Tag Archives: Business Tools

Creating Tasks and Appointments from Emails

By standss - Comments ( 4 ) Friday, June 5th, 2015

We recently upgraded our TBYL! for Outlook users to QuickFile for Outlook. The response has been overwhelmingly positive but a few users asked… Where are the Quick-Task and Quick-Calendar buttons?

These buttons are used to create Tasks and Appointments from Emails (to use TBYL terminology, move emails from your collection system to Action System)

The Quick-Task and Quick-Calendar buttons are part of QuickFile Pro for Outlook as shown below (we are only showing icons and not words to save space on the Ribbon).


By default clicking on either button will create the Task or Calendar as appropriate and attach the email to the body. You can change this default behaviour if you want from the QuickFile Settings screen.

If you have any other questions regarding QuickFile, please let us know by sending an email to support@standss.com.

Categories : General, Outlook as a Business Tool Comments ( 4 )

Creating an Effective Email Signature

By standss - Comments ( 5 ) Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

A great email signature can help your business by building your image and credibility as well as making it easier for people to contact you. In this short post I look at what things a good signature block can do for you, what you want to put in, and what you should leave out.

The most important thing to remember… Your signature block needs to be as small as possible particularly since so many emails are only a few lines long… but it still has to achieve several objectives.

The objectives of a good signature block


A good signature block should do most if not all of the following for you:

  1. Let people know who you are
  2. Let people know how they can contact you
  3. Show people who may not know you what you or your company does
  4. If possible, convince people who don’t know you that you are a credible person that they can safely work with
  5. If you use social media a lot, let them connect you via your preferred social media website.

What you should include:

  1. Your Name
  2. Your Title (Optional but very useful, particularly if you have an important or at least important sounding title)
  3. Your company name
  4. (Optional) Your company logo
  5. (Optional) Logo or text details of any awards or memberships that build your credibility. Keep this as short as possible. Don’t list too many things or it loses it’s impact.
  6. A tag line that makes it easy to understand what you and your company do (Optional only if your company name is immediately recognizable)
  7. Your Phone Number
  8. Your web site address

What you do not need to include

Personally I feel that it is a waste of space to include the following:

  1. Your email address (they already know that sine they received the email from you)
  2. You fax number (unless you are in an industry/country that still makes use of fax)
  3. Your postal or physical address (they can always ask for this if they need it)


What do you think?

I hope that you find this article useful.

Do you have your own tips for better email signatures? Please share your ideas with other readers by leaving a comment on this post.



Categories : General, Office Tip, Outlook as a Business Tool Comments ( 5 )

Creating Email List by Exporting Email Addresses from Emails to CSV

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

In one of our older posts, we showed Outlook users how to export outlook contacts to a CSV file so that the contact list can be used with email marketing tools to send mail merges.

We had several readers write back to us asking a common question:

“Is there a way to extract email addresses from emails directly to external files like CSV…”

If you have this question in mind as well… The answer is YES!!!

What’s even better is that you don’t need to purchase a new software to do this… you can use Outlook’s in-built Export feature to get this done.

Here’s how…

  • The first thing you need to do is move/copy all the emails you wish to extract into a separate folder. For example you can create a folder called “Export” or “Email List”.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, click File > Options > click on Advanced from the left pane > Scroll down and click on the Export button
  • For Outlook 2007/2003, On the main menu Click File > Import and Export…
  • Click Export to a file > click Next > Select Comma Separated Values (Windows) > click Next >
  • On the next screen, select the folder which contains the emails from which you wish to extract the email addresses
  • Click the Browse… button to specify a location and file name for the new file.
  • Click Next > Click Finish.

This should now extract the email address (and other information) from the emails to the new CSV file.

Wondering how this tip is handy?

If you do not want to invest in expensive, subscription-based, online email marketing systems, you can use Outlook and Email Merge for the same.

You can use the steps provided in this post to extract email addresses of your potential clients following a conference, seminar or any other event (who have contacted you) to a CSV file. You could also add them to your Contacts folder but this will be time-consuming as you will have to create each contact individually.

Once all email addresses are in the CSV file, you can use Email Merge for Outlook to create and send personalized emails to your mailing list. With Email Merge, you can send out unlimited number of emails, there is no monthly or yearly fee’s and you can load unlimited contacts from Outlook contacts and external files like CSV, Excel or even Access.

Hope you find this tip useful.

Do you know of other ways the Export feature can be handy?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Keyboard Shortcut to Hide or Show the Ribbon in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Monday, May 26th, 2014

Here’s a super shot quick and easy to hide or show the ribbon in Outlook. This is a useful tip if you want to make better use of your screen space but still use the buttons on the Ribbon too.

  • To hide the Ribbon, simply press CTRL+F1
  • To show the Ribbon, press CTRL+F1 again

Do you have your own keyboard shortcuts that you find useful… or tips on making better use of the Ribbon. Let us know by leaving a comment below.   Related Posts Keyboard Shortcuts on Ribbons in Outlook 2010 (and 2007) Keyboard Shortcuts in all Versions of Outlook oi_kbd_scuts Subscribe to Outlook for Business Blog

How to Cure Email Overload (Video)

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Instead of our regular blog posts, we are creating a series of 3 video posts to solve what our 30,000+ blog readers tell us is there #1 problem… TOO MUCH EMAIL!

You can watch the first two (short) videos here:

*   Video #1: How to Cure Email Overload

*   Video #2: A Focused Inbox to Get Things Done

These videos are free for the moment.

You will need to opt-in to see the video (as always we respect your privacy and will NEVER share your email with anyone).

We’re asking for your email again so we know who to send the PDF version of How to Cure Email Overload to… as soon as the video course is complete.

Once you have seen the videos, please let us know if there is any question you want answered in the third and final video.

Best Regards,

Your Outlook Team at Standss

PS: The videos may be taken down and converted into a paid training course later. Watch it now.


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Retention Policies: Your Deleted Items folder will be cleared every 30 days!

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

We have told you before why you should not use the Outlook Deleted Items folder as your filing cabinet i.e. do not use the Deleted Items folder as the folder where you keep emails for later reference.

Here’s another good reason…. If you are using Office 365 (I recently moved my email account to it), your Deleted Items folder is automatically cleared (every day) of emails that are 30 days or older.

The reason for this is that folders in Outlook that are linked to Office 365 have Retention Policies applied to them.

A retention policy defined how long Office 365 will keep items in users’ mailboxes and defines what actions to take on items that have reached a certain age.

The default action for the Deleted Items is to clear items that are 30 days or older.

While it is possible to change this default action, I don’t think you should. Automatically clearing emails provides two benefits:

  1. It discourages you from “filing” emails in the Deleted Items folder.
  2. It provides insurance in case you need to recover an email that you deleted recently.

You can find more information on Setting Email Retention Policies in Office 365 here.


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Managing Projects in Outlook using Appointments and Tasks

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

In the post last week, we looked at some of the ways that you can customize outlook to suit your style of working and also effective handle the pile of emails in your inbox.

Other than emails, Outlook users also use the calendar and task to manage their daily lives and projects… and yet Outlook does not give us an easy way to manage projects inside Outlook. Outlook users frequently ask us how they can see all appointments and tasks that make up a project in one place.

Why is this important?  Most work or projects are made up of a series of steps all being related to each other. As we finish a step, it is important to know what the next steps are to get the project completed. Things also don’t always go according to plan… and we need to see what else gets affected when things change.

Our research showed that there is no simple way to organize and view related tasks and appointments under projects… so we added this functionality to our Outlook Project Management addin Smart Schedules for Outlook.

With Smart Schedules for Outlook you can:

  1.  Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
  2. Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button.

Here are step by step instructions showing you just how easy this can be:

Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects

  1.  Open Outlook and go to the Calendar/Task folder that the existing appointment/task is located in
  2. Select the appointment/task
  3. Click on Assign Project button on the Smart Schedules toolbar/ribbon. This will display the following screen:


 Select an existing project from the Project list.

  • Note: You can also type in a new project name if you would like to create a new project and add this selected appointment/task to that project.
  • Click OK.

Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button

Smart Schedules Project Centre makes it easy to see all appointments and tasks that you have associated with a project.

On the Smart Schedules toolbar, click Project Centre

  • From the Project drop-down, select the Project to which you assigned the appointment or task
  • You will now be able to view the appointment or task assigned to the project and all other related appointments and tasks for the project as shown below:


Next Steps…

Smart Schedules for Outlook was designed with the help of almost 20,000 Outlook users. Try it for yourself today and tell us what you think.

Download a fully functional version of Smart Schedules for Outlook.

Watch a short video of our Outlook based Project Management tool (Smart Schedules)

I hope you find this tip useful managing your projects in Outlook.

If you know of other ways to manage projects using Outlook, share it with our readers by leaving a comment below.


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Getting the Weather Forecast in Outlook 2013

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Here’s a small but handy feature of Outlook 2013. Do you know that you can get the weather for the next few days (in all your favourite cities) displayed at the top of your Calendar?

Weather Forecast

Here’s how you can:

  1. Set how the temperate is displayed
  2. Choose what towns/cities temperature you are interested

Turning Weather On and Setting Celsius or Fahrenheit

We live in Fiji where we use the metric system. I just can’t get the feel for what is a hot or a cold day any other way. Here’ what you need to do to change the units used to display the temperature if you need to.

  •  Click File-Options
  • Click on Calendar
  • Scroll down to Weather
  • Make sure that Show Weather on the calendar is ticked and click on Celsius.
  • Click OK.

Choosing Your Favourites Locations

What location’s temperature is being displayed? Use the following steps to add your location and to add other cities too if you want. I like to add locations that I will be travelling to soon as it helps me get a sense if how cold or hot it will be.

Go to your Calendar:

  • Click on the drop-down arrow next to the name of the city where the weather is displayed (In the image above, you can see my home town Suva is shown)
  • Click Add Location (from the list of options in the drop down).
  • Enter the name of the city town followed by a comma and the name of the country (e.g. New York and press Enter (or click on the magnifying glass)
  • Select the name of the city from the Search results.

The new city will be added to the list and its weather forecast for the next few days displayed. You can change between your list of cities by using the drop down arrow.

Do you find the weather feature in Outlook 2013 useful? Are there other “hidden” Outlook features that you use? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

(I personally find the temperature display useful in planning my afternoon golfing. It’s also useful to know the expected weather in places I will be travelling to… helps me to mentally climatize myself before the trip).


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Categories : General, Office Tip, Outlook Performance, Windows Tip Comments ( 0 )

Time Zone Problems when Scheduling Outlook Appointments

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

I showed up for a meeting today on the WRONG DAY! I actually had a phone meeting this morning with someone in New York (I am in Fiji). When I called up, I realised that although I had called at the right time, it was the WRONG DAY! I had called a day before instead a day after the date in New York.

Here’s how you can avoid making the same mistake by entering your appointment using the date and time in the other person’s country… and have Outlook automatically show it in your calendar at the correct time for your time zone.

This tip works in Outlook 2010 and later.

  •  Open your appointment
  •  Click Time Zones on the ribbon. Outlook will add a time zone drop-down next to the appointment time.
  • Click the drop-down to pick the time zone of the other person.


Now you can enter the date and time (make sure you enter the date in the other person’s time zone) of the appointment.

Outlook will automatically add it in your calendar at the correct time in your Time Zone.

Do you have other tips for dealing with appointments in different time zones? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

 Related Posts: Displaying multiple time zones in Outlook : Lets you see the times in the two zone side-by-side.

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Categories : General, Office Tip, Outlook Calendar Tip Comments ( 0 )

Should you use images in Outlook sales and marketing emails?

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Like many other email clients, images are turned off by default in Outlook. What does this meant to you if you are sending sales and marketing emails to Outlook users?

First… why are images turned off in Outlook?

  1. It helps users avoid viewing potentially offensive material (when external content is linked to the message)
  2. It helps to keep malicious code from damaging the data on your computer.
  3. It stops spammers from tracking which users actually opened their emails.

You can find more information on why images are turned off in Outlook at this link.

How will recipients see your images?

Most recipients will NOT have the images displayed when they receive your email. Instead they will see a red X.

display image

In order to view your images they will need to MANUALLY right click over the space where the image should be displayed and then click Download Pictures.

Can you make sure that recipients will see the images in the emails you send?

NO! There are settings in Outlook which you can use to display all images, or images from selected recipients but… you cannot control them as the sender.

Each user controls how they want to view emails that they receive by changing their settings BUT…

A study by Jared Pool shows that less than 5% of users have changed any settings at all.

So what should an Email Marketer do?

  1. Assume that users have not changed their settings… and that they cannot see your images.
  2. Build a relationship with recipients by sending useful emails so they actually want to read your emails. This may mean sending emails with more text than images to start with.
  3. Use colors, highlighting and other HTML ideas to format your emails. Don’t just rely on images
  4. Structure your email with a mixture of text and images so that recipients actually WANT to see your emails.
  5. TEST the emails by sending them to yourself. Make sure that the view images setting in your Outlook is OFF. Do you see enough in the email to want to view the images?

I hope that this blog post helps you make better use of images in your emails.

If you do send a lot of sales and marketing emails out to customers, you may also want to look at Email Merge for Outlook.

Email Merge is already used by thousands of Outlook users around the world to improve deliverability and response rates for sales and marketing emails.