All posts by standss

Best Practices for Creating an Email Filing System in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Eeminders

In this post we define best practices for an Email Filing System that will work for lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects and other professionals who do work on discrete projects (or matters if you are a lawyer).

The simplest system that you can use for organizing your emails is based on having a separate folder for each project/matter.

This is easy for everyone to understand since folder based filing is something that we all know from the paper world.

We will cover 2 Simple Rules that you need to follow and create and name the folders so that emails are easy to file and to find later. We finish with a final tip on how to separate Current Projects/Matters from Closed Projects/Matters.

Once you have read this article, you may also want to look at QuickFile for Outlook which automates the filing of finding of emails in your email filing system.

2 Simple Rules

There are only 2 simple rules that you need to follow.

1. Create a separate folder for each project/matter
2. File ALL (both incoming and outgoing) emails for the project/matter into the folder.

Follow the above two rules and you will be able to find all related emails for a project/matter easily when you need to.

The trick however is to name your folders in such a way that the folders (and therefore the emails) are easy to find when you need them later.

How to name your email folders

There are up to 3 pieces of information that you can use to name your folders.

Client Name: Needs no explanation but remember that the same client may have multiple projects.
Project/Matter Number (Optional): Many firms assign unique numbers to each project/matter. This number is then used in all correspondence etc. related to that project.
Project/Matter Description: A brief description of the project/matter

Assuming that your organization assigns numbers to projects, we recommend that you name your email folders inside Outlook as follows.
CLIENT_NAME PROJECT_NUMBER PROJECT_DESCRIPTION
For example: Acme Corporation 2017-01 Wile E Coyote Vs Roadrunner

If you do not use project/matter numbers, just leave them out so your format is
CLIENT NAME – PROJECT_DESCRIPTION
For example: Acme Corporation – Wile E Coyote Vs Roadrunner

What are the advantages of naming your folders in this way?

Naming your folders in this way provides some very specific advantages for both when you want to file and find your emails later.

1. You can see all projects/matters for a particular client together in next to each other (since the folders are shown alphabetically in Outlook).
2. It is easy to identify what is in a folder even if you don’t know the project/matter number since the folder name contains both the client’s name and description.
3. Folders are easy to find using folder search tools like Find&Goto folder in QuickFile for Outlook because you can search using the client name, project/matter number or any word from its description.

Note: You may have seen system where users create folders for clients and then create the project/matter folders under them. I personally don’t recommend that because it creates an unnecessary level you have to drill down into when looking for emails. The folders are also not that easy to find using Search tools because Project folders do not contain client names and vice versa.

Separating Current Projects from Completed Projects

It is highly likely that you work on many projects and most of these projects are not ongoing forever i.e. they get completed and closed at some point in time.

We recommend that you create two top level folders to deal with this.
A_Current_Projects (or A_Current_Matters)
B_Completed_Projects (or B_Completed_Matters)

(I have named the folders with the A_ and B_ in front of their names so that Current Projects is listed before Completed Projects as Outlook sorts the folders alphabetically). Now…

Create folders for your new and existing projects in the Current Projects folder.

Once a project is completed move the entire folder out of the Current Projects folder into the Completed Projects folder.

Using the Filing System while still doing your real work

I hope that you find the guidelines from this post useful in either setting up or refining your own email filing system… and remember to file emails from both your Inbox and Sent Items folders into the dedicated project/matter folders.

If you work with many emails and many projects, you may find that filing emails takes too much time away from your real work. If that is the case we recommend you download 30 day trial of QuickFile for Outlook which makes it easy to find folders, file 90% of inbox emails at the click of one button, and send and file outgoing emails in one step.

Finally, if you have your own ideas for email systems or need more detailed instructions (maybe by video), please let us know by leaving a comment.

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Categories : Uncategorized Comments ( 0 )

Rules for Using the ‘Reply All’ Button

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Emails are often sent out to large lists of recipients to announce information. Unnecessary Reply-Alls to the same emails can be both annoying and expensive for organizations as recipients waste valuable time reading and responding to useless emails.

Here’s a quick checklist of when you should and should not do a Reply All. You may also want to share this post with colleagues who are annoying you with unnecessary reply-alls to group emails.

Many companies are also using Reply-Guard for Outlook to warn users if they click Reply-All accidentally (it can also disable the Reply-All button for selected emails)

Here’s the list.

Do NOT use Reply-All to acknowledge receipt or say Thank You

Not everyone on the list needs to know that you specifically have received the email.

And unless the sender has specifically asked for acknowledgement, you probably don’t need to say Received or Thank You. Chances are that if the original email out to many people, the sender doesn’t want his or her Inbox filled with hundreds of Thank Yous.

In the rare case where an acknowledgement is appropriate, please click Reply instead of Reply-All. This way only the original sender is notified.

DO a Reply-All if the email is a discussion or if you are adding information that applies to all recipients

If the email is a discussion, then it makes sense to do a Reply All. However even if it is a discussion, you should only do a Reply All if your information adds additional information. Don’t just reply with an “agreed”.

The rare case where a short Agreed or Yes or No is appropriate where you need to let everyone (and not just the original sender) know your opinion.

Do NOT berate anyone or complain about others in a group email

That almost never ends well!

Even if you are correct, you have probably caused unnecessary embarrassment to a colleague. Your comments could easily become watercooler gossip and affect your long-term relationship with the affected person.

If you absolutely need to berate anyone then either send them an email personally (which I still do not recommend because emails can make what you mean sound much worse) or pick up the phone or (best of all) do it in person.

Similar rules also apply if you need to complain about someone else’s behaviour. In most cases, a one-to-one email to the appropriate person, a phone call or an in-person meeting works best.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Unfortunately, It is too easy to accidentally do a Reply-All when you didn’t mean to… the Reply and Reply-All buttons are right next to each other. If Reply-All is a problem for you or your organization, you may want to look at some additional protection such as ReplyGuard for Outlook.

Reply-Guard installs inside Outlook is already used by thousands of users in companies of all size around the world. It also has additional features for control and deployment in large organizations.

Learn more about preventing accidental Reply-Alls in your organization

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Categories : Uncategorized Comments ( 0 )

A Simple Tip to Improve Email Conversions by 21x

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Monday, May 22nd, 2017

I was shocked to read in a lead response management survey that said that your odds of qualifying a lead in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drops 21 times. That’s within the first 30 minutes! The same survey shows that you have 10x greater chance of just contacting leads if you contact them within the first hour.

How can you use this information for the emails you send out?

You need to know when your emails are opened!

Assuming that you are using email to make reach out to your leads, the survey indicates that you have a significantly greater chance of contacting and qualifying a lead if you call them within 5 minutes of them reading your email.

An email tracking solution that tells you when recipients open your emails can give you a significant return on investment.
Now just because someone opened your email does not mean that they are necessarily interested. However if they are interested you need to talk to them NOW!

You need to know when your emails are opened!

We recently released a new version of EmailCaddie that lets you track opens, clicks and replies on emails that you send out. This can be used for individual emails that you send out as well as email merges to lists of emails.

Within seconds of a recipient opening an email, you will get a desktop notification similar to one of the following,

Now you will know who you can focus your time on with the greatest chances of success.

We have launched the new version of EmailCaddie with brand new pricing. You can also download a fully functional trial version by clicking on the image below.

(During the launch period, you can also get a further discount on the Standard Version by using the coupon code LAUNCH)


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What NOT to do after an accidental Reply-All (Hint: Recall does NOT work)

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Did you just do a Reply-All to an email and say something you regret… maybe sent some incorrect or worse insultive or embarrassing information. Here’s what you should and should not do.

(In most cases) Don’t bother with Recall

You may be tempted to use the Recall button that is built into Outlook but we really don’t recommend it. Why?

It does not work in many cases including when:

• The original message has been read. This can occur even when the email has not actually been read i.e. when the message is displayed in the Preview Pane or Reading Pane.
• The recipient is not using Outlook
• The recipient is not logged on to the mail service provider.
• The recipient is using Cached Exchange Mode and is working offline.
• The original message is moved from the Inbox.

In most cases, recipients will get an additional message saying that you want to recall the message. In our experience that makes recipients even more curious and they end up going and reading your original email which they may have been ignoring until then.

Before we look at what you need to do now… here’s what you can do to avoid this mistake the next time. Companies around the world use Reply-Guard for Outlook to avoid accidental Reply-Alls.

What you can do now (that the email has already been sent)

If you have sent incorrect information, you may want to do another Reply All immediately with something similar to the following.

Please disregard my earlier email because it contained incorrect information. I will be sending another email soon with the corrected information.

My apologies for any confusion caused.

Then take your time and send the corrected information.

If you feel that you may have offended someone in the Reply All, then we recommend that you send the person a one-to-one apology email, or even better pick up the phone and call them. You could also ask them if they would like you to do another Reply-All and apologise in the email thread.

How to avoid Accidental Reply-Alls (Prevention is better than cure)

Thousands of users around the world are already using ReplyGuard for Outlook. It prompts users for confirmation whenever a user clicks Reply-All.

You can use ReplyGuard on its own or use the full SendGuard which includes ReplyGuardGuard, DelayGuard and SendConfirm.

DelayGuard keeps your emails in your Outbox for a pre-set time thereby giving you time to change your mind.
SendConfirm does a final confirmation prompt with the names of recipients after you click Send.

Together these prompts help keep your companies safe from accidental reply-alls and other situations where confidential information could accidentally be sent to the wrong person.

SendGuard and ReplyGuard are already used by companies of all sizes around the world. Please contact us for more information or click on the image below to download a free trial.

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Quick Steps: Add shortcuts to the Outlook ribbon to file your emails

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Quick Steps: Add shortcuts to the Outlook ribbon to file your emails

This week we continue our series on automating Outlook using it’s built in Quick-Steps feature. I will show you how to use Quick-Steps to add buttons to your Ribbon that will let you file emails to any folder at the click of a button.

For example, you may want to create Quick-Steps to folders for your currently active projects.

If you have many folders for emails, you may also want to look at QuickFile for Outlook which learns and recommends filing locations.

Scenario

I have a few folders to which I often need to file emails to. For example, I have a Reading folder to which I read non-important emails that I want to keep for (leisure or research) reading later.  I also have a folder called Keep for Now for emails that are important for the moment (e.g. an email about a golf tournament in the next few weeks).

I have created Quick-Steps for both so that I can move emails to both folder quickly.

Step-by Step: Creating the Quick-Step

Click Quick-Step on the Home tab of the Outlook ribbon.

Click New Quick Step – Move to Folder

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Type in an easy to remember name for this Quick Step in the Name box

Tick the Move to folder checkbox

Select the folder to move to in the list

Untick Mark as read checkbox

Click Finish

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Now that you Quick-Step Is saved, let’s use it

Step-by Step: Using the Quick-Step

Click on the email that you wish to apply the Quick Step to (in this case the email that I want to move)

Click Quick Step on the Ribbon and then click on the appropriate Quick Step from the list.

… and That’s it!

Summary

Quick-Steps are a great way to file emails if most of your emails go into a few folders only. However if you have many folders, you may want to try a more complete solution for filing your emails such as QuickFile for Outlook.

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Outlook Quick Steps: Forward emails to the RIGHT person at the click of a button in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Quick Steps are a built-in feature of Outlook (since Outlook 2010) that allow you to automate Outlook to do multi-step operations at the click of a button.

Despite being one of the greatest productivity features in Outlook, Quick Steps is probably one of the least used.

In the next few weeks I will show you how you can use Quick Steps to simplify your Outlook. I want to start with an example that I use every day.

Scenario

I often receive emails from clients that I need to forward to my assistant with some standard text at the top. Normally this would take at least 4 steps:

  1. Click on Forward
  2. Type her name in the To field.
  3. Type my standard text (Please deal with this for me) at the top of the email.
  4. Click Send.

Quick Steps allows me to do all this simply by clicking one button.

Step-by Step: Creating the Quick-Step

Click Quick-Step on the Home tab of the Outlook ribbon.

Click New Quick Step – Forward To. (Quick Steps can be used to do many other things too which you can explore by clicking on Custom if you wish).

Click the Options button to display the full screen.

Click the Show Options hyperlink.

Type in an easy to remember name for this Quick Step in the Name box.

Type in the email address of the person you wish to send the email to the To box.

Write anything that you want to add to the email in the Text box

Tick the Automatically send checkbox. Leave it unticked if you still want to manually click Send aftet the email is created.

(Optional) You can set a Shortcut key combination to use the Quick Step if you want.

(Optional) You can add some Tooltip text to remind yourself what this Quick Step is meant to do.

Click Save.

Now that your Quick-Step is save, let’s use it.

Step-by Step: Using the Quick-Step

Click on the email that you wish to apply the Quick Step to (in this case the email that I want to forward)

Click Quick Step on the Ribbon and then click on the appropriate Quick Step from the list.

… and That’s it!

Summary

Quick Steps are one of the hidden productivity tools in Outlook that can save you a lot of time if used properly. Try it out.

Please share your own ideas for using Quick Steps by leaving a comment.

Categories : Office Tip, Outlook Email Tips, Outlook Shortcuts Comments ( 0 )

Download the NBA 2016/17 Schedules into Outlook Calendar

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

NBA_2016_Schedules

Last week I had to download and print the Cleveland Cavaliers games times for the current season because my son has taken a sudden interest in basketball. I thought I’d share the steps that you can take to download your own team’s game times into Outlook so that you don’t miss out on any important matches.

Here’s what you need to do.

You can click on the link below to download the full NBA schedules for ALL teams into your Outlook: Download the 2016 NBA Season Schedules for all teams

OR…If you only want schedules of your favorite team, click on the appropriate link below:

Boston Celtics Download Schedule in Outlook
New Jersey Nets Download Schedule in Outlook
New York Knicks Download Schedule in Outlook
Philadelphia 76ers Download Schedule in Outlook
Toronto Raptors Download Schedule in Outlook
Chicago Bulls Download Schedule in Outlook
Cleveland Cavaliers Download Schedule in Outlook
Detroit Pistons Download Schedule in Outlook
Indiana Pacers Download Schedule in Outlook
Milwaukee Bucks Download Schedule in Outlook
Atlanta Hawks Download Schedule in Outlook
Miami Heat Download Schedule in Outlook
Orlando Magic Download Schedule in Outlook
Washington Wizards Download Schedule in Outlook
Denver Nuggets Download Schedule in Outlook
Minnesota Timberwolves Download Schedule in Outlook
Oklahoma City Thunder Download Schedule in Outlook
Portland Trail Blazers Download Schedule in Outlook
Utah Jazz Download Schedule in Outlook
Golden State Warriors Download Schedule in Outlook
Los Angeles Clippers Download Schedule in Outlook
Los Angeles Lakers Download Schedule in Outlook
Phoenix Suns Download Schedule in Outlook
Sacramento Kings Download Schedule in Outlook
Dallas Mavericks Download Schedule in Outlook
Houston Rockets Download Schedule in Outlook
Memphis Grizzlies Download Schedule in Outlook
New Orleans Hornets Download Schedule in Outlook
San Antonio Spurs Download Schedule in Outlook

 
Once you click on your favourite teams link, the webpage for your Team will open up and provide you with the options shown below:

Basketball_Lakers

2. Select the “OUTLOOK” option which will than trigger your Outlook to connect to the schedules server as shown below:

Contacting_Webserver

3. Once Outlook starts up it should prompt you to “Add this internet calendar to outlook and subscribe to updates”

Add_to_calender

4. Once you select “Yes” on this prompt it should open up your calendar and give you a view of the scheduled matches as shown below:

Schedules_Knicks

 

Categories : Sports Comments ( 0 )

It is easier to send attachments in Outlook 2016

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

One of the best improvements in Outlook 2016 is how much easier it is to add attachments to emails.

The designers of Outlook 2016 realised that you will usually want to send a file that you have recently worked on, and have designed this into the latest version of Outlook.

Here’s what you need to do.

Write your email as you normally would.

Click the attach file icon (paper-clip) on the ribbon. You will be presented with a list of the 12 most recent files that you have used in other programs (PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, plain text files etc).

Click on one of those files if appropriate (it usually is for me). Otherwise, click on Browse this PC or Browse Web Location which appear at the bottom of the list to select a different file.

This simple improvement saves me a lot of time every day as I find that 90% of the files that I need to send are there on the Recent Items list for me to pick.

If you have your own tricks for working better with attachments or know of other time-saving improvements in the latest versions of Outlook, let us know by leaving a comment below.

Categories : Outlook 2016, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 0 )

Exporting Email Merge Tracking Data to Excel or CSV

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Many users have started tracking opens and clicks on the emails they send out using Email Merge Pro for Outlook. While EmailMerge can use this information directly for remerging (sending only to people who opened or clicked etc) and the EmailCaddie website has summary and detail reports, you may also want to export the tracking information in CSV format.

Here’s what you need to do.

Go to the EmailCaddie website and login.

Click on the Mail Merge tab to display a list of all the merges that you have sent out.

Click on the name of the merge that you are interested in to be taken to the Merge Details page.

Select the data you wish to see using the drop-down (Everyone, people who opened the email, people who clicked on a particular link etc).

Click the Export to CSV link to download a file to your desktop.

You can now open the CSV file in Excel or import it into other systems if you need to.

If you’re an existing EmailMerge for Outlook user, find out more about tracking your email merges here.

If you haven’t used Email Merge Pro for Outlook, click below to see why thousands of Outlook users trust the Outlook addin to send out sales and marketing emails to their customers everyday.


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Categories : EmailCaddie, EmailMerge for Outlook Comments ( 0 )

How to Stop Legitimate Emails from Ending Up in the Junk Folder

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Do you find that Outlook is incorrectly sending legitimate emails to your junk mail folder? Here are a few tips to help your junk mail filter work properly.

These tips are based on the Safe Senders List. The Safe Senders list is basically a list of email addresses (or domains) that you say should NOT be treated as junk.

Change Settings to trust emails in your Contacts list and to trust people who you have sent emails to

The first thing you need to do is to tell Outlook to trust email addresses that are in your Contact list. You can also tell Outlook to add people to your Safe Senders list anytime you send them an email (even if they are not in your contact list)

  1. Right click over any email in your Inbox.
  2. Click Junk and then Junk E-mail Options.
  3. Click on the Safe Senders tab.
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  5. Tick the checkbox to “trust emails from my Contacts”.
  6. Tick the checkbox to “automatically add people I email to the Safe Senders List”.

Add people who end up in the Junk Mail folder to the Safe Senders List.

You will still find that some legitimate emails may end up in the Junk Emails folders. Here’s what you need to do to add them to the Safe Senders list.

  1. Go to your Junk Email folder.
  2. Right click over the email.
  3. Click Junk and then click Not Junk.
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  5. Make sure that the “Always trust….” checkbox is ticked.
  6. Click OK.

The senders email address will be added to the Safe Senders list and the email will be moved to your Inbox too.

I hope that the tips in this post help you to not miss out on important emails because they ended up in the Junk Email folder.

If you have your own ideas for managing junk emails, please share it with us by leaving a comment below.

Categories : Office Tip, Outlook Email Tips, Outlook Performance Comments ( 0 )