Skype IM Pretty Printer
VBA macro for Outlook that nicely formats a Skype chat excerpt
and pastes it into a new message.
Download Now and refer to the
installation instructions, or read on.
Nicely formatted chat…
- Clearly seen participant names
- Non-obtrusive timestamps
- Visually separated messages
- Clickable URLs
…becomes alphabet soup
- Looks like one block of text
- No dates shown if the chat is fresh…
- …yet timestamps clutter the view
- Author names are hard to identify
- URLs/emoticons are not recognized
Outlook VBA comes to the rescue! What else would you have expected from
a project done by a Director of Marketing, anyway?
Just 200 lines of code and my Outlook has a toolbar button…
…which creates a new message and pastes a nicely formatted chat in it!
- Participant names empahsized, shortened on repeat
- Full date inserted at the top
- Timestamps appear only after long breaks
- There is vertical space between messages
Unfortunately, I know of no elegant way to distribute VBA macros,
and I have not had the time (and skills) to convert this macro
into an Outlook COM Add-in. So below is the manual installation
procedure that has worked for my colleagues at Excelsior.
I have only verified the below instructions against the US English version of
Step 1: Create a Digital Certificate
If you have never created or installed any Office macros,
you need to create a self-signed digital certificate first.
Otherwise, you may skip this step.
From the Start Menu, select
All Programs /
Microsoft Office /
Microsoft Office Tools /
Digital Certificate for VBA Projects
Enter a name for the certificate, e.g. your Windows user name, and click
Step 2: Enable Signed Macros
In the main Outlook window, select Trust Center
from the Tools menu, and then select
Make sure that the option
Warnings for signed macros; all unsigned macros are disabled
is selected and click OK.
Step 3: Import the Macro
Press Alt-F11. The Visual Basic Editor shall open.
On the File menu, click Import File.
Select the SkypeIMPrettyPrinter.bas file
and click Open.
SkypeIMPrettyPrinter will appear in the list of modules.
On the Tools menu, click References.
If Microsoft Forms Object Library is not checked, check it and click
OK, otherwise click Cancel.
(If you do not have that library listed at all, see
On the Tools menu, click Digital Signature,
then click Choose…, select the previously created
certificate, and click OK (twice.)
Exit Outlook. Before closing, it will prompt you
to save VbaProject.OTM. Confirm the save.
Launch Outlook again.
If you have created a new digital signature on Step 1,
do the following:
Try to open the Visual Basic Editor,
e.g. by pressing Alt-F11.
You should see a security notice dialog at this point, warning you that the
publisher has not been authenticated. That is expected behavior,
as you are using a self-signed certificate.
Click Trust all documents from this publisher.
Close the Visual Basic Editor.
Step 4: Add a Toolbar Button
On the Tools menu, click Customize,
then select the Commands tab, and select
Macros in the list of categories.
Drag the freshly added SkypeIMPrettyPrinter macro
to the desired place in the Outlook toolbar.
Right click the just added toolbar button to customize it further —
choose the display style, rename, and/or change the default icon.
Close the Customize dialog.
Step 5: Test
Copy some messages from a Skype chat to the clipboard.
Click the Outlook toolbar button you have just added.
If everything is alright, a new Outlook message shall be created
contaning the formatted messages from your Skype chat.
If you do not have any Office macros with forms, Microsoft Forms
Object Library may not be listed under Tools/References
at all. To force it into the list, select UserForm
from the Insert menu. (This will add an empty form
to the project, which you may later remove if you wish.)
Skype IM Pretty Printer is written by
Dmitry Leskov (me),
and open sourced under the MIT/X11 license.
However, as I have created it during an
internal Hack Day,
the copyright belongs to the company.