Sending TNEF/Rich-Text appointments from Exchange to GroupWise

  • 7014745
  • 14-Mar-2014
  • 26-Jan-2018

Environment

Novell GroupWise 2014
Novell GroupWise 2012 Support Pack 2
Novell GroupWise 8 Support Pack 3 Hot Patch 1

Situation

Why do Microsoft Exchange appointments sent from Outlook to GroupWise recipients, show up as mail messages in the GroupWise client, rather than correctly formatted iCAL appointments ?

Resolution

NOTE:  
Make sure that if the problem described in this document occurs, that you first make sure that iCAL is enabled on the GWIA, if there are multiple GWIA's in use make sure it is enabled on all GWIA's.  For GW2014 GWIA, you can check this under the properties of the GWIA, SMTP / MIME tab, Settings, "Enable iCal Service" .

TNEF is a proprietary Microsoft format. In essence, the Exchange System has the GroupWise user configured as an Exchange user (remote domain contact in this case). As of the date of this document, Novell has not committed to enhancing GroupWise to decode the Microsoft proprietary TNEF/Rich-Text data in the "winmail.dat" attachment of the e-mail that it sends in order to create a GroupWise appointment. Also it should be noted that Microsoft has not published or shared information about TNEF that would allow us to better decode these types of messages.

It should also be noted that in both GroupWise 14.2.2 and GroupWise 18, we have an improved TNEF parser built into the GroupWise Internet Agent ( GWIA ).  It will be officially available when Service Pack 1 ships for GroupWise18 before mid year 2018 (but is also in GW18 FTF build 129350 or higher).  As far as GroupWise 14.2.2 FTF builds that would have this improved TNEF parser, it is present in the current 14.2.2 FTF build 129349 or higher.

Cause

Note: This document was written with Exchange 2010/Outlook 2010 in mind, however this document also applies to past versions of Exchange/Outlook and likely newer versions of Exchange/Outlook, as long as the current configuration/structure of TNEF, winmail.dat and MAPI exist.

As will be discussed, It should be noted that the receiving of TNEF/Rich-Text formatted messages was intended for Exchange/Outlook users only, not to non-Microsoft e-mail systems.  TNEF/Rich-Text is a proprietary Microsoft method of encoding data or Exchange/Outlook features within the Exchange e-mail system.

1.  Quote from Microsoft : http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb310786.aspx :

"You can specify whether Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format (TNEF) should be preserved or removed from messages that leave the Exchange organization. TNEF, also known as Outlook Rich Text Format, is a Microsoft-specific format for encapsulating MAPI message properties. All versions of Microsoft Outlook fully understand TNEF. However, email clients that don't understand TNEF typically display TNEF formatted messages as plain text messages with Winmail.dat or Win.dat attachments."

GroupWise recipients, typically are configured by Exchange administrators, to show up in the Exchange GAL (Global Address List), as external users or contacts in a Remote Domain.

As discussed in the above Microsoft technical document, there are "TNEF conversion options" for Remote Domains (such as could be represented by a GroupWise system and it's users).  

TNEF Conversion options are :

  a.  TNEF enabled : TNEF is used for ALL messages sent to the remote domain.

  b.  TNEF disabled : TNEF is never used for any messages sent to the remote domain.

  c.  UNSPECIFIED   : TNEF messages aren't specifically allowed or prevented for recipients in the remote domain.  Whether TNEF messages are sent to recipients in the remote domain depends on the specific setting on the mail contact or mail user, or the setting specified by the SENDER in Outlook.  

2.  Quote from Microsoft knowlege base document - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290809 :
    
"The use of TNEF is commonly affected by settings in Outlook that are referred to as Microsoft Outlook Rich Text Format (RTF). Rich Text Format and TNEF are not exactly the same, but they are closely related.

 A TNEF-encoded message contains a plain text version of the message, and a binary attachment that "packages" various other parts of the original message. In most cases, the binary attachment is named Winmail.dat, and may include the following information: •The formatted text version of the message (for example, font information and colors).

•OLE objects (for example, embedded pictures and embedded Microsoft Office documents).
•Special Outlook features (for example, custom forms, voting buttons, and meeting requests).
•Regular file attachments that were added to the original message.

"Some Outlook features require TNEF encoding to be understood correctly by an Internet e-mail recipient who also uses Outlook. For example, when you send a message with Voting buttons to a recipient over the Internet, if TNEF is not enabled for that recipient, the Voting buttons are not received. Alternatively, for sending messages with regular file attachments, TNEF is not needed. If you are sending messages with file attachments to a recipient who does not use Outlook or the Exchange Client, you should manually choose to use an e-mail format that does not require TNEF (such as plain text). By not sending TNEF messages, the recipient is able to view and save the attachments as expected. "


Additional Information

Checking Exchange Administrative TNEF/Rich-Text settings :

Having said this, some ways you can check/configure if Exchange 2010 TNEF/Rich-Text is set as "ENABLED" for outgoing messages to remote domains or GroupWise contacts :

In the Exchange Management Console, under the "Organization Configuration", Hub Transport, Remote Domains tab, Both Default and GroupWise, Message Format tab, "Exchange rich-text format" section.  If the setting is set to "Always use", you will have the problem described in this document.  If this setting is listed as "Never use", you should not have this issue, unless something else in Exchange or Outlook is overriding this setting.  If the setting is "Determined by individual user settings", then the Outlook SENDER will determine if TNEF/Rich-Text is used for the outgoing message or appointment.

Another location in the Exchange Management Console to check for this setting is :

Under the "Recipient Configuration", Mail Contact, "Properties" of individually synchronized or configured external GroupWise users, "Use MAPI rich text format", can be set to "Never", "Always", "Use Default Settings".  These latter 3 settings have the same meaning as described above.

*** NOTE: For Exchange 2013 (or Exchange 2010) Administrative changes for TNEF/Rich-Text settings: ***

With the new version of Exchange, version 2013, this type of attribute change for remote domain contacts (like GroupWise users), can only be made in the Exchange Powershell command line interface.  If you have created an Exchange remote domain, that represents a GroupWise system , and have created remote domain contacts in your Exchange Admin Center Web site, and if you are experiencing the issue described in this document, you can disable TNEF/Rich-Text, and resolve this issue, by issuing these powershell commands:

           ** Note: These below commands also happen to work for Exchange 2010. **

  Set-RemoteDomain -Identity <yourRemoteDomainName> -TNEFEnabled $false

  Restart-Service MsExchangeTransport

To check if this setting took place, you can execute this powershell command:
  Get-RemoteDomain -Identity <yourRemoteDomainName> | Select TNEFEnabled

OR

If you don’t want to change this setting for an entire remote domain level, you can change this TNEF/Rich-Text setting at an individual remote domain contact level by this command, but be aware if the remote domain contacts are ALL GroupWise users, then it makes more sense to use the above listed command to change this setting at a remote domain level :

  Set-MailContact “<FirstNameOfContact> <LastNameOfContact>” –UseMapiRichTextFormat Never

To check the existing setting for this attribute for remote domain contacts or to check if the setting took place issue the command :

   Get-MailContact “<FirstNameOfContact”> <LastNameOfContact>” | where {$_.UseMapiRichTextFormat –eq “never”}


*******************************************************************

Checking Outlook client TNEF/Rich-Text settings :

How to Control TNEF in Messages

You can control TNEF by three methods:

Global - If you change your default e-mail format to plain text or Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), it helps to make sure that TNEF is not sent unless an Outlook feature needs it.

Per Recipient - You can specify in the recipient's e-mail address to not send TNEF so that a recipient always receives plain text versions of the message.

Per Message - When you compose a new message, or replying to a received message.

Method 1: How to make a Global Change for TNEF

For Microsoft Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013:

To turn off TNEF, follow these steps:
1.  Click the File tab, click Options, and then click Mail.
2.  In the Compose in this message format list, click Plain Text or HTML, and then click OK.

 
For Microsoft Office Outlook 2007:

Follow these steps to turn off TNEF:

1.  On the Tools menu, click Options, click the Mail Format tab.
2.  In the Compose in this message format list, click Plain Text or HTML, and then click OK.


For Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and earlier versions of Outlook:

Follow these steps to turn off TNEF:

1.  On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab.
2.  In the Send in this message format list, click Plain Text or HTML, and then click OK.

 
Method 2: How to make a Per Recipient Change for TNEF
For Outlook 2010:

In the Contacts Folder:

To turn off TNEF, follow these steps:

1.  Open the recipient's record in the Contacts folder.
2.  Double-click the recipient's email address.
3.  The Contact Card appears. Click View more options for interacting with this persona, and then click Outlook properties.
Choose Send Plain Text only in the Internet Format list.
 
 
For Outlook 2007 and earlier versions:

In the Contacts Folder

Follow these steps to turn off TNEF:

1.  Open the recipient's record in the Contacts folder.
2.  Double-click the recipient's e-mail address.
3.  Choose Send Plain Text only in the Internet Format box.

In the Personal Address Book

Note Personal Address Books (.pab) can no longer be created or used in Outlook 2007.

Use the following steps to turn off TNEF:

1.  Locate the recipient in the Personal Address Book.
2.  Double-click the recipient's e-mail address.
3.  Click to clear the Always send to this recipient in Microsoft Exchange Rich Text Format check box, and then click OK.
 
 
Method 3: How to make a Per message change for TNEF

For Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013:


To turn off TNEF, follow these steps:
 
1.  Open a new mail message, or click Reply on a received message.
2.  On the Format Text tab, click HTML or Plain Text.


For Outlook 2007:

Use the following steps to turn off TNEF:

1.  Open a new mail message, or click Reply on a received message.
2.  On the Options tab, click HTML or Plain Text.


For Outlook 2003 and earlier versions of Outlook:

Use the following steps to turn off TNEF.

1.  Open a New mail message, or click Reply on a recently received message.
2.  On the Mail Format toolbar, click to select Plain Text or HTML from the dropdown menu.


One last comment: 
Some customers wonder when 1 single iCAL meeting request in Outlook is SENT to say 10 GroupWise recipients, yet 5 will see the problem and 5 will not see this problem.  How could this be ?, should they all see the problem or all not see the problem if the Outlook user sent 1 meeting request ? :

Answer:
When Exchange encodes and sends out the iCAL appointment, it is not just sending 1 mime message that represents the iCAL appointment, it sends multiple mime messages based in part on the individual recipient TNEF/Rich-Text configuration settings noted above.  5 GroupWise users could be configured to send rich-text and 5 other GroupWise users could be configured to send out with no rich-text.