Exchange Messaging Outlook Volume6, Number 20


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Greetings! Welcome to Vol. 6, No. 20, 16 Jan 2002, of Exchange Messaging Outlook, a biweekly newsletter about Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook.

Today's highlights:
  • Migrating from Outlook 2000 IMO to Outlook 2002
  • Overcome Email Overload tip: Re-use responses
  • Canned responses in WordMail
  • Even more canned responses

Migrating from Outlook 2000 IMO to Outlook 2002

Outlook users making the transition from Outlook 2000 Internet Mail Only mode to Outlook 2002 face more changes than Outlook 2000 Corporate/Workgroup mode users. Fortunately, over the past few months, the other Outlook MVPs and I have been able to find at least partial workarounds for the IMO features missing from Outlook 2002 and solve a few other problems.

One common upgrade problem is that Outlook appears to lose all the contact data. When a user invokes the address book, nothing's there! Actually, the user's data is still in the Contacts folder, but Outlook isn't configured to show it in the address book. To fix the problem, you need to add the Outlook Address Book to the current profile using Tools | E-mail Accounts | Add a new directory or address book. Once the Outlook Address Book is working in the profile, you can check the properties of each contacts folder, looking on the Outlook Address Book tab, to make sure that the box to include the folder in the address book is checked.

Another common address-related issue for IMO upgraders is sharing Outlook contacts with Outlook Express, so that you don't have to maintain two address books. Thanks to Frank Saunders, an MVP for Internet Explorer and Outlook Express, we have a solution via a registry setting. You'll find details at https://www.slipstick.com/contacts/oeshare.htm. Best of all, it even seems to work with Outlook 2000 in Corporate/Workgroup mode!

Outlook 2000 IMO mode has a feature that allows you to automatically put the addresses of people you reply to in your Contacts folder. For Outlook 2002, we can suggest two solutions -- ExLife, a versatile third-party automatic mail processing utility from http://www.ornic.com, and some Outlook 2002 VBA sample code at https://www.slipstick.com/dev/code/autoaddrecip.htm.

The original release of Outlook 2002 did not expand the folder list to show all folders where you have received new messages. This was one of the first things that Microsoft fixed, in its June 21, 2002, update for Outlook. The fix is available in all subsequent updates, including Office XP Service Pack 1.

Another Internet Mail Only mode feature is the ability to split apart large messages. We haven't tested it, but one possible solution for Outlook 2002 may be the script at http://dyakovkm.tripod.com/wsh/eng/smxp.htm.

In IMO mode, when you click the Check Names button, Outlook 2000 looks not only in the contact name and e-mail address fields, but also in the Nickname field. Outlook 2002 ignores the Nickname field for address resolution. We found, though, that if you edit the contact record and change the display name (a new Outlook 2002 feature) for the e-mail address to the preferred nickname, name resolution should find it. Another approach is to create a distribution list named with the nickname and containing just one member -- the desired contact.

Finally, one of the most annoying shortcomings of Outlook 2002 for former IMO users is that it provides no way to back up your Internet account settings . What we recommend is that you set up your Internet accounts first in Outlook Express. You can then export from OE to an .iaf file for backup. And you can use Outlook's File | Import and Export command to import the account settings from OE into Outlook's account manager.

Overcome Email Overload tip: Re-use responses

Composing a message takes much longer than it does to read one, so one way to cut down on your overload is to store and re-use answers to questions that you get over and over again.

In Microsoft Outlook, it turns out that the easiest way to store canned responses is as signatures. Signatures can go anywhere, not just at the end of a message!

To create a signature:

  1. Select Tools | Options.
  2. Click on the Mail Format tab.
  3. Click on the button labeled Signature Picker or Signatures.
  4. Click on the New button.
  5. Type the message you want.
  6. Click OK.

To use a signature in a message that you're composing:

  1. Click in the spot where you want to put the signature.
  2. Select Insert | Signature.

Canned responses aren't just for customer support personnel. At a minimum, you should carefully write and store directions to your office; minor mistakes in directions can have major ramifications.

Other canned responses that can be useful to anybody include responses to vague questions, "I'm busy" notifications, "please don't send me jokes," and "that message was a hoax." I have examples of these types of canned responses at http://www.OvercomeEmailOverload.com/extras/canned.html.

This tip is adapted from _Overcome Email Overload with Microsoft Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2002_ by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood. Find out more at http://www.OvercomeEmailOverload.com/outlook/

Canned responses in WordMail

Kaitlin's instructions above work with the built-in Outlook mail editor. If you're using Word as your email editor, you won't see an Insert | Signature command on a message. Instead, you can use Word's AutoText feature to create your canned responses.

Word organizes the AutoText menu by style, so a good first step is to use Word's Format | Styles command to create a new paragraph style called Responses. Set it to use the same formatting that you normally use in the body of your messages.

Next, in any Word document, type in the text you want to use in your response, then select the text and apply the Responses style to the text. After applying the style, you can change override the formatting of the response text. The important thing is that the paragraphs need to be set for the Responses style.

Finally, select the response text again, then choose Insert | AutoText | New, give your AutoText entry a name, and press Enter to save it. Word saves the AutoText to the Normal.dot template, which Outlook also uses. You should now be able to choose Insert | AutoText | Responses to insert the AutoText entry you just created. To create more entries on that menu, follow the same procedure -- type the text, apply the style, create the AutoText entry.

To create another category for the AutoText menu, just create another paragraph style. You can then apply that style to more text snippets and add them to the AutoText list, too, but under their own category.

One slightly peculiar thing about using AutoText with WordMail is that you'll see different AutoText lists depending on the message format -- HTML, plain text or rich text. The above instructions work fine for HTML or rich text format mail. If you are working in a plain text message, you can create a new AutoText entry, but you won't be able to set a style for it, since plain text messages don't support styles. However, if you then create an HTML message, the AutoText lists will show the AutoText responses created in plain text messages under the subheading of Plain Text. When you insert them, they'll be formatted with the default font that you set Outlook to use for plain text messages.

Even more canned responses

If you want to explore still more ideas for canned responses, here are some applications you might want to look at:

Email Templates
http://www.emailtemplates.com

ReplyMate for Outlook 2000 (longtime beta)
http://www.replymate.com

Also, many of the customer relationship management applications listed at https://www.slipstick.com/addins/contact_management.htm include some kind of built-in response tool -- very handy for standardizing responses across an organization.

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