Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Outlook Email Notifications for Important Emails Only!

Most Outlooks users turn off Outlook’s email notification message. With the volume of emails we all receive these days, it is way too detrimental to productivity to have a message interrupt you every time you receive an email. But… what if you want to be alerted whenever you receive emails from particular people… maybe your boss… or an important client.

Did you know that you can use Rules to display an alert similar to the one shown below... so that it will only come up when you receive an email from one or more specific email addresses?

Here are step by step instructions…

Go to your Inbox.

Click Tools-Rules and Alerts to display the Rules dialog box.

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

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.

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, Outlook will display a message over everything else that you are working on.

This simple trick has helped our own team a lot. 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.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Email Horror Stories (CNN)

CNN today ran the story Experts reveal e-mail nightmares, safety tips. They have some funny (because they happened to someone else) horror stories of how emails sent to the wrong person have caused embarrassment and even big financial loss.

In a recent online survey conducted by AOL, 32 percent of the 4,000 respondents have at one time or another mistakenly forwarded an e-mail to an unintended recipient. And often, it's something NOT so nice.

In the CNN article, Roger Matus, keeper of the blog Death By Email, has some good MANUAL TIPS to avoid this mistake including:

  1. Forget that the Reply-to-All button exists (or see our automated solution later)
  2. Type out the person's full name when addressing your e-mail. If you type just the first few letters and let your e-mail program fill out the rest based on your address book, it could easily misroute your message without you realizing it.
The reality unfortunately is that we often need to use the Reply-to-All button and it is so much easier to pick a name from the list that Outlook drops down (than to type the whole thing in).

The manual methods will not work for most of us.

We have created an AUTOMATED SOLUTION that provides protection from this mistake and more. SendGuard for Outlook will:

1. Warn you whenever you click Reply-to-All (to avoid those accidental clicks)
2. Allow you to delay emails or emails to selected addresses by a preset time (so that you have some time to change your mind)
3. Get confirmation before Outlook sends out emails to all or selected email addresses.
4. Protect you from numerous other mistakes such as missing attachments, blank subject lines, incorrect subject lines, incorrect sending accounts and more.

Click here to get more information on SendGuard

We also have a $10 discount on SendGuard until the end of Wednesday 22nd October as part of another update promotion.

Click here to purchase SendGuard at the discounted price before 22nd October. The page is for an UPGRADE OFFER we made to our customers so the text is not directly related to this post... simply scroll down to the ORDER link which has the $10 discount applied to it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Better Email Subject Lines in Outlook

A few days ago I asked for comments on Misleading Email Subject Lines. Firstly let me say I am truly grateful for the large number of responses I received both on the blog and via email.

I have collated your questions, answers and suggestions below in Question and Answer format.

Q: How can you change the subject line of emails that you have received?

The answer to this took me by surprise as well. Simply open any email that you have sent or received, go to the subject line and type in whatever you want. I know that the Subject is read-only but it’s not. Close the email to save the changes.

You can use this technique to change the Subjects of emails that you have received so that the Subject line makes sense when you refer to it in the future.

Q:How can you change the subject line of emails that have already been sent?

Same as you do for emails you have received. Just open the email, go to the Subject Line (which looks read-only but really isn’t), type in your changes and close the email. Easy!

Q: How about email messages that are entirely in the Subject line – what does mean?

You can write short emails that are entirely in the Subject line. The accepted practice if you do is to end the Subject with which stands for End of Message e.g.

Subject: Please call and confirm attendance to Q4 meeting

The reader than (maybe) knows that he doesn’t need to open the email.

Q: What do things such as RR:, AR, FYI, NH … in the Subject Line mean?

You may sometimes find that people add a few letters to the front of their Subject lines that don’t seem to make sense. For example:
Subject: RR: Can you confirm attendance to Q4 meeting.

The more common ones and what they mean...

RR: Response Requested
AR: Action Required
FYI: For Your Information
NH: Need Help

It helps the recipient know why they are receiving the email. Technically speaking you should get rid of the RR, FYI etc when you reply to the email

ANNOUNCEMENT (regarding an upcoming announcement)
Within the next two days I am hoping to announce a simple solution to stop you from making mistakes such as ones discussed here (e.g. Misleading Subjects). I’ll let you know when I am ready.

Till then, please leave a comment on the blog.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Outlook Keyboard Shortcuts

Last week I wrote about 5 keyboard shortcuts that I use often in Outlook. Many readers came back with several others that I found useful. Here is my updated list of Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Outlook.

CTRL-SHIFT-I: Go to Inbox
CTRL-SHIFT-O: Go to Outbox
CTRL-SHIFT-M: Create a new email
CTRL-SHIFT-K: Create a new Task
CTRL-SHIFT-A: Create a new Appointment
CTRL-SHIFT-C: Create a new Contact (Doesn't work in my Outlook 2007)
CTRL-ENTER: Send an email
CTRL-F: Forward message
CTRL-R: Reply to message
CTRL-SHIFT-R: Reply to all
CTRL-P: Print
CTRL-G: Go to a date on the calendar (need to be looking at your calendar first)

Hope you find these useful. If you haven't done so already, don't forget to read our article on

Misleading & Inaccurate Subjects on Emails

Most of us have the SAME PROBLEMS when it comes to email.

In August this year I asked for comments from you all before releasing a report on Email Overload. I was overwhelmed by your response and was not able to deal with all the issues covered. Over the next few months I hope to cover some of the problems you identified.

Today I want to look at the topic of MISLEADING or INACCURATE SUBJECTS. Does this sound familiar…

  1. You send a message to someone with the subject "Updating your PC this Friday".
  2. They reply to that and all is well and good.
  3. Two weeks later you get an email with the subject "RE: Updating your PC this Friday".
When you open the email, you find out that the email has nothing to do with the subject. The sender had simply picked an email from you and typed in a new message… without bothering to change the subject.

Have you been guilty of the above? I know I have.

We are doing some research on this and I will write more about this later. In the meantime…

I'd love to hear your thoughts… leave a comment on the blog.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Resending an email

I wrote about this earlier but I recently saw a friend doing this the hard way so… if you need to resend an email. There are two ways of doing this:

Method 1: Reply-to-All
Find the email in your Sent Items folder and then do a Reply-To-All on it.
Delete yourself from the Recipients.
Click Send.

The disadvantage of this is that you will probably forget to get rid of yourself from the recipients list. The advantage is that the real recipient will see the date and time that you had originally sent the email... proof that you had sent it in the first place.

Method 2: Use Outlook's built-in Resend Command.

If you are using Outlook 2007 …
Open the email from the Sent Items folder.
Click Other Actions on the Ribbon.
Click Resend this Message.

A new email will be opened up with all the details copied over from the old message. Make any changes that you want and click Send.

If you are using Outlook 2003...
Open the email from the Sent Items folder.
Click Actions on the menu.
Click Resend this Message.

What method do you use?

Essential(?) Keyboard Shortcuts for Outlook

Many experts say that we can be more productive if we leave our hands on the keyboard... instead of moving between the mouse and the keyboard. Personally I don't think it matters much.

You'll gain a few seconds each time you need to move your hands but lets be realistic… we're not so productive that the few seconds will make any difference… even if we add up all the times we move our hands during the day.

That being said… here is a list of keyboard shortcuts that I actually use REGULARLY.

CTRL-SHIFT-I: Go to Inbox
CTRL-SHIFT-O: Go to Outbox
CTRL-SHIFT-M: Create a new email
CTRL-SHIFT-K: Create a new Task
CTRL-SHIFT-A: Create a new Appointment (I don't use this much as I like to see my Calendar before scheduling an appointment)

Do you have you own favorite keyboard shortcuts in Outlook? Share it with other readers by leaving a comment on the blog.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fine-Tuning Spam Filtering in Outlook

How-to minimize the number of work emails that get caught by Outlook's spam folder?

Here are some tips to fine-tune spam filtering in Outlook … my focus is on keeping work emails out of the junk folder and … if they still end up there, how to get Outlook to highlight potential work emails amongst all that junk.

This video is a result of feedback I received from reader to the question … what are the one or two greatest obstacles to getting through your emails.

I am almost finished compiling the feedback and will release a FREE report on some solutions to overcoming email overload in the next few days. If you haven't done so already, register here to get notified when the report is released.

Types of Email Overload

Why is Email (our most important communications tool) draining so much of our time, energy and passion?

Last week I emailed the list with a question. Firstly, thank you for all your fantastic feedback. It is clear that while email is our main communications tool, it is causing a lot of PAIN as well.

The answers I received from you can be broken down into 5 main categories.

  1. Too Many Emails - finding a system (and the time) to read and reply to them all
  2. Organizing, Filing and Finding Emails - how to file the emails in a manner that we can find them quickly when we need to refer to them
  3. Mistakes by the People we communicate with … sending us incomplete information, sending us unnecessary information, sending us emails with inaccurate subjects etc … or as one reader put it PSEUDO-SPAM
  4. Problems with Outlook … Outlook crashing or slowing down etc
  5. SPAM - not one I agree with but I'll talk more about this in the report.

I am about to release a report on my findings with a solution that will eliminate some of the email stress in a few days time. If you want to get a copy of the report when it is ready, go to this link.

Clearing Junk Emails before Starting Work

Organization or Procrastination? Several readers have written to me that they start their work day by deleting junk emails before they start their real work. I work the same way but I am not sure if this is the most effective way to work.

Why do I work this way? Two reasons that I can think of …
1. I end up with a cleaner Inbox when I start my work
2. I end up delaying my real work emails for a little bit longer.

Let's face it. Some of those work emails take time … and sometimes they're just plain boring … it's not what I want to do … so I'll just spend some time tidying up first and then… will you look at that … time for a cup of tea… I have had a busy morning.

The Bad News … those work emails are still there... waiting!

A week ago I asked you ... what are your one or two biggest obstacles to getting through your emails. I am almost finished compiling your feedback and will release a FREE report on some solutions to overcoming email overload in the next few days. If you haven't done so already, register here to get notified when the report is released.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Outlook Dates in English

Dates are entered in many places in Outlook … in appointments, tasks and email reminders. Did you know that you can enter dates using common English phrases such as next Monday or first Monday in December.

I have created a small video tutorial that shows you how easy it is to do this.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Outlook Calendar: How to View Consecutive and Non-Consecutive Days

Do you use your Outlook calendar to plan and manage your day? Here are a few quick tips to see several days at the same time on your calendar. These tips work on all versionS of Outlook from Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2007

Viewing any number of consecutive days
Need to see your appointments for the next 2 days (or 4 days or 6 days).

This is a SUPER EASY tip .. it doesn’t even need a picture or step-be-step instructions. Simply go to your Calendar and press ALT and the number of days you want to see. For example, press ALT+4 and Outlook will show you 4 days side by side.

Viewing any number of non-consecutive days
What if you need to see your calendar for days that are not one after another. Easy …

  1. Go to your Outlook Calendar. You should see a thumbnail view of the current view either on the left or right hand side depending on your version of Outlook.

  2. Click on the first date that you want to see.

  3. Now press and hold the control (CTRL) key on the keyboard and then use the mouse to click on all the other dates that you are interested in. If the date that you are interested in is not visible, you can change months by clicking on the little arrows on the thumbnail calendar.

Hopefully these two tips have made it a little easier to get organized.

Do you have any favourite Outlook calendar tricks of your own? Please leave a comment.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Make Outlook 2007 search ALL folders instead of just the current folder

Search in Outlook 2007 is awesome. Depending on the way you work, this little tweak will save you a little time every time you need to do a search for emails.

Outlook (by default) searches emails in the current folder you are in. The Search results also come up with a link at the bottom to "Try Searching all Mail Items". I find myself ALWAYS clicking on the Search All link as I rarely bother to move to the relevant folder first.

Here's a quick setting changing that will force Outlook to search all mail items by default.

Click Tools-Options.
Click the Search Options button on the Preferences tab to display the Search Options box.

Click All folders and then click OK.

Do you have any other Search tricks that you find useful. Share it with other readers by leaving a comment on the blog.

Related Posts:
Human-Friendly Power Searches in Outlook 2007
Fixing Search Problems in Outlook 2007

Human-Friendly Power Searches in Outlook 2007

Did you know that Outlook let's you refine your searches using human-friendly "English" words. The following examples will get you started ...

If I want to find all emails that were sent by James Raman, I just need to type the following into the Search Box...
From: James Raman

If I want to find all emails with the word Rugby anywhere in the subject, I just have to type the following in the Search Box...
Subject: Rugby

If I want to find all emails with the word Rugby in the Subject that were sent by James Raman, I just have to type the following in the Search Box...
From: James Raman and Subject:Rugby

I can even refine this further to something like...
From: James Raman and Subject:Rugby and To:Sanjay

Other tags that you can use include BCC and CC.

This simple technique has greatly reduced the time it takes me to find emails. I hope you find it useful.

Do you have any other Search tricks that you find useful. Share it with other readers by leaving a comment on the blog.

Related Tips:
Fixing Search Problems in Outlook 2007

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Displaying Multiple Time Zones in Your Outlook Calendar

Do you need to arrange a meeting with someone in another time zone? Or maybe you're traveling and need to know the time at home and at your temporary destination.

Here's a super simple tip to viewing two time-zones in your Outlook Calendar.

Display your Calendar in Outlook (either Day or Week view).

Right-Click over any of the time labels on the left hand corner to display the pop-up menu. (see big red dot in picture)

Click on Change Time Zone to display the Time Zone settings screen.

Tick the "Show an additional time zone" checkbox and enter the rest of the settings.
Click OK .

Your Calendar will now be displayed with both time zones.

You can choose to leave both time zones displayed or turn one off once you're done by following the steps above(but clearing the tick next to "Show an additional time zone").

Minimize Outlook to the System Tray

This is a great tweak if you frequently have many programs or documents open and you need more space on your Task Bar. A simple setting change will minimize Outlook to the System Tray instead of the Windows Task Bar.

Right Click on the Outlook icon in the System Tray.
On the menu that displays, click/tick Hide when Minimized.

Now when you minimize Outlook, it will now not show on your Task Bar. To display Outlook again after it is minimized, double-click the Outlook icon in the System Tray.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Color Code Emails in Your Outlook Inbox

Letting Outlook color-code emails can greatly improve your productivity by focusing your attention on the right emails. Here are a few simple tips ... using tools that are built into Outlook ... that you can use to achieve this.

Color messages sent only to you
If you don't respond to a message, that was addressed only to you, then no one will. Outlook's Organize feature makes it easy to highlight these messages so that you don't miss them.

Go to your Inbox.
Click Tools-Organize to display the Organize pane..
Click Using Colors (on the left) of the Organize pane.
Click the Turn On button next to "Messages sent only to me now appear blue". (Change the color from blue if you want)

Slight problem … You may find that this also colors email newsletters you receive in your Inbox as they are normally addressed to you (only) as well. I get around this by using rules to automatically move newsletters to a folder I have called Read Later.

Color messages sent by your boss, wife/husband, important clients etc
You can use the same Organize function to color code emails from specific people.

Go to your Inbox.
Click Tools-Organize.
Click Using Colors.
Change the drop-down next to Color Message so that it reads "from".
Type in the email address in the box provided (or select an email from that person in your Inbox and Outlook will fill in the box for you)
Change the color if you need to.
Click the Apply Color button.

Deleting Color Coding
If you need to delete or change the color coding at a later date.

Go to your Inbox.
Click Tools-Organize.
Click Using Colors.
Click Automatic Formatting to display the list of color formats applied to the folder.
Select the relevant item from the list and click Delete.

Advanced Color Coding
You can also use the Automatic Formatting screen described in the previous Delete section for more advanced color coding. Detailed instructions can be found on an earlier post titled Let Outlook highlight your important emails.

I hope these simple color coding tricks help make your Inbox more manageable.

Do you have you own email coloring tricks? Tell me more by leaving comments on the blog.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Word 2007 - Save automatically in the OLD format

Word 2007 (and the rest of Office 2007) introduced new file formats. Word files are now saved as docx instead of doc.

You may have a problem if you email these files to people who haven't upgraded to Word 2007 yet ... users of older versions of Word cannot read these files unless they download additional software.

I haven't figured out a good reason for saving files to the new format, so like me, you may find it easier to configure Word to save files in the OLD format by default.

Start Word.
Click the Office Button (round button/icon at the top left hand corner)
Click Word Options (lower right hand of the menu that opens)
Click Save in the list in the left hand column.
Choose Word 97-2003 Document (.doc) in the drop-down list.
Click OK.

If you have a good reason for actually wanting to use the new format, please let me know by leaving a comment.

vCard Follow-Up: Do vCards expose information about your activities?

Late last month I wrote an article on using vCards in Outlook.

A reader had the following question:

I have created the v-card repeatedly, but no matter what I do, Outlook (2003) recognizes that it's "me" making the card, and always includes all my personal information under the Activities tab. So whoever receives the v-card is able to look at my contacts, emails, calendar, etc. How can I remove that?

I must admit... the email SCARED me ... had I accidentally advised you to send all kinds of personal information out. Luckily for me ...

The person you send the vcard to will not see the activities you are seeing as the activities are NOT being sent with the card.

Instead ... the Activites page is being created on the users computer based on items it find on that users computer related to the contact.

When you are opening the vCard on your computer, Outlook is finding all the activities that relate to you in your Outlook. When the recipient opens it, they will only see any activities that they already have in their Outlook related to you.

You can verify for yourself that there are no activities being sent with your vCard by saving it to harddisk and then opening it with Notepad.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Restore FORMATTING in Plain Text Emails

The only formatting possible in plain text emails is capitalizing certain words and inserting line breaks to make certain ideas stand out.

For received emails, Outlook is configured by default to automatically remove what it considers extra line breaks. Here's how you can get Outlook to leave plain text emails the way the sender intended.

Click Tools - Options.
On the Preferences tab, click the Email Options button.
Clear the tick next to the Remove extra line breaks in plain text messages checkbox.
Click OK
Click OK

Automatic Safe Sender Maintenance for Outlook Junk Folder

I think Outlook's Junk Email Folder does a fantastic job of keeping spam out of my Inbox but ... occasionally real emails end up there. Here's a quick tip to reduce the number of emails that get incorrectly moved to the Junk Email folder.

Outlook has a Safe Sender's list. Outlook knows that anyone who is on your Safe Sender's list is authorised to send you email.

It makes sense (most of the time) that anyone you actually write to should automatically be put on your safe sender's list.

The ability to do this is built into Outlook but is turned off by default. To turn it on ...

Go to your Inbox.
Click Actions - Junk Email - Junk Email Options
Click the Safe Senders tab.
Tick the checkbox Automatically add people I e-mail to the Safe Senders List.
Click OK.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shortcuts for Task and Appointment Creation in Outlook

If like me, you use Outlook's Tasks and Appointments to manage your time, here are a few easy-to-implement tips that will save you a lot of time.

These tips came about as a result of my laziness(as most shortcuts do) … I don't like having to switch to Outlook and then making the appropriate clicks to open the new Task or Appointment screen … there had to be a better way.

I wanted to either click a button on the Windows Quick Launch bar and/or use keyboard shortcuts that would work even when I wasn't in Outlook.

(For those who are not familiar with the Quick Launch bar … it is the set of icons that you have just beside the Windows Start button. If it is not displayed, right-click on the horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen, click Toolbars and tick Quick Launch.)

Shortcut to create a new Task/Appointment

  1. Right-click on any empty space on your desktop and click New-Shortcut.
  2. In the location box, click Browse and locate your Outlook.exe file. You will then need to add some switches to the end of it telling Windows that you want Outlook to open the new Task screen instead of just opening Outlook. On my computer the location field contains:

    "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /c ipm.task /a

  3. Click Next and type in a name for the shortcut. By default OUTLOOK.EXE is displayed. I changed mine to New Task.
  4. Click Finish.
  5. Now right-click over the newly created icon and click Properties.
  6. If you want to use keyboard shortcuts to open the application, click on the Shortcut Key field and press the combination of keys that you want to use (I use Ctrl-Shift-T)
  7. Click Change Icon and select the Task icon so that the icon is a bit more meaningful.
  8. Click OK (and OK again) to return to your desktop.
  9. Now right-click and drag and drop the new shortcut to your Quick-Launch bar. On my Vista computer I found that I had to leave of a copy of the shortcut on the desktop if I wanted the keyboard shortcuts to work i.e. I had to Copy the shortcut and not Move it off the desktop.
Now whenever I need to create a new Task, I either click on the New Task button on my Quick-Lauch bar or I press Ctrl-Shift-T.

You can use the same steps as above to create a new Appointment ... but change the location field to read:
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /c ipm.appointment /a

But … I prefer to the following shortcut for appointments

Shortcut to open the Calendar folder
I need to see my existing appointments before I create a new appointment … here's a shortcut that opens Outlook with the Calendar displayed.

The steps to do this are identical to what is described above. The only difference is that the location field changes to:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /select outlook:calendar

You can have similar shortcuts to open your Tasks and Contacts folders but I find them less useful.
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /select outlook:tasks
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /select outlook:contacts

I hope that you find these tips useful. They may not seem like much but you will find that the time it saves you quickly adds up.

Please leave a comment on the blog if you have other ideas to make these tips even more effective.

Monday, May 5, 2008

(vCards) How to receive and send Business Cards in Outlook

In the physical (paper) world, printed business cards are a common way of sharing contact information. Do you know that Outlook also provides a very effective way of sending electronic business cards?

What is an electronic business card?

Electronic business cards are called vCards and are files with the extension vcf. vCards are now recognized by most email clients so you can use Outlook to send and receive vCards even if they do not use Outlook.

Outlook makes it easy to:

  1. Send vCards: Convert any contact record to a vCard file (and then send the file)
  2. Receive vCards: Convert a received vCard into a contact in your Outlook
Create your own Business Card (vCard)

vCards in Outlook are made from contact records. To make your vCard you first need to create an Outlook contact with your own details in it.
  1. Click File-New-Contact to open a new contact record (or create a new contact record using any other method).
  2. Enter any details about yourself that you want to share with others.
  3. Click Save & Close.
Your contact record is now ready to be used as an electronic business card.

Send your vCard with all your emails

The easiest way to send your vCard to others is to add it to your signature so that it gets attached automatically to emails.

The following steps explain how to create a new signature with a vCard. The steps to add a vCard to an existing email are very similar.

If you are using Outlook 2007:
  1. Go to Inbox
  2. Tools menu > Options
  3. On the Options screen > click on Mail Format tab
  4. Click on the Signatures button
  5. On the E-mail Signature tab and click New.
  6. Give a name to your new signature, click OK
  7. In the Edit Signature section, click on Business Card button to browse for the contact that you want to be inserted as your Business Card.
  8. Click on Save to save your newly created signature.
  9. Assign this signature to the Email account you want and click OK
If you are using Outlook 2003:
  1. Go to Inbox
  2. Tools menu > Options
  3. On the Options screen > click on Mail Format tab
  4. Click on Signatures button
  5. Click on New and Enter a name for your Signature
  6. Choose the option Start with a blank Signature and click Next
  7. Enter the text portion of your Signature
  8. Click New vCard from Contact
  9. Select your Contact, click Add and then OK
  10. Click Finish to create your Signature
  11. 11. Assign this signature to the Email account you want and click OK
Now (depending on your signature settings) when you create a new e-mail, your Business Card will be automatically attached to it.

If the signature is not assigned to your e-mail account, you can insert it by:

If you are using Outlook 2007:
  1. On your composed e-mail, go to Insert tab
  2. Click Signature and select your signature that has the Business Card
If you are using Outlook 2003:
  1. On your composed e-mail, go to Insert menu > Signature
  2. Select your signature that has the Business Card
Receiving vCards and adding them to your Contacts

If you receive an email with a vCard (vcf file), it is super easy to add it to your Contacts list.

If you are using Outlook 2007:
  1. Right-click on the Business Card in the received e-mail
  2. Click on Add to Contacts.
  3. A contacts window will open with all the fields filled-in from the Business Card.
  4. Make any needed changes then Click Save and Close
If you are using Outlook 2003:
  1. Double-click on the Business Card in the received e-mail
  2. Outlook will open the window in a Contact form
  3. Click Save and Close to save that contact to your Default Contacts folder.
Sending other people’s contact information

Do you need to send someone’s contact details to someone else? Now you can just send their vCard (I am assuming here that the person is in your contact list).

In Outlook 2007:
  1. Click on the Insert tab on the ribbon
  2. Click on Business Card and select the name you want to insert on the list (Click Other Business Cards if the name is not on the list).
In Outlook 2003:

  1. Open the contact (person whose business card you need to send).
  2. In the open contact, on the Actions menu, click Forward as vCard. Outlook attaches the contact information in a vCard file called contactname.vcf
  3. Complete the rest of the message and click Send.
I hope that this guide to vCards has been useful. Please let me know what you think by commenting.

Monday, February 18, 2008

SendGuard Tip: Avoid False Attachment Warnings

SendGuard 4Outlook warns you if the text of your email indicates that you meant to attach a file …. and you then tried to send the email without attaching anything to it. We recently updated SendGuard to avoid SendGuard warnings due to "original messages", signatures and disclaimers..

These changes were implemented in version 1.0.33 of SendGuard.

If you are a registered user, your existing unlock code will be picked up automatically after installation. User of the trial version will be given up to 5 extra days to test the software.

Download and install SendGuard 4Outlook Version 1.0.33
Learn more about SendGuard

False Attachment Warnings

SendGuard may display false attachment warnings if:

1. You are replying to an email and the original email has words in it that trigger the warning message. As of Version 1.033 the text of the original message will be ignored so this is no longer a problem.
2. You have words in your signature (or disclaimer) that trigger the warning message. There is now an easy way to tell SendGuard to ignore your signature or disclaimer.

How to tell SendGuard to not check Signatures and Disclaimers

Open an email which has your Signature or Disclaimer in it and copy it to the clipboard. (Select the text and press CTRL-C).

Go to your Inbox.
(On the menu) Click Addins4Outlook-SendGuard-Settings. The Settings screen will be displayed.
Click the Attachment/Subject Guard tab.
Click "Advanced Settings (Avoid false triggers of Attachment Guard)"
Tick the check box labelled "Ignore words …"
Paste the Signature/Disclaimer in the text box/field on the screen. (press CTRL-V)
Click Save.

Another Solution… the Attachment warning does not get displayed because all my emails have my vCard attached to it.

Although not very common, some users configure Outlook to automatically attach their Business Card (vCard) to all outgoing emails. As a result the warnings don't get triggered.

Here's how you can configure SendGuard to ignore your vCard i.e. not count it is an attachment.

Go to your Inbox.
(On the menu) Click Addins4Outlook-SendGuard-Settings. The Settings screen will be displayed.
Click the Attachment/Subject Guard tab.
Click "Advanced Settings (Avoid false triggers of Attachment Guard)"
Tick the check box labelled "Ignore attachments with specific names"
Enter the name of your vCard file in the space provided (e.g. name.vcf).
Click Save.

Resend an Outlook Email

Need to resend an email message.

If you are using Outlook 2007 …

Open the email from the Sent Items folder.
Click Other Actions on the Ribbon.
Click Resend this Message.

A new email will be opened up with all the details copied over from the old message. Make any changes that you want and click Send.

If you are using Outlook 2003.

Open the email from the Sent Items folder.
Click Actions on the menu.
Click Resend this Message.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Outlook Auto-Complete Tips

When you start typing an email address in Outlook, Outlook suggests email addresses for you to pick from. This is known as Auto-Complete and can be a great time saver or ...

It can also create a serious problem if you accidentally pick the wrong email address and send confidential information to the wrong person. Ross Kodner writes about a $1 Billion Email Auto-Complete disaster on his blog.

As almost all Outlook users use auto-complete daily, here are a few tips to get some control over it.

How to turn AutoComplete Off (or On)

I find Auto-Complete very handy but you may want to turn it off to avoid possible auto-complete disasters of your own.

On the menu click Tools and then click Options.
Click the E-Mail Options button.
Click the Advanced E-mail Options button.
Untick the "Suggest names while completing the To, Cc and Bcc fields" box.
Click OK ... until you are back in Outlook.

Deleting entries from the Auto-Complete list.

The other problem with Auto-Complete is that over time the list has email addresses that are no longer valid .... maybe email addresses have changed or you have simply stopped communicating with someone.

To remove an entry from the list so that it does not get suggested again:

Create a new email.
Start typing in the email address that you want to delete (so that Auto-Complete displays its list).
Use the up/down arrow keys to highlight the address that you want to delete.
Press the Delete key on the keyboard.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Create an Outlook Rule that warns you if you were BCCed (How to Stop Embarrassing Reply-to-Alls)

If someone BCCed you on an email, chances are they didn't want other recipients to know that you were also one of the recipients. You can protect yourself from accidental Reply-To-Alls on these emails by creating a Rule so that Outlook automatically marks any messages where you aren't in the To or CC fields. Here's how ...

These instructions are for Outlook 2007 but they more or less apply to earlier versions of Outlook too.

Go to your Inbox.

Click the Create Rule Button on the toolbar to display the Create Rule screen.

Click the Advanced Options button.

Click the Next button. The message "This rule will be applied to every message you receive." will be displayed.

Click Yes.

In Outlook 2007, tick "flag message for follow up at this time". In Outlook 2003, tick "flag message for action in a number of days".

Click "follow up at this time" to bring up the Flag Message box (Outlook 2007).

Select No Response Necessary in the Flag To list.

Select No Date in the For list.

Click OK

Click Next to go to the "Are there any exceptions? Screen

Tick "except if my name is in the To or CC" box.

Click Next

Type a name in the space provided e.g. I was BCCed.

Click Finish.

The rule will automatically be applied to all new emails. The flags on emails on which you were BCCed will serve as a gentle reminder that you should not do a Reply-to-All on them.

If you want a more bullet-proof solution, try an Outlook addon product such as SendGuard 4Outlook. SendGuard can be setup to display warning messages for all Reply-to-Alls or for only those emails on which you were BCCed.

Because the messages are displayed when you actually click the Reply-to-All button, this provides a much higher level of protection.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Auto-Highlight Your Comments in Emails

Here’s a 10 second solution to clearer replies. People often email me several questions in the same email. My answer is normally ... Please seem comments below ... and then I write comments inside the "original message" that is part of the email.

I have setup Outlook to automatically insert my name to identify MY comments to the reader.

Here's how you can do the same.

Go to your Inbox.
On the menu, click Tools-Options.
Select the Preferences tab.
Click the Email Options button to display the following screen.

Tick the "Mark my comments with " checkbox.
Click Ok
Click OK.

The next time you comment on an email, you comments will stand out.