.

i called support and was told the wait time was 5 minutes.  after a few minutes i was disconnected.  argh.  immediately my phone rang though and it was apple support apologizing for the disconnect and wanting to continue the case.  very good customer service!

i explained the situation to the agent and he began to search.  he pointed me to a knowledge base article explaining the problem and asked me to read it and if i'd follow the steps while he held on.  after browsing it i immediately saw this was not going to end well for me.

the problem (confirmed)

turns out that itunes/iphone will only sync calendar items that are explicitly of a certain message class (IPM.Appointment).

a message class is basically a template.  there are defaults and then developers who create add-ons can inherit from those templates and provide added functionality.

after following the steps i could see that the two appointments that i was testing with indeed were of type "IPM.Appointment.Location" and that i immediately realized my issue. 

the agent explained that i'd have to manually alter the message class type to get them to sync. 

what?!

he further explained that this was a problem in outlook and i should contact microsoft.  um yeah, i really don't think it is a problem with outlook.  the template is the same.  i then discovered that what is happening here had nothing to do with MY add-ins, but rather the add-ins installed on the meeting organizer.  the ".Location" is indicative that someone has installed the Live Maps add-in for outlook.  it adds value to the appointment template.  but what is happening for me is that when THAT PERSON sends me a meeting request, it uses their template.  i as the end user don't see that of course (unless i follow the proposed apple steps) and thus i'm left baffled.  since i cannot control what someone sending me has on their computer, i, the apple end user am screwed.

i was then pointed to a microsoft knowledge base article explaining how to alter the message class.  okay, so let me get this straight...you want me to change my view in outlook to identify these items, then create a VBScript application to change them?  or better yet, USE A WORD DOC TO CHANGE OUTLOOK ITEMS (shame on microsoft for this one, yes that is actually the recommendation and provided template).  clearly none of this is passing the mother-in-law test.  i'm tech savvy and understand all this, but let us put this into layman situations. 

see jane.  see jane have an appointment.  see it on jane's calendar.  see jane sync.  no appointment.  see jane verify appointment exists on her calendar.  see jane confused why it is not syncing and no errors or warnings presented.

see dick.  see dick ignore that an item is on a calendar and not alert the user that there might be items that didn't sync because their developers are too lazy to figure out it is a base template and they can still get the information.  apple, don't be a dick.

so my workflow now suggested by apple went from: plug in iphone and sync to plug in iphone; sync; scan calendar to see what didn't sync; see items not syncing and verify their message class; change message class using a word doc; re-sync.  holy flippin poo man.  this is ridiculous.  seriously.  people write bad software (microsoft is not immune to this either), but when you see a problem and hear complaints, rectify it please.

the solution

sadly, the process in the word doc actually works well.  i just couldn't see myself using a word doc to do this all the time.  i took a cue from scott hanselman and took the vba code in the word doc and just imported it into an overall outlook macro.  here's what i did.

first:  download the word doc -- as lame as that implementation is, the code is already there for you with a good analyze tool as well.

second:  open the doc and get to the visual basic editor (developer tab...if you don't see this you'll have to change your office settings to show the developer tab).  in the editor expand the forms section and choose export to file:

third:  open outlook and go to the tools menu, then choose macros.  create a macro (type a name and click create):

forth:  right click on the project and choose import file...point to the form you exported in step 2 above.  it should import no problems (or at least 'worked on my machine'):

fifth:  in the subroutine for the macro add this code (this assumes you kept the same form name):

frmMessageClass.Show

i implemented the rest by customizing my toolbar and pointing to the macro, so now i have a button on my toolbar that i can run:

and when i run it i get the functionality i need:

note in the picture above there is an 'analyze' button -- i highly recommend you use this first if you are having this problem.  the result of analyze will show you what is in the dialog to the right of it (i already cleaned mine up so it only shows the good stuff) and if you had any non IPM.Appointment items, they would show here...then you could clean them up.  the screenshot above shows the setting you would want (make sure it says "IPM.Appointment" and not the default of this tool "IPM.Appointment." [note trailing dot] -- i fixed this in my macro code after import and you could too).

when you run the tool it will change things appropriately and you can resync.  if you use this tool you will not need to change your views, etc. as recommended by the apple article.  so if you are running into this problem, make your voice heard.  add your comments to this thread, vote this thread useful and see if we can get support people to listen.  you can also submit a bug report (as i did) to the iphone feedback area.

i'm sure there will be some that argue this isn't a bug.  i'll vehemently disagree...as those arguing that will be geeks that understand the technical situation.  step back and put yourself in an end user shoe's -- you see it on your calendar and it ain't syncing -- and no errors.  i think even the tech would admit that hey, even if it is by design, you should alert the user to what didn't get synced and why.  the solution should be fairly simple.  instead of:

if (messageClass == "IPM.Appointment")

do

if (messageClass.contains("IPM.Appointment") {
  try {
    // sync and ensure elements are there
  }
  catch {
    // log to file to alert user after done
  }
}

c'mon apple, fix this.

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Welcome LifeHacker visitors!

[UPDATE: More updated information and alternative download links here: Foxit PDF Previewer.]

UPDATE: If you are experiencing problems with 'white page' PDF previewing, it is likely the PDF has scanned images.  See this post for an update on how to fix: Foxit Previewer Update.

in my daily work i spend a majority of my 'computing' time in outlook.  communicating with peers, team members, customers, etc. is mostly done via communication (sad, i know).  a lot of that time it involves sending information attachments back and forth, using office documents, etc.  i've said a lot about how much i love the preview functionality within vista and office 2007.  i even wrote a code preview handler for .cs, .vb, .sql, .js files.

one of the samples in the msdn article by stephen toub was for pdf files...of which i receive a lot.  i don't use adobe reader because i think it is overkill for reading pdf's personally.  the sample, however, relies on having adobe reader installed...which i didn't like.  i started working with the , because i love their reader product.  after some communication with the team at foxit, we started collaborating.

as a result of that collaboration, and i partnered to create the 'foxit pdf preview handler' which you can download for free!  this is a pdf preview handler for outlook 2007 and windows vista.  the current version requires vista, but we are working on a windows xp version for outlook 2007 on winxp.  what this enables you to do is, well...the following:

Foxit PDF Preview Handler

no need for adobe to be installed, etc.  it's fast, it's furious.

there is no official support included for this add-on, but i'm happy to field questions/suggestions myself.  keep in mind, i'm not going to be (nor will they) altering the pdf renderer...that's their product.  if you need pdf rendering capabilities within your application, i highly suggest looking at integrations using their dll and activex sdk's for your applications.  they are a great company with a great team.  it's a global team and they were very responsive throughout our communication.  i really appreciated their willingness to collaborate on something so simple and helpful to the greater community.  please give them a look-over.

why the 'banner' in the pdf render?  well, it's free :-).  that only shows up there as well...won't be in the printed document or anything...i think it is great to give them credit and a simple, small, unobtrusive banner is entirely appropriate.

please download the foxit pdf preview handler and install today!

Alternate Download Links here.

UPDATE (28-MAR-2008): Windows XP only version here.

file: Foxit PDF Preview Handler