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09 October 2012

FAQ Articles For Outlook, SharePoint, Excel And Web With One Tool


KBase logotype
With KBase you can stop asking "who remembers how
that issue was solved?". This knowledge base application from kalmstrom.com Business Solutions can be used for FAQ or for any other kind of documentation and sharing of information. Now it will soon come in a new version, KBase V3.

Goodbye to public folders and shared mailboxes
For many years KBase has been running totally inside Outlook, and you have had to use a public folder or shared mailbox to share the articles within the workgroup. Now Microsoft is planning to cut down on support for public folders, and shared mailboxes also have their disadvantages.

Therefore the kalmstrom.com developers are doing a rebuild of KBase, and version 3 will instead have a local installation that loads data from both Outlook and a source outside Outlook. This source can be an Access database, an SQL Server database or a SharePoint site. The change will make it possible to support Office 365 and both the 32- and the 64-bit versions of Outlook 2010 and 2013, and it also gives very good future development possibilities.

Knowledge base in Outlook
Outlook iconIn KBase V3 the knowledge base articles will be saved in Outlook in the same way as e-mails and appointments. An article is an Outlook post item that has been given two hierarchic dropdowns, one for Category and one for Type. Many Types can be associated to each Category, and when a category is selected the Type dropdown will be populated with the associated types. The default view for the KBase Outlook folder shows the articles, or FAQ, grouped first by Category and then by Type.

Text can be written or pasted into the articles, and images, links and attachments may be added. As the articles are Outlook post items all the Outlook tools, like format text and spell check can be used.

Several options for reading KBase articles
The KBase knowledge base articles cannot only be watched in Outlook. Several more options are given. Each team can choose the option(s) that suits the team members best. For a geographically distributed team the SharePoint or website options will probably be best, but it is also possible to show the knowledge base articles in Outlook Web Access. Other teams may prefer having the knowledge base in Outlook or Excel.

Export to Excel
Excel iconTo export KBase articles from Outlook to Excel you just have to click on a button in the Outlook ribbon, and you are asked if you want to export all articles or only some of them, if you wish to include attachments and if you wish to show the articles in HTML in the Excel datasheet. KBase will remember your choices and show them as default the next time.

Export to webpages
With a click of a button all or selected articles can be exported to the website of your choice. A table of content may be generated automatically, and the articles can be grouped by Category and Type. Below you can see how the default user interfaces will look for content page and article page.
KBase on the web 1
KBase on the web 2
For a broader use of KBase articles, outside a workgroup, the website option is the obvious choice. Create for example FAQ pages with KBase in Outlook and then export them to the website.

Create new articles in SharePoint
SharePoint iconIf you prefer to use SharePoint, the knowledge articles may be embedded in a SharePoint site. In a future version we will create a nicer user interface for embedded KBase articles, but it works fine even with the current version.

If the SharePoint option is used for sharing and storage also, version 3 of KBase will give a possibility to create knowledge base articles directly from SharePoint. You can use formatting and add attachments to the articles, just like when you create them in Outlook. Therefore the SharePoint alternative is a good option for FAQ articles on a company intranet.

KBase is used as a complement to Folder HelpDesk and HelpDesk OSP by many Community Members, but we also sell KBase as a stand alone product. Iam sure all these users will be happy about the new version.