It is no secret that Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 (SP1) introduces many new GUI features to the Exchange Management Console User interface (UI). I’ve already covered many of the new features as well as any improvements to existing UI features in previous articles of mine. In this article, we’ll look at just another new and very useful UI feature included in Exchange 2007 SP1, and that’s the new Export List feature. The Export List feature allows us to export lists from the Result and or Work pane in the Exchange Management Console, Public Folder Management Console, Details Templates Editor, and the Queue Viewer. Some of you might recall there was an Export list feature available back in Exchange 2003 and that’s completely right. But the Export list feature in Exchange 2003 could only be used to export Mailbox related details as shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Export Mailbox List Feature in Exchange 2003 System Manager Console
The cool thing about the Export List feature in Exchange 2007 SP1 is that it can be used with any result or work pane lists in any of the aforementioned Exchange 2007 consoles. For example, we have created a filtered list of all user mailboxes containing the word Test in the Alias name in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2: Exporting user mailboxes containing Test in the Alias
When clicking Export List in the Action pane, we have the option of specifying the format the list should be exported as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Specifying the format in which the list should be exported
Exporting different kinds of lists can be very useful for reporting and statistics as well as migration scenarios. Among other things, we could, for, example, export all user mailboxes from one Exchange organization to a CSV file and then use that same CSV file as a basis for creating new user mailboxes in another Exchange organization. Note that you aren’t limited to the default columns in the result pane as you can add additional columns by clicking View and then Add/Remove Columns (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Adding/Removing Columns to the Result pane
As you can imagine, a combination of filtered lists, custom columns and the Export List feature gives you endless possibilities, when it comes to exporting specific objects as well as any required details for these objects. Of course the filtered lists you can create in the Exchange Management Console are not as efficient as OPATH filters in the Exchange Management Shell, but they are sufficient for Exchange admins in many of the Enterprise Messaging organizations around the world.
The Export List feature is also very useful when you, for example, build the documentation for your Exchange 2007 Messaging environment. Let’s say you have several hundred Exchange 2007 Servers in your messaging environment and you want to get a list of each server including the server roles installed, version and build number, edition and the Active Directory site it belongs to. No problem at all! You just select the Server Configuration work center node, and then add the required columns and click Export List in the Action pane and voila, you can now export all the listed servers to either a Text (tab delimited), Text (comma delimited), Unicode text (tab delimited), or Unicode text (comma delimited) file (Figure 5), which you then can manipulate further using Excel or whatever application you normally use for these purposes.
Figure 5: Exporting all Server object from beneath the Server Configuration work center
For instance, I created the list of servers shown in Figure 6 in less than one minute. Now I know there are only 5 servers in this particular example, but actually it would not take more than a minute or two to create such a list with several hundred - even thousands of Exchange servers.
Figure 6: Server list from CSV file imported into Excel
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, you can also use the Export List feature from within the queue viewer as well as the two new consoles - the Public Folder Management Console and the Details Templates Editor console. Using the Export List to export one or more specific queues from one or more Transport servers in your organization can help give you an indication of how busy these servers are during a specific time of day. You could create a top ten list of the largest Public Folders in your Public Folder hierarchy, so that you could bring the list with you to a status meeting. Hey I could go on and on, but I think you have a clear picture now, so instead I’ll leave it up to you spend a couple of hours in your Exchange Message environment, so you can try it out for yourself. Just remember that exporting several thousands of objects can put quite a burden on your Exchange Server(s). Said in another way, it is wise to test things out in your lab environment first (you do have a lab environment right?).
The new Export List feature included in Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 is indeed a welcome feature, since it is extremely useful for several different tasks such as migrations, reporting and statistics. Although you could export the same type of information using the Exchange Management Shell in the Exchange 2007 RTM version, not all Exchange admins feel confident when they have to switch to the shell. Of course you can create much more sophisticated lists using OPATH as well as output the result directly to additional formats such as HTML, but the Export List feature in the Exchange Management Console should be sufficient for most Exchange admins.