Where are you Outlook emails (are you backing up the RIGHT files)?

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Monday, January 26th, 2015

Do you know where your emails are saved on your computer?

They may not be where you think they are. Here’s how you can find out where your emails are so that you can be sure that they are part of your backup plan.

Last week at the golf club, I spoke to a frustrated fellow golfer who had just lost all his emails…

The harddisk on his old computer had crashed… and when he used his backups top restore his data to his new computer, he was in for a shock.

His Outlook emails were not there… despite having a well-thought out and implemented plan for backing up his computer.

Because Outlook does not actually ask you to save emails in a particular location, it is easy to forget about them.

Where does Outlook save emails?

If your emails are hosted with Office 365 or MS Exchange then a copy of your current emails will be on your server. Hopefully your network administrator is backing them up.

However, if you are using a POP3 mail account (which many people still are) or if you are archiving emails outside of Exchange, you need to know where your emails are being saved.

All your emails are generally saved in one big data file (PST file… which is short for Personal Storage Table). Unfortunately Outlook does not always create this file in a folder that you would remember to backup.

Some users may also have multiple PST files with additional files for Archives etc.

To find out exactly where all your data files are in Outlook 2010/2013:

  • Click File.
  • On the Info Tab, click Account Settings and then Account Settings again.
  • Click Data Files to display a list of all your currently connected data files as shown below.

image 1

Makes sure that you are backing up all the Outlook data files shown above.

Additional Tip: If you’re not using Exchange, you may want to put your main Outlook PST files in your Documents folder. Assuming that you’re backing up your Documents folder regularly, you should be safe.

Categories : Outlook Data Backup Comments ( 0 )

Why does email waste so much time?

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

I love the New Year… and making New Year’s Resolutions. It feels like you get a brand new start to getting things right. Getting organized is the second most popular resolution (Losing Weight is #1) so we’re going to give you a series of posts on saving time by getting your emails organized this year.

But first…

What are the main reasons that email takes so much of our valuable time?

I am going to look at the common reasons. I’ll also give you some basic ideas on solutions that we will explore in more detail in later posts.

1. It is difficult to know what emails are important
Because of the sheer volume of emails, it is difficult to know which emails we should work on first. As a result, we spend a lot of time on unimportant emails… while important emails stay undone.

One solution for this is to only keep emails in your Inbox that you still need to work on and use Outlook’s flags to highlight more important emails.

However, unless you are very disciplined, you may find that you still end up with too many emails in your Inbox.

2. It takes too long to keep emails organized once we’re done with them
We need to keep emails or future reference. We need to keep them in a way that makes them easy to find in the future… and we need to be able to keep all related emails (sent and received) in a way that they are easy to retrieve them together when we want them.

The easiest thing to do is to create folders for your emails and then drag and drop them.
However because this process is very manual, many people tend to leave the emails in their Inbox or Sent Items folders which makes emails harder to find… and also harder to work on (see point 1 above).

3. We spend too long writing the same emails over and over again
A lot of the emails that we write are very similar to emails that we have written before… at least parts of them are the same. Instead of automating this, we tend to redo the same work over and over again.

For example, I often need to send our bank details to corporate customers. Typing it in each time (even if I copy and paste) can take 30 seconds or more (I need to find the old email to copy from first).

Outlook has some things built into Outlook such as Quick Steps and Quick Parts that can eliminate most of this rework for you.

A quick question for you…
I am going to do follow-up posts to offer solutions to the problems we identified above. I want to make sure that I focus on topics that you are actually interested in.

Please leave a comment below and tell me..
What email related issue is wasting (costing) you the most time?

Categories : Uncategorized Comments ( 0 )

A look at the year gone by and Welcome 2015

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Happy New Year to all our readers and their family and friends.

Hope you all had a great holiday de-stressing (hopefully not distressing) yourself and gearing up for the year ahead.

I understand it will be awhile till we all get back to actual work so we will keep the first post relatively simple.

I will just provide a quick overview of the year 2014 and the important events that took place in case you missed it… and also provide some links to the favourite post of our readers.

Mid-last year we launched a major upgrade to one of our bestselling email management tool Quick File for Outlook. The response to QuickFile for Outlook version 5 was so positive and over-whelming… I guess the credit for this goes to all the users who contributed with their awesome ideas and recommendations and pushed us to release another major upgrade after 5 years since version 4 was released.

Not just that… overtime we realized that different people used QuickFile differently based on how they work in Outlook and what they do…

On one end we had users who like to simply use QuickFile to file and organize their inbox and sent items while on the other end of the spectrum we had high end users who required much more than just filing.

To cater for all the different user groups, we created 3 different versions of QuickFile:

  • QuickFile Standard
  • QuickFile Pro
  • QuickFile Ultimate

To view the difference between the versions and choose which one best suits your end… visit the Quickfile Comparsion page.

New to QuickFile: If email overload is a problem for you… if you think that you’re not getting the right work done because of the amount of emails in your Inbox… you MUST try this. You can download a fully functional 30 day trial and see for yourself.

Existing QuickFile users: If you missed out on the upgrade, you can view the upgrade options and upgrade to the QuickFile version 5 that works best for you now.

Now let’s have a look at the top 3 Outlook tips blog post for 2014. This posts have been selected based on the NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO READ THE POST!!!

TOP POST#1: Reasons why you should avoid using BCC for emails + Alternative Solution

Outlook users BCC emails for two main reasons… sending sales/marketing emails or sending someone a copy of the email without letting the other recipients know. We strongly recommend that you DON’T use the BCC field for either purpose. Why?

Find out the 3 main reasons plus what you can do instead of using the BCC field…

Read Now

TOP POST#2: How to NOT Email Yourself when using Reply-to-All in Outlook

This post was a result of an interesting question that one of the readers asked

“Outlook includes my email address in the To field when I do a Reply-All. Clearly I do not want to email myself but Outlook lacks the intelligence to not add my email address to the email. Do you have a solution?…”

The reply to this was YES!!!

Find out what the solution was…

Read Now

TOP POST#3: Saving (Exporting) Outlook emails with your other files

Here’s a quick tip on how you can save one or more emails outside of Outlook. This is very useful if you want to save your emails on your hard disk in Client folders along with Word files etc.

There are two formats by default which you can save the emails in Outside of Outlook, these are Outlook Message format and Text only, but in this post we also showed you how to save the emails in PDF format…

Read Now

Well that pretty much raps up 2014 for us… time sure flew and without even realising we are now in year 2015.

The Standss team is ready for the year ahead and as always… we have big plans for this year as well and we will be notifying you of this once ready…

The whole Standss Team would like to once again which everyone a Happy New Year and great success for the year ahead… Thank you for being part of the Standss family and we wish to continue serving you the way we have and offering you solutions that saves you time and makes you productive.

Till next time… have a better Outlook.

Sending Personalized Holiday Season Invites, Greeting and Newsletters via Email/Fax/Traditional Post

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Monday, December 8th, 2014

christmas-day-greeting-ideas-new

Christmas is just around the corner… parties are planned and the invite list is ready.

This is the time of the year when businesses and individuals need to send out holiday season invites for parties/events… greetings to families, friends, colleagues and clients.

Most companies also send out newsletters during the year end to update their clients/members of the achievement for the year, plans for the New Year, and special offers for the holiday seasons etc.

Are you wondering how to send out personalized invites in the
most easiest and efficient way possible?

Depending on your contact list, the best way to send out your invites, greetings or newsletters this year may be using email, fax or post/hand delivery.

Most of these mailing can be considered “mass mailing” i.e. we want to send copies of the same mail to everyone… possibly customized with their name and address at most.

Microsoft Outlook and Word have some built-in features that automate this process for you. In addition we have built our own tools to further speed up and simplify the process for you.

In this post I’ll discuss both, the built in free way as well as our own addins.

Send Personalized email Invites, Greetings and Newsletters directly from Outlook.

I am going to start with what I consider to be the easiest, fastest and most powerful way of doing this… our own EmailMerge PRO for Outlook.

Seeing is believing so check out this short video on how to send out Invites, Greetings and Newsletters using EmailMerge Pro.

Send unlimited emails to unlimited number of contacts directly from Outlook. EmailMerge supports HTML emails so don’t hold back in creating beautiful and colourful emails this Christmas season :)

We also have built-in email templates for invites, greetings and newsletters. You can easily customize this emails to suit your style and personalize it yourself. You don’t have been be an expert at HTML, you can customize this templates using the standard word formatting options in Outlook.

“I have found emailmerge pro the most useful tool in my marketing armoury! It is simple to use, has some great options for sending emails and is of great value to any businesses wanting a mass email facility.”
- Lori Hope, Spraytanz Ltd
“Emailmerge Pro is a fantastic tool to personalize emails for large or small groups of people. The ability to mail merge gives you unlimited abilities to create very personalized emails. I use it to improve communication to groups ranging from 8 – 1000+.”
- Jack Fiscus, first Baptist Orlando

How to Fax out Invites, Greetings and Newsletters.

Despite what many people will have you believe, Faxing is not dead.

In fact in terms of deliverability, it can beat email – there is almost no chance that your fax won’t get delivered because of an over-zealous spam filter.

You can use Microsoft Word and the free fax printer that comes with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 to send out personalized faxes to your customers this year.

The Bad News: Windows Fax and MS Word don’t talk easily to each other out of the box.

The Good News: Fax4Word allows you to fax merge straight from Word to the Windows Fax printer.

View more information on Fax for Word

How to Print Letters and Envelopes for Posting and Hand Delivery

Even if you will be sending paper based mail this year, technology can help you.

Here are step-by-step instructions to:

Use mail-merge in Word with Outlook data to create and print personalized letters

Use mail-merge in Word with Outlook data to print mailing labels and envelopes

I hope you find the above information helpful in staying in touch with friends, families and clients this year.

Merry Christmas to all our readers from the Standss Team.

Till next time… have a better Outlook

Categories : Email Marketing, EmailMerge for Outlook Comments ( 0 )

The Best use of Outlook Rules to improve Productivity (and Reduce Distraction time)

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

I have written on several occasions that I don’t use the Outlook Rules much but I have now managed to find an excellent use of this feature which has helped me stay focused and improve my productivity.

Do you subscribe to any email newsletters, mailing lists or groups?

I often find myself going to check my email and 30 minutes later all I have done is read through “interesting” articles instead of doing any real work.

Microsoft’s built-in Rules feature provides a solution.

Let’s start off with a bit of background about Outlook Rules for “Outlook Newbies”

What are Rules in Outlook?

According to Outlook 2013 Help…

“A rule is an action that Microsoft Office Outlook takes automatically on an arriving or sent message that meets the conditions that you specify in the rule”

For example… you can set a Rule to automatically move emails from a particular email address out of the Inbox to another folder.

Normally I don’t use Rules much because…

My Inbox is my To-Do list.

I don’t want anything automatically moved out of it. Even Outlook automatically moving items after they are read is NOT acceptable because I sometimes leave stuff in there to deal with later.

I want to move emails out myself after I have finished with them – I need to stay in control of my Inbox.

I use QuickFile for Outlook to simplify email filing out of my Inbox (and Sent Items).

But in this situation it makes sense…

I want the newsletter emails moved out of my Inbox and into a folder dedicated to newsletters.

These emails are not part of my daily to-do-list and I prefer to go through them when I take a break from real work.

How to create a Rule?

BEFORE creating the Rule, create a folder inside Outlook where you want the newsletter emails to be moved to. Then…

  • Go to your Inbox
  • If you are using Outlook 2013/2010. Click on File and select the Info tab and then click on Manage Rules & Alerts.
  • For all other versions of Outlook, click Tools and then click Rules & Alerts.
  • Click on New Rule… to display the Rules Wizard as shown below:

manage_outlook_rules

  • Move Messages from someone to a folder” will already be highlighted. (This example assumes that the newsletters come from the same email address – otherwise you can use one of the other predefined Rule Templates)
  • Click “people or distribution list” to display the Rule Address screen.

rules_address

  • Choose a name from the list or type in the name in the From field and then click OK.
  • Click the hyperlink word “specified” to bring up the Choose Folder dialog. Select the desired folder from the list and then click OK.

Now that the Rule is created, any emails coming from the list will automatically be moved to the chosen folder.

You can also apply it to any emails that are already in the folder by going back to the Rules and Alerts screen and clicking the “Run Rules Now” button.

Use Rules in this way to move emails that you know are NOT part of your REAL WORK.

This keeps your Inbox clean and focused on things that need your attention.

I recommend that you don’t use Rules to shift work related emails.

Keep them coming to your Inbox and use a tool like QuickFile for Outlook to manage their filing. 

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Use Outlook Speak to Proof-Read your emails

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

I have a habit of reading my email to myself while typing it and I’m sure a lot of us do the same.

we usually read to ourselves what we are typing, but often we say the correct word to ourselves but type the wrong word.

How many times have you used Outlook to send out emails with correctly spelt but the wrong words in them?

In a earlier post, I showed you how you can avoid common spelling mistakes using Outlook’s Autotext.

Here is another great way to avoid spelling mistakes…

Get Outlook itself to READ OUT the email to you!!!

Let’s look at the example we discussed in the earlier post again:

“Our sincere apologize for any inconvenience caused”

The word “apologize” was spelled correctly but was incorrectly used. The correct word was “apologies”.

These mistakes are easy to pick up if you use Outlook’s built-in (but well hidden) feature that will read the email aloud to you.

Windows already has the ability to read text back to you. Here’s how you can add a button inside Outlook to read out selected text to you.

Note: The following tip works in Outlook 2010 and 2013 only.

  • Create a new email.
  • Right Click on a blank area of the Ribbon
  • Click Customize Quick Access Tool Bar
  • Choose Commands not in Ribbon in drop down

outlook_ribbon_options

  • Scroll and select Speak
  • Click Add
  • Click OK

Outlook will add a new button to your Quick Access Tool Bar as shown below.

outlook_speak_icon

How to use the button to get Outlook to read the email aloud to you

  • Create a new email
  • Type some text
  • Select the text that you want read out to you.
  • Click the new button that was added in the previous steps.

Outlook will read the email out to you.

Next Steps

You may also want to add the “Speak Selected Text” button to your Inbox so that you read emails that you are reading in your Reading Pane.

Go to your Inbox and follow the steps above to add the button.

Finally you can also open an email that you have received and follow the same steps so that you can hear any email that you have received or already sent.

This simple tip has improved the quality of our emails here at Standss… hope it does the same for you.

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How to NOT Email Yourself when using Reply-to-All in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Monday, October 13th, 2014

We received an email query earlier this week from one of our readers asking

Outlook includes my email address in the To field when I do a Reply-All. Clearly I do not want to email myself but Outlook lacks the intelligence to not add my email address to the email. Do you have a solution?…

The reply to this was YES!!!

We have this functionality built into our own Outlook addin called SendGuard for Outlook. You can turn this feature ON from the setting screen following the steps below:

  • Open Outlook
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, click on the Standss Outlook Addins tab > click SendGuard > Settings In Outlook 2007/2003, click on the Tools menu > Standss > SendGuard > Settings

SendGuard will display the following screen:

Reply_Guard

  • Click on the Reply Guard tab
  • Tick the checkbox for Automatically remove me when doing a Reply to All
  • Click OK

Now if you do Reply-to-All on any email, SendGuard will automatically remove your email address from the mailing list.

If you haven’t tried Send Guard for Outlook, you can download a fully functional trial of the Outlook addin.

SendGuard has a number of special filters that check outgoing emails to ensure that they are going to the correct people with all the required information. It’s built in tools include the Attachment Guard, Subject Guard, Reply (and Reply All) Guard, Account Guard, Bad Mood Guard and Send Confirm.

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Categories : Outlook Email Tips, SendGuard for Outlook Comments ( 0 )

Personalized Email helps improve Open Rates and Conversion

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

I read an interesting case study today about how a company called CloudEndure achieved 58% open rate and high quality leads by sending personalized emails to prospective leads. I would recommend that you read this article as it is a perfect example of How to generate quality leads and why personalized email marketing works.

The way that we gather insight about our leads may vary from business too business but in today’s post, we will look at a simple solution that will allow you to send out personalized emails to improve your open rates and conversions.

But first let’s understand why sending personalized emails is better?

Emails sent the wrong way are MUCH more likely to be blocked by the many levels of junk email filters that we all have (even if we don’t always know they’re there).

Junk/SPAM Mail Filters have different levels of sophistication but they all follow a few basic rules including:

  • An email with a lot of recipients is more likely to be spam than an email addressed to only my valid email address and…
  • An email that is NOT addressed to me directly is more likely to be SPAM than one that is addressed to my email address.

Many Outlook users don’t realize the multiple levels of junk email filters stopping both junk and often real emails from getting to our Inboxes.

  • Level 1 – Internet Service Provider: Most ISPs now have Junk Mail Filters setup on their servers. These filters do their work even before the email gets to our computers i.e. they remove the email to a Junk Folder that can only be accessed via the Internet.
  • Level 2 – Anti Spam Software: Many users have additional anti-spam software on their computers that automatically remove and quarantine suspected spam emails.
  • Level 3 – Outlook’s built-in Junk Email Filter: Finally Outlook has its own Junk Mail filter which moves suspected junk emails to Outlook’s own Junk E-mail folder.

If you’re still sending out your Sales and Marketing Emails from Outlook by putting them all in the To, CC and BCC fields of one email then guess what… your email is most likely lost in a Junk Email Folder somewhere… it is NOT reaching the Reader.

Very few users bother checking the various Junk Mail folders… if your email is getting blocked then chances are it’s going to stay blocked.

THE SOLUTION:

Email Merge! You can use Outlook to create and send out personalized copies of the same email to many people.

Outlook has some basic mail merge functionality built into it (it uses Word to do the merge) but this does have some limitations including:

  • being harder to use
  • not being able to customize the Subject line and
  • not being able to send out your emails in smaller lots (which again impacts deliverability).

The easiest way to do this is using our own EmailMerge for Outlook addin. Our addin installs inside Microsoft Outlook and then provides a step-by-step Wizard that will guide you through your first email merge.

Watch a short demo video to see Email Merge in action or download a trial version to test it yourself.

Hope you find this tip useful with your own email marketing campaigns.

Do you know of other ways to improve open rates and conversion?

Share it with our readers our leaving a comment below.

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Reduce Distraction by limiting New Email Notification to Important Emails Only

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

It can be quite annoying when you are in the middle of something important and you keep getting notifications “you’ve got email”.

Those small pop-up windows on the right bottom corner can really divert your attention especially when you are working on something that is very stressful or the work has come to a point which required a difficult decision… and you were hoping to find something easier to do in your Inbox… something to help you avoid the difficult decision… imagine getting a notification “Happy Hour Tonight from 6pm to 7pm” or “50% off on all iphones

I have personally turned off this notifications except for very important emails for example emails from clients and families.

In this post today, I will show you how to set email notifications for important emails only.

Firstly you will have to turn off all the desktop alerts:

  • Open Outlook
  • Click on the File tab > Options
  • Click on Mail in the left pane
  • Scroll down to the message arrival section and UNTICK the option for “Display a Desktop Alert
  • Click OK

This will now turn off all email notifications.

Next… we will be creating rules which will display the email notification for important emails only that meet the set criteria.

  • Go to your Inbox.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, go to the Home tab and click Rules > Manage Rules and Alerts

In Outlook 2007/2003, Click Tools > Rules and Alerts to display the Rules dialog box.

 outlook_rules_alert

  • Click the New Rule button to display the Rules Wizard screen.

 outlook_rules_wizard

  • Click “Display mail from someone in the New Item Alert Window”. (A on the picture above)
  • Click on “people or distribution list” (B on the picture above) to display the Rule Address screen. In Outlook 2010/2013, it would say “people or public group“)
  • Select someone from the list or type in the person’s email address in the From: field.
  • Click OK to go back to the Rules Wizard screen.
  • Click “a specific message” (C on the picture above)
  • Type in what you want the alert message to say and click OK e.g. Email from Boss!
  • Click Finish

The next time you receive an email from that person (like your Client/Boss), Outlook will display a message over everything else that you are working on.

This simple trick has helped me stay focused on real work and also made me efficient in deciding which emails need my attention first and which ones can wait.

I hope it works well for you too.

If you find this tip useful or have your own tips for better email notifications, please leave a comment on the blog.

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Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 0 )

Reasons why you should avoid using BCC for emails + Alternative Solution

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Outlook users BCC emails for two main reasons… sending sales/marketing emails or sending someone a copy of the email without letting the other recipients know. We strongly recommend that you DON’T use the BCC field for either purpose. Why?

  • Your sales/marketing emails will probably get caught in SPAM filters: Stuffing the TO/CC/BCC field with email addresses makes your email look like spam and it might be caught by the SPAM filters, which means your recipients might never receive your email about an important announcement/sale/event etc.
  • Your sales/marketing email might not get read even if it gets past the spam filter (because it looks too much like a sales email to the recipient)
  • If you used BCC to keep a recipient hidden from others, imagine what would happen if the hidden recipient did a reply-to-all! Suddenly the other recipients would be aware that you had been using BCC and depending on the nature of the email conversation, this may be viewed as dishonest or sneaky.

What to do instead of using the BCC field?

Send Personalized Individual emails (Marketing or Sales emails)

Your emails have a better chance of reaching the recipients inbox if it is personalized and addressed to that person.

You can either send the same email to the recipients one at a time (compose a new email and copy paste the content) which would be time consuming… or

You can use an easy mail merge tool like Email Merge for Outlook to send out personalized individual copies of the email to each recipient. Each recipient will get a personalized copy of the email which is addressed only to him/her.

Forward Emails (when you need to hide a recipient from the others)

If you need to send someone a copy of an email without others knowing about it, don’t BCC them on it. Instead send the email out to the “disclosed” list of recipients. Then forward a copy of the Sent email to the “hidden” recipient. Now if the hidden recipient reply’s to the email, the reply will only come to you.

Avoid accidental Reply-To-Alls yourself

If you or others in your organization are dealing with confidential information that you are BCCed on, you might want to also look at Send Guard for Outlook to avoid doing an accident Reply-to-all yourself!

Send Guard has special filters that check emails as you respond to them and as they are sent out.

A special prompt will warn you and ask for confirmation if you reply to an email on which you have been BCCed.

This can avoid the accidental disclosure to other recipients that we referred to earlier.

I hope you find this tip useful.

If you know of other email abuses or ways to avoid email abuses, share it with us by leaving a comment below

Related Posts:

How to create NON-SPAM emails that get opened and read

When to BCC Emails in Outlook

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