Monthly Archives: October 2011


Double Celebration Discount (Rugby World Cup + Diwali)

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Monday, October 24th, 2011

This is a fantastic week for me with two big things to celebrate… the New Zealand All Blacks winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup and Diwali (the Hindu Festival of Lights). I’ll tell you about both of these in this post but first…

To celebrate this double celebration, we’re offering a discount to our readers, just enter the coupon code DIWALI to get $10 off your order for a full version of any Outlook addin on our website
(discount does not apply to upgrades or bundles).

Now the reasons for celebrating…

The All Blacks win the 2011 Rugby World Cup

I know that Rugby is not too big in some countries but it is the biggest sport in this part of the world… and my favourite team (the New Zealand All Blacks) just won the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The All Blacks have been the number one rated team for most of the last 12 years… They have gone into the last 3 world cups rated the number one team in the world and yet seem to choke during the most important tournament (that is only held once in 4 years) in the rugby world.

Despite coming in to so many world cups rated number 1, they had only won the cup once… and that was 24 years ago.

The French team in particular have been a jinx for the All Blacks. In 2003 the French beat us in the semi-finals, in 2007 they humiliated us in the quarter-finals. Both times the All Blacks were meant to thrash the French… but someone forgot to tell that to the French rugby team.

So it was really exciting that this year, the All Blacks were playing our nemesis France in the finals. France have not had a good world cup and even lost two of their pool games. This year we KNEW we were going to thrash them… it was going to be sweet revenge for the last two times!

But again the French team were misinformed… and did not stick with the plan. They played an amazing game of rugby. In the end the All Blacks were lucky to come off with a win with the closest of margins 8-7.

It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take the win.

This year the best team in the world won the Rugby World Cup though I am not sure if they were the better team in the final.

The All Blacks are world champs for the next 4 years.

Diwali (Festival of Lights)

Wednesday 26th October 2011 is Diwali. Diwali is also known as the festival of lights and is probably the most important celebration in the Hindu calendar.

We celebrate Diwali for a number of reasons.

  • The return of Lord Rama after 14 years of banishment. His adventures and triumphs over evil during his banishment are told in the epic Ramayana. Upon his return diyas (small clay oil lamps) were lit all over the kingdom to welcome him back.
  • It is the Indian New Year.

So how do we celebrate Diwali here in Fiji?

Fiji is a fantastic multi-cultural place to live. Diwali day is a public holiday and celebrated and shared with everyone irrespective of their religion or race.

Our homes and office are thoroughly cleaned if needed before Diwali. Many people also take this opportunity to do renovations (there is some painting going on at my home as I write this).

New garments are purchased as it is considered auspicious to where something new on Diwali.

Our homes are also lit with lights of different colors. In Suva (the city where I live) there is even an award for the best decorated house which a golfing buddy has won many times.

On Diwali day, Diyas (small clay lamps) are lit around the house. Prayers are held at 6 PM but this is normally private to the family. Guests are welcomed into the house from 6.30 (or 7) onwards. Many varieties of sweets and vegetarian dishes are made and shared with friends and family.

Children (and many adults) play with fireworks that light up the skies.

It is a greatest way to start the year.

So as we end this year, I thank you all again for your support… for reading our blog… for using our Outlook addins… for all your input and ideas that have helped us to become a better company.

We wish you all a happy Diwali and look forward to serving you even better in the New Year.

From Sanjay and the rest of your Outlook team at Standss

PS: We hope that the little gift of the $10 discount code (DIWALI) helps you start your new year the right way. The code is valid for the rest of the week and expires on October 28th.

Categories : Special Discount Offers Comments ( 2 )

Smart Schedules Update – An ESSENTIAL feature was missing!

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Thanks to your advice we are excited to announce the latest upgrade to Smart Schedules now provides a full solution to project management and scheduling inside Outlook.

We know that you know best… which is why the best features in our software are always designed by users.

Feedback from users showed us that Smart Schedules was missing one very important component. You told us that 3 things were important for the tasks and appointments that make up your projects… What, When and WHO!

Smart Schedules already made the What and When easy… but the Who was missing… until now.

We heard from users who were scheduling repetitive processes that could be further enhanced by inviting others from your contacts to attend key appointments and meetings.

We realized that you are not the only one at a meeting!

Just as you add participants to appointments using Meeting Request, you can invite people from your Outlook Contacts or manually to appointments in Smart Schedules.

Now, each of your individual appointments has a place to assign additional participants from your contacts, putting you squarely in the driver’s seat of the project – just like a project manager.

Smart Schedules essentially is an Outlook based project management software without the complexity and learning curve of all those others. Plus, there is no monthly subscription fee. You pay once and it’s yours to use forever!

Take a look at this screen shot below. Here is the appointment I’m adding my associate to.

Assign To Feature
See! You don’t need to change to another program or go through a complex, multi-step integration to use the functionalities that  Outlook already provides.

Smart Schedules downloads and integrates right into your existing Outlook, keeps your data safe on your computer and doesn’t disrupt anything you are already doing.

When you need to create a new project or start one that you perform regularly (perhaps when you get a new client) you simply click on the Project Centre toolbar. Once you set the start or end trigger date, everything falls into place including assigning the same appointments to the same team members every time. If you want to change who attends a meeting for a single project, you can make edits to your template just for that client. And, if you want to change this person permanently for all future projects like this one, you can edit your Master Template.

Use Smart Schedules for your project management and scheduling needs seamlessly within Outlook. Start your Free 30 Day Trial Today and you will receive FREE Training Emails that will teach you how to use all the useful features Smart Schedules has to offer!

(This is a free update for registered users of Smart Schedules. We will send you a separate email with download instructions.)

Use Outlook Contacts for Holiday Season Emails/Fax/Post to Customers and Friends

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

The holiday season is about to start. If you’re running a business, it is an important time to contact your customers with news and special offers. Over the next two months, some of our blogs will focus on the best ways of doing this using your Outlook contacts list.

Let’s start by looking at the different ways you can contact your customers or friends.

Depending on your contact list, the best way to contact your friends this year maybe 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 ways as well as our own addins.

How to Email out Invites, Greetings and Newsletters.

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.

View EmailMerge PRO Video on our website

You can view a short video on our website to see just how easy this is.

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, family and customers this year.

Work Faster in Outlook using Keyboard Shortcuts

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Friday, October 14th, 2011

Several readers recently asked about keyboard shortcuts in Outlook. Truth is I don’t use very many keyboard shortcuts myself… you save a second or two each time but they really don’t add up to much in the grand scheme of things. Here’s a big list of Outlook shortcuts… with the ones I think are useful highlighted in red.

E-mail Shortcuts
Ctrl-Shift-I Go to Inbox
Ctrl-Shift-O Go to Outbox
Alt-S or Ctrl-Enter Send
Ctrl-P Print
Ctrl-R Reply to a message
Ctrl-Shift-R Reply all to a message
Ctrl-F Forward a message
Ctrl-Alt-F Forward as attachment
Ctrl-Alt-J Mark a message as not junk
Ctrl-Shift-I Display blocked external content (in a message)
Ctrl-Shift-S Post to a folder
Ctrl-Shift-N Apply normal style
Ctrl-M or F9 Check for new messages
Ctrl-N Create a new message (when in Mail)
Ctrl-Shift-M Create a new message (from any Outlook view)
Ctrl-O Open a message
Ctrl-Shift-G Display the Flag for Follow-up dialog box
Ctrl-Q Mark a message as read
Ctrl-U Mark a message as unread
F4 Find or replace in a open message
Shift-F4 Find next in an open message
Alt-Enter Show the properties for the selected item
Ctrl-B Display Send/Receive progress
Creating Items
Ctrl-Shift-A Create a Appointment
Ctrl-Shift-C Create a Contact
Ctrl-Shift-L Create a distribution list
Ctrl-Shift-X Create a fax
Ctrl-Shift-F Create a folder
Ctrl-Shift-J Create a Journal entry
Ctrl-Shift-Q Create a meeting request
Ctrl-Shift-M Create an e-mail message
Ctrl-Shift-N Create a note
Ctrl-Shift-H Create a new Microsoft office document
Ctrl-Shift-S Post to this folder
Ctrl-T Post a reply in this folder
Ctrl-Shift-P Create a search folder
Ctrl-Shift-K Create a Task
General shortcuts
Ctrl-1 Go to mail
Ctrl-2 Go to Calendar
Ctrl-3 Go to Contacts
Ctrl-4 Go to Task
Ctrl-5 Go to notes
Ctrl-6 Go to the folder list in the Navigation Pane
Ctrl-7 Go to shortcuts
Ctrl-.(period) Go to the next message (when you have a message open
Ctrl-,(comma) Go to the previous message (when you have a message open
F6 or Ctrl-Shift-Tab Move between the Navigation Pane, the main Outlook window, the Reading Pane and the To-Do Bar
Tab Move between the main Outlook window, the smaller panes in the Navigation Pane, the Reading Pane and the sections in the To-Do Bar
Arrow Keys Move around within the Navigation Pane
Ctrl-Y Go to a different folder
F3 or Ctrl-E Go to the Search box
Alt-Up arrow or Ctrl-,(comma) or Alt-Page Up In the Reading Pane, Go to the previous message
Alt-Down arrow or Ctrl-.(period) or Alt-Page Down In the Reading Pane, Go to the next message
Left arrow or Right arrow Collapse or expand a folder in the Navigation Pane
Alt-B, Alt-Left arrow Go back to the previous view in main Outlook window
Alt-Right arrow Go forward to the next view in main Outlook window
Ctrl-Shift-W Select the infobar and, if available, show the menu of commands.

Don’t forget to let me know your favourite shortcut by leaving a comment.

Categories : Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 0 )

Keep Outlook Emails as Unread until after you actually read them

By standss - Comments ( 22 ) Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

For big parts of my day my Outlook Inbox is where I work. I read many of my emails in the Outlook reading pane (the preview of the email while I am still in my Inbox). I also use the fact that unread emails still need some action from me. The problem is that as I step through emails, they get marked as having been read, even though I may not have actually read them.

Here’s a setting that one of my team member (Thank you Anand) pointed out to me that you can quickly change… now Outlook will only mark an email as read if you’ve spent a minimum time on it.

I’ve set mine to 5 seconds. That way if I am on an email for less than 5 seconds it stays unread. Anything longer than 5 seconds and Outlook assumes that I have read the email. You can use any time setting that fits the way you work.

For Outlook 2016/2013/2010:

  • Click on File > Options
  • Click on Mail from the left side column
  • Click on the Reading Pane button on the right
  • On the Reading Pane dailog box, tick the checkbox for “Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane
  • Enter a time in the box beside “Wait XX seconds before making item as read”
  • Click OK and than OK again

For Outlook 2007/2003:

  • Click Tools on the menu > Options…
  • Click the Other tab
  • Click on the Reading Pane… button
  • On the Reading Pane dailog box, tick the checkbox for “Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane
  • Enter a time in the box beside “Wait XX seconds before making item as read”
  • Click OK and than OK again

I hope that this little tip makes your life in Outlook a little bit easier.

Categories : Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 22 )

Is your Email killing your Productivity?

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Monday, October 10th, 2011

Emails are a very dominant means of communication nowadays and it can take up hours of our time just checking, reading or answering emails. So let me ask you again, is your Email killing your Productivity?

If your answer to the above is YES, then below are just some simple email tips that can help you stay focused and more productive.

1. Turn-off any forms of Distractions (Email Alerts)

I have always preferred to turn off e-mail notifications in Outlook, particularly the blue notification rectangle that shows up everytime you receive a new email in Outlook versions 2003 and later.

Imagine this pop-ups appearing every 5 or 10 minutes, or even more often and the end result – your productivity is getting affected (even if you do not open and read the email immediately).

You can refer to an earlier post on how to Turn-off the Email alert in Outlook.

2. Automatically highlight important emails

You might receive hundreds of emails a day but this does not necessarily mean that all have to be dealt with immediately.

You can setup Outlook to automatically highlight or color-code important emails that require your immediate attention. This ensures that you are focusing your attention on the right emails.

3. Try to automate as many processes as possible (rather then doing it manually)

If you are using an email program such as Outlook, you can setup rules to perform some of the obvious tasks such as moving SPAM/JUNK emails out of the Inbox automatically. This saves you time which can be used for other important matters rather deleting individual SPAM emails.

4. Process your emails in batches

It’s not necessary to check emails throughout the day or work on them all day long. As noted above, more often you will find that not all emails require an immediate response. So try to process your emails in batches, you can answer the first lot of emails first thing in the morning and the others sometime in the afternoon.

This reduces frustration (that more often happens due to email overload) with emails and at the same time allows you to focus on other productive tasks through the day.

These are if you like some simple tips to help you stay focus and productive.

Do you have other methods of your own to stay productive?

Please share it with us and our readers by leaving a comment below.

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