Take action on your Outlook emails at the click of a button (QuickSteps)

By standss · Comments ( 2 ) Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

You can reclaim a lot of your time and energy wasted on emails by automating repetitive tasks. Outlook has a built-in feature called Quick-Steps that makes it easy to create your own automations.

The easiest way to show you the power of QuickSteps is with an example.

Our company owns a property that is rented out. The property is managed by another company for us. When any repairs etc need to be carried out, they get the appropriate vendors to come in and do the work. Once the work is successfully completed they send us a copy of the vendor’s invoice so that we can pay the vendor directly. These emails are usually sent to me.

When I receive these emails, and assuming that everything is OK, I do the following:

1.       Forward the email to my Accounts person and advise them to make the payment (Click Forward, type the person’s email address, type Please Pay and then click Send)

2.       File a copy of the original email in a folder inside Outlook called Properties. (This can be done by dragging and dropping or using QuickFile for Outlook.

You can use QuickSteps to reduce all of the above to the CLICK OF ONE BUTTON.

Creating the QuickStep

On the Home tab of the Ribbon, click QuickSteps-New QuickStep -Forward To

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Enter an appropriate name.

If I only wanted to forward the email (And not do the second filing step), I can simply enter the email address in the space provided and clicked Finish).

Click Options.

Click the Show Options hyperlink.

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Enter an email address in the To field (or click the To button and choose an email address).

Enter any text that you want to be displayed in the email that will be forwarded.

The QuickStep now contains everything needed to Forward the email. Time to add the filing component.

Click Add Action

Choose Move to Folder and select the folder you want to move the email to.

Click Save

Note on an Outlook Bug:

There is a bug in Outlook that sometimes prevents the QuickStep from being saved. Clicking Save does not give an error message but the screen does not close either. If this happens to you, the solution is to type the whole email address again (the email that was in the To field earlier).

Using the QuickStep

Using the QuickStep is easy.

Click QuickStep on the Ribbon and select the new QuickStep. Outlook will automatically carry out your programmed actions.

You can also right-click over the email in your Inbox and select QuickSteps from there.

Start automating today…

What do you do daily that you can use QuickSteps for? Let us know by leaving a comment in the blog below.

(While QuickSteps can assist with email filing as shown in the example above, if you have more than just a few folders, we recommend the QuickFile for Outlook addin.

 

 

Should you Forward or Redirect emails?

By standss · Comments ( 10 ) Monday, March 16th, 2015

What do you do when you get an email that you know can be better answered by someone else? Chances are you Forward the email. I recently found out about Redirects which are often more appropriate than Forwards. Here’s how to do a redirect and why it may be better than Forward.

When you forward an email to someone, and the person replies, the reply comes back to YOU and not the original sender, so then you’re stuck forwarding it again.

You can avoid being the messenger-in-between by doing a REDIRECT instead of a Forward.

To Redirect an Email in Outlook:

Open the email in its own Window (i.e. you can’t do this if you’re looking at the email in the Reading Pane)

Select the Message Tab and then click Actions (or More Move Actions depending in your version of Outlook).

Click Resend this Message.

The message You do not appear to be the original sender of this message. Are you sure you want to resend it? will be displayed. Click Yes.

Address the email to the person you want to send it to (and type any notes etc. that you want in the email).

Click Send.

What happens when the recipient receives the email and clicks Reply

When the recipient receives the email, it will show that it is from you but on behalf of the original sender.

Now when the he or she clicks Reply, the reply will go to the original sender instead of to you.

Some final thoughts:

If you still want to be included in the reply to the email then I recommend that you use Forward instead of Redirect but remember to CC the original sender of the email too.

However if you just want to pass on the email and then stay out of it, Redirect is the way to go.

Did you know about Redirects (I didn’t)? Do you think they are useful? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

 

 

Categories : General, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 10 )

Q: Why CTRL-F is NOT Find in Outlook?(Ans: Bill Gates)

By standss · Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Have you ever pressed CTRL-F to find something (in Outlook) to discover that it does not work! For some reason CTRL-F does a Forward instead of a Find. Here’s a bit of history as to why this (strange) decision was made and alternative keyboard shortcuts to do a Find in Outlook.

CTRL-F is probably the best and most widely used Keyboard shortcut. Whether you’re using Excel, Word, Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader, Chrome… the list goes on… CTRL-F brings up the Find dialog. Except in Outlook…

Why… Oh Why???
According to The Old New Thing the reason for this strange behaviour is Bill Gates.

blog post

What keyboard shortcuts can you use to Find in Outlook?

Unfortunately there is no way to change how Outlook handles CTRL-F. The two alternatives you can use are F4 or CTRL-SHIFT-F. By the way these shortcuts only seem to work when you have an actual email open (and not from a folder).

Thank you to reader Bruno for the following addition to this tip.

The easiest thing to do is press Ctrl+E, which brings you directly to the Search (= simple Find) function at the top of the Outlook window – and without needing to have an email open.

Hope you found the bit of history interesting. Feel free to rant by leaving a comment below.

Categories : General, Outlook Email Tips, Outlook Search Tips Comments ( 2 )

Protect your company from wrongly sent emails

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Monday, February 9th, 2015

The web is full examples of what the dangers to organization due to emails sent to the wrong email address (including one that may have led to a $1B settlement). What are the risks to your organization from these kinds of mistakes, and what you can do to manage those risks? We answer these questions and also look at a solution that several large companies are now implementing.

How do these mistakes occur?

These mistakes typically occur when a user accidentally sends an email to the wrong person. The normal reason for this would be that there may be two people with the same or similar names.

Unfortunately Outlooks Auto Complete list (which generally helps by displaying a list of matching names and email addresses as you begin to type) makes these kinds of mistakes even easier to make.

(Strategy) What can you do to reduce the risks from these kinds of mistakes?

It is probably impossible to eliminate mistakes of this kind altogether. Therefore your organization’s strategy should be based on:

  1. Configuring Outlook to reduce the chances that users will make these mistakes
  2. Be able to show (in the event of litigation etc.) that your organization took reasonable action to prevent mistakes of these kinds

What can you do:

The actual actions you can take include:

  1. Asking users to be more careful and pay more attentions before emails are sent out.
  2. Turning off Microsoft Outlook’s Auto-Complete feature.

While both of the above are theoretically good solutions, they may not work as well in the real world for most organization because:

  1. Irrespective of how careful people are, mistakes are inevitable (it’s part of being human).
  2. Auto-Complete is actually a very useful feature and it is painful and counter-productive to use Outlook without this turned on.

Is there a better solution?

Yes! Send Confirm is an Outlook addin that integrates inside Outlook and automatically prompts for confirmation before emails are sent out.

sendconfirm

The domain is highlighted in red as the greatest damage can be caused if confidential information is sent to the wrong organization.

Send Confirm has been designed with the needs of both small and large companies in mind.

  • The warning prompt can be customized based on corporate/legal guidelines and policies
  • Special filters can be setup to control when the prompt gets displayed (external emails only, all emails etc)
  • All settings can be set and deployed centrally

We’ve actually Send Confirm available to users for several years as part of Send Guard for Outlook. However at the request of several larger organizations, we have now packaged Send Confirm as a separate component to make it more cost-effective for wider deployment in organization.

Please contact us at sales@standss.com for more information on how Send Confirm can be used to protect your organisation.

 

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.

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 )

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 ( 4 ) 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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Easily find special emails in Outlook by Color Coding them

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Here’s a quick tip that you can use to get Outlook to automatically display special emails in a different colour so that they stand out in your Inbox (or any other folder)

In this example we will be using this technique to display in green bold any emails that you have added notes to (using Email Notes for Outlook).

emails_highlight

Step By Step

1. Go to the Folder in which the emails are. This can be the Inbox or any other folder.

2. In Outlook 2013/2010, Click View on the Ribbon and then click View Settings.
On all other versions of Outlook, on the menu at the top, Click ViewArrange ByCurrent ViewCustomize Current View to display the Customize View screen.

3. In Outlook 2013/2010, Click the Conditional Formatting… button
On all other versions of Outlook, click Automatic Formatting… button

4. Click the Add Button

5. Enter a name e.g. “Emails with Notes

6. Click the Font button and using the resulting screen to choose how you want emails to be highlighted (I chose the colour Green and Bold). Click OK to return to the previous screen.

7. Click the Conditions… button to display the Filter screen.

8. Click the Advanced Tab

9. Click the Field button > User-defined fields in Inbox > EmailNotes

10.  For the Condition: drop-down, select “is (exactly)” and for the Value: enter “Yes”.

11. Click Add to List

12. Now OK your way back to the Outlook Inbox

You should now notice that any emails with notes would appear in the format you have defined.

In this example we have used this technique to highlight emails with notes linked to them. You can also use the same technique to highlight any emails that are important to you (e.g. emails from you main clients/manager etc).

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

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