are you using Microsoft Outlook as mail-client ? Learn its some hidden features which may you never know

Microsoft Outlook is well known and highly used mail client. If you are using outlook, following tips will help you to operate better than before.

Bypass read receipts

To skip read receipts, you need to know which e-mails request them. To do this, you need to change the look of your Inbox. Select your Inbox and click Field Chooser, in the combo box. Select ‘All Mail Fields’, and locate the ‘Receipt Requested’ field. Drag and drop this field to the Inbox window. You will see an additional column with the values ‘Yes/Blank’. Here, ‘Yes’ means a read receipt is requested.
To bypass, you have two alternatives-the first is to click ‘No’ when such an e-mail opens. You can make Outlook remember your answer for all e-mails that request read receipts.
Another alternative is to navigate to Tools > Options > E-mail Options > Tracking Options, and select any of the three responses-Always, Never or Ask-that need to occur when e-mails with read receipts arrive.

Printing blank calendars

Sometimes you urgently need a blank calendar for the week/month. Outlook lets you do this. It is as simple as creating a folder, and then printing it. Just click on the Calendar icon, and select New Folder. Key in a name, for the folder, and press OK. Now, select the newly created folder, and print it in the desired print style.

Move fast

There are some shortcut keys in Outlook, which are very helpful while navigating. Pressing [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [I] moves you directly to the Inbox folder and similarly [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [O] moves you to the Outbox folder.
Similarly, if you are working with Calendars and constantly need to switch between the weekly and monthly view, then you can use [Alt] + [-] and [Alt] + [=] respectively, to do so.

Categorizing e-mails

A lot of people do not write subjects to their e-mails. There are ways you can insert the subject, making it easier to categories and manage e-mails, even after receiving them. Just open the e-mail, click on the subject line, modify the subject and save it.

Abbreviated time

If you need to insert the time anywhere in an e-mail, Outlook has some simple shortcuts. For example, to type 5 pm, just type 5p, while 6:45 am can be entered as 645a.

Days at a glance

You can view 1 day, 5 days, 7 days or 31 days at a glance, in the Outlook calendar. It is also possible to view 2 to 14 days at a glance-any 14 days irrespective of the month or year.
While in the Calendar view, press [Alt] + [0 to 9]. For example, if you press [Alt] + [0], you get a view that shows the next 10 days from the current selected day. Say you wish to plan all Sundays of the month, click the first Sunday, press [Ctrl] and select all the Sundays of the month.

Forward contact(s)

The simplest way to forward contacts, is to switch your view to Phone list in Contacts. Select the single or multiple entries, that you wish to forward, right-click and select Forward Items. Now, type the e-mail address of the intended recipient and click Send.

Manage PST file size

All e-mails in Microsoft Outlook are saved in a single file with a PST extension. If you have used Outlook for a long time, the size of the .pst file will be large, and keeping it down to a manageable size is a problem. One way to reduce the file size is to archive the old items. The archived items are then moved to another PST file. But the archive file size will also increase over a period of time.
Another way of doing this, is to create many data files-one for personal mail, one for department mail, one for company mail, one for external client mail, and so on. In this way the mails will be split over different files, resulting in smaller single files.
To make a new data file go to File > Data File Management. Press Add to add a new data file, then select the ‘Types of storage’ as Personal Folder File (*.pst), name the new PST file, and click OK. You can now view the new folder. By default, it contains a Deleted Items folder. Now, you need to add sub-folders to store e-mails in, and create new sorting rules that will redirect your incoming mails to this folder.

Add holidays

Marking the holidays on your Outlook calendar will make it easier for you to plan around them. Outlook does have a way to add holidays, but you will find no entry for India. To personalise it to Indian holidays, you need to modify the Outlook.txt or Outlook.hol file.
Locate the Outlook.txt or Outlook.hol file and open it using Wordpad. The file contains a list of holidays-one per line, grouped by the country name. Go to the bottom of the file and add a new group name-‘India’ in square brackets, followed by a number, denoting the total number of entries. Finally add the names and dates of the holidays you want to mark.
It should look something like this:
[India] 3
Republic Day: 2003/01/26
Independence Day: 2003/8/15
Gandhi Jayanti: 2003/10/2
You can add as many holidays as you want, as long as you add the proper count after the square brackets. Now, go to Tools > Options > Calendar Options > Add Holidays, search for the entry ‘India’, select it and click OK.

Add-ins

Outlook has add-ins, to facilitate and automate many frequent tasks. These are easily downloadable from the Internet. Here are some of the more popular ones.

Manage attachments

Attachment add-ins help in extracting attachments from e-mails into a folder. Most add-ins remove the attachments, but add a link to the file in the e-mail. An example of one such add-in is TODI. You can download it from http://www.aufgang.org/koch/homepage/software/todi.htm

Auto print

The print add-ins are for offices that constantly require to print e-mails. Add-ins in this category, print the e-mail as soon as it arrives. One such add-in can be bought at http://www.sperrysoftware.com

Always inform BOSS

Some organizations pass about a large amount of correspondence, in the form of e-mails. In such cases, it is mostly mandatory to mark a copy to the project or department head, so that the progress of the project can be tracked. Certain add-ins put in a default e-mail address, that is added to every e-mail that is sent, even without the knowledge of the sender. One such add-in, called ‘Always BCC’, can be purchased at www.sperrysoftware.com

Time stamp

Sometimes your e-mails take hours to reach the recipients, even over an Intranet. There are add-ins that time stamp the exact time and date, of when you sent an e-mail. This helps to keep an exact record of important e-mails. These add-ins can be enabled or disabled with a mouse click. You can get one such add-in from http://www.sperrysoftware.com/jcTimeDateSignature.asp

Mass mail

Mass mailing has become the new mantra of marketing gurus; add-ins that enable Mass mailing from Outlook are available. The add-ins vary in the features they provide-some just help you send e-mails, while others help you sort the responses as well. PC iMail, available at http://www.prosoftapps.com/ pcimail.htm, can extract addresses from your Outlook address book. Depending on your security settings, you may get a pop-up asking for permission to carry out the operation or stop it.

Auto-zip attachments

This add-in helps reduce bandwidth requirements. Whenever you attach a file in a new e-mail, this add-in converts your attachment into a zip file, reducing its file size, and in turn reducing the time taken to transfer the e-mail. One of the add-ins in this category is bxAutoZip from www.baxbex.com. Before any e-mail is sent, bxAutozip compresses and zips attached files.

Reminders via e-mail

Some might wonder about the uses of e-mail reminder add-ins. They can be sent to yourself, your colleagues, subordinates, bosses, or even friends. Another advantage is that the reminders aren’t limited to Outlook users, as they can be sent even to non-Outlook users. This add-in is available at www.sperrysoftware.com.

Access files from home

This is a unique add-in and perhaps the most exciting. Once installed it gives you remote access to any file on your computer, via e-mail. All you do is send yourself an e-mail, specifying the path of the file, and you get a return e-mail with the file as an attachment. It takes care of the security issue by allowing you to specify the return address initially. Thus whenever a request arrives, the file needed is sent to only that e-mail address. However, you should know the path of the file in advance, as it does not allow you to view directory structures.

Auto redirect

Not all companies have a Web-mail facility, they just provide POP3 access from computers, within the organization. You won’t be allowed to access your e-mail from outside the company premises. In such a situation, you need a tool that redirects your e-mail to a Web-based e-mail account, which will allow you to access them from anywhere outside office. One such add-in is AutoRedirect from IvaSoft-http://victori. hypermart.net/ autoredirect.html. This add-in creates a folder within the Inbox, called Redirect: xyz@something.com.
As soon as you restart Outlook, it will ask you for the e-mail address, which you want your e-mails forwarded to. If you drop any e-mail into this new folder it will automatically be forwarded to the e-mail address you have set. Next, create some rules in Outlook, that will send a copy of all e-mails to the redirect folder. You can now access your e-mails through a Web-mail service.
If the e-mails are not forwarded, you might be using Outlook in Internet Mail Only (IMO) mode. In this case you will need another add-in called Redirector2002 to support AutoRedirect. This add-in is also available at the IvaSoft Web site http://victori.hypermart.net/redirector.html. To check what mode Outlook is running in, go to Help > About Microsoft Outlook. The second line or text string, will tell you which mode Outlook is configured to. Whenever an e-mail is sent Outlook might pop up a message box asking for permission to forward the e-mail. You can disable this message by adding another add-in from IvaSoft available at http://www.express-soft.com/mailmate/ clickyes.html

Auto reply

Replying to each e-mail in your mailbox, can take up a lot of time. Add-ins can be used to send pre-formatted responses, depending upon the content of the e-mail.
You can configure the add-in to search for words, such as resume, bio-data, etc and instruct it to send a precompiled e-mail to the sender. The add-in is available at http://www.nextword.com/autoReplyprod.htm.

SMS

Typing an SMS on your cell phone can cause eye strain. With this new plug-in you can SMS in the form of an e-mail, using a persons mobile number as the e-mail address. The plug-in is available at http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ringtones/sms-plugin.htm. However, this plugin comes for a fee.

Insert recipients quickly

If you send frequent e-mails to certain addresses, then you can make use of the ‘Recipient List’ in Eudora for quick access to their e-mail addresses. To add a user to this list, go to Tools > Address Book. Click on the desired user and you will see the entire details for the selected user. In the Recipient List checkbox, select Yes.
Once you have added the desired recipients to the Recipient List, sending e-mail to them will be much easier. To do this, right click in the To, Cc or Bcc box, select ‘Insert Recipient’ and click on the desired recipient.

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Remove the reply bar

For those who get irritated by the bar that appears while replying, there is some good news. There are shortcut keys to remove those bars. Select the lines from which you wish to remove the bar and press [Ctrl] + [.]. If you need to add those bars again, select the lines and press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [.].

Sponsored mode problem

The free version of Eudora available on the Internet, is a sponsored version. Hence, sometimes you get an error message that says Eudora was not able to download ads. To tackle this problem, you need to locate your Eudora folder, and go to the eudpriv > ads folder. Delete all files within the ads folder, and restart Eudora. The problem will vanish.

Change mail arrival sound

You can change the sound played whenever a new e-mail arrives, by assigning a .wav file from Tools > Options > Getting Attention. Click the unnamed button, locate the .wav file, and click Open. Now, whenever you receive an e-mail, your sound of choice will be played.

Backing up all emails

Backing up your Eudora e-mails is as simple as copy-pasting. Find the Eudora folder-its location in Windows 98 is c:\windows\application data\qualcomm\eudora-select all the files with *.mbx, *.pce, *.txt and *.fol extensions. Copy the selected files to a backup storage device. The *.mbx, *.pce and *.fol files relate to e-mails, while *.txt files contain the address book.

Delete e-mail entirely

Eudora, by default, does not delete attachments. To delete both the attachments and the e-mail, go to Tools > Options > Attachments. Select the ‘Delete attachments when emptying trash’ option. From now on e-mails will be deleted in their entirety.

Drafts

Instead of typing similar e-mail body text for commonly formatted e-mails, such as responses to standard information requests, you can save general layouts of the kinds of e-mail you most frequently send. These are saved as ‘Stationery’ in Eudora, and are ready to be sent later, with minor last minute changes. To create new ‘Stationery’, go to Tools > Stationery; a blank window will open up. Right click in this window and select New. In the composition window, fill in as many fields as you wish, and save the stationery. Sending the e-mail is now as simple as double clicking a Stationery item and making last minute changes, if any.

Mail list

Sometimes, people have more than one e-mail address. You can send an e-mail to all a person’s addresses, by creating a Mail list. To do this, when you create a user entry in the address book, you see a box stating, ‘This nickname will expand to the following addresses’, just enter as many e-mail addresses as you want, and your list is ready.

Hot chilies

Whenever you are composing an e-mail, Eudora determines your mood by checking for specific words in the message. Depending on the words and language used, it checks the degree of offensive material. Eudora gives a symbolic representation to each e-mail-1 chilly, 2 chillies or 3 chillies-to represent the type of language. As the offensiveness of the language used increases, so does the number of chillies. To check or change the settings, go to Tools > Options > MoodWatch.

Work faster

The fastest way to send e-mail is to press [Ctrl] + [E] to open the send e-mail box.

View all headers

Generally, e-mail clients don’t show all the header fields. To view all header fields, open the e-mail and click the ‘BLAH BLAH BLAH’ button.

Filter on nick

Eudora provides a different way to filter e-mails. Instead of the usual filter, using the e-mail address, Eudora allows you to filter using nicknames. In this way even if the e-mail address of the person changes, the mail will still be recognisable. Though, if both nick and mail ID change, it would bypass the filter. To set up a filter go to Tools > Filter > New. Specify the condition and action, and you’re done.

Vacation reply

With the help of Filter and Stationery, you can configure Eudora to reply to all e-mails that arrive within a specified period. The filter acts a dummy controller-you can draft a personalized reply, and whenever an e-mail arrives during this vacation period, the personalized draft is sent as a reply to the sender.

E-mail traffic report

One of the really useful features of Eudora is the graphical analysis of the number of e-mails being handled. It shows a graphical chart for e-mails arrived, e-mails sent and Eudora usage. It shows the report for the current day and the previous day. Similarly, it also shows a weekly, monthly and yearly report.

Add-ins

Eudora has add-ins to facilitate and automate many frequent tasks. These are easily downloadable from the Internet. Here are some of the more popular ones.

MailAlert

This add-in runs as a standalone program, using Eudora’s e-mail settings to poll the e-mail server at regular intervals. If it detects new e-mail at the server, then it pops up a window indicating the arrival. It also provides ways to reply to, read and delete e-mails directly from the server. The MailAlert add-in can be downloaded from http://www.diamondridge.com/software/mailalert/index.htm.

Address book to HTML

You may want to publish your address book on your Web site for others to refer to. This add-in helps to export Eudora’s address book to HTML format. It consists of an executable program, which needs to know the folder location of the address book. In Windows 98 the default folder is C:\Windows\Application Data\qualcomm\eudora. The add-in needs ‘NNdbase.txt’, which contains the entire Eudora address book. On clicking the convert button, an html file is created in the same folder by the name NNdbase.htm. The add-in itself provides a way to view the converted file. It is available at http://www.mindspring.com/~aegreene/eudora/.

Mail to HTML

Mail to HTML is similar to the address to HTML add-in. Let’s say you subscribe to a mailing list and have an interesting e-mail in your inbox, which you would like to share with others. You can upload this to a Web site, Intranet or Internet-based, with just a few mouse clicks. The add-in effectively converts the entire mailbox into HTML pages. It generally finds the source folder, and you have to specify the destination folder where the HTML files will reside after conversion. Apart from this you can even convert the e-mails into normal text files. The plug-in is available at http://users.erols.com/tgitlin/

Synchronise two PCs

If you have two computers, both running Eudora, with separate address books, you can use this plug-in to synchronise the address book between both machines. It has an interface window, where you select the address file-NNdbase.txt-from the first computer and then from the second computer. A destination file that consists of a compiled address book, from both machines, is created. The plug-in is available at http://eudora.interweb.be/addins.html.

BackDora

BackDora, an add-in from ajsystems.com, helps to backup Eudora e-mails and the address book. It packs together important files into a compressed zip file. The add-in is available as a free download at http://eudora.interweb.be/addins.html. The add-in works as a standalone application, but uses Eudora’s settings. When you run BackDora for the first time, you will be requested to select the profile to backup.

Setting up LDAP

Many companies provide LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) servers for tracking people’s contact information. To configure an LDAP server in Evolution, go to Tools > Settings, select the ‘Directory Servers’ tab and click Add. You will see the LDAP configuration assistant. Click on Next and enter the server name, for example ldap.somecompany.com, and select the login type. Click Next, select the port number to use-by default it is 389-and enter the search options, if any. Select a display name, click Next and then click on Finish.

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vFolders

vFolders are virtual folders, which can be used to receive mail using specific search criteria. This is quite similar to filters except that vFolders do not contain any e-mail-what appears in the virtual folders are just links to actual e-mails, contained in the inbox. Deleting mails in vFolders does not delete them from the inbox.
To create a new virtual folder, select Tools > Virtual Folder Editor. Click Add and specify the rule name, for instance, Huge Mails. Select the If criteria, for example, file size, and the vFolder sources, and click OK.

Emptying trash

It can be tiresome to delete mails from the Inbox and then again from the Trash. A better option is to let Evolution delete the trash, when you exit. To set this option, click on Tools > Settings, and select the Mail Preferences tab. Under deleting mail, check Empty trash folders on exit.

Importing contacts from Outlook

Using Outlook, export all your contacts to a .csv file. A perl script csv2vcard.pl is provided in Evolution to convert .csv files to VCard files (.vcf). Use the command: csv2vcard.pl filename.csv filename.vcf and import the .vcf file into Evolution using File > Import. Select ‘Import a single file’ and click Next, then select the file type as Vcard and type in the filename. Click on the Import button and select a folder, to which the file will be imported, and click OK to finish.

Managing recent mail

If you get annoyed by the huge number of e-mails lined up in your mailbox and only want recent mail, then Evolution has the perfect solution for you. You can set it to display recent mails by going to Search > Advanced. Type in a rule name, such as ‘daily mail’ or ‘recent mail’, select ‘Date received’ under the If criteria. Click on ‘Click here to select a date’, and select Compare against ‘A time relative to the current time’. Adjust the number of minutes, hours, days, etc., according to your preferences, and click OK.

Prevent image loading

In order to prevent images from loading in Evolution, go to Tools > Settings, and click on the Mail Preferences tab. Here, select HTML Mail and click on ‘Never load images off the Net’, and click Apply or OK.

Creating a new e-mail account

To create a new account, go to Tools > Settings, and select Mail Accounts. Click Add, fill in the details, and select the incoming server type-generally POP. Give the name of the POP server, such as pop.jasubhai.com, and your username. Make sure that the Authentication type is Password, and then click Next. Set the e-mail checking and message storage options as per your personal preferences. Select the outgoing server type -generally SMTP-type in the host name and your username. Click Next. Type the name of the account-by default it will be your e-mail ID. Click Next, and then Finish, to complete the account creation.

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Using colour

Quoted text can be highlighted using various colours in Evolution, unlike the traditional methods of indenting quotations. Go to Tools > Settings and click on Mail Preferences. In the General tab, select ‘Highlight quotations with color’ and select the preferred colour.

Enable spell checking

Go to Tools > Settings, select Composer Preferences and click on the Spell Checking tab. Select ‘Check spelling while I type’. Adjust the colour of misspelled words and click Ok.

Adding folders to Summary

In Evolution, the Summary page displays your most important folders. By default it displays the Inbox of the default account. But what if one of your accounts is equally important and deserves a place in the Summary? You can add another folder by going to Tools > Settings. Click on ‘Summary Preferences’, and select the required folders.

Adding news feeds

The Summary page displays news feeds from many Web sites using RDF (Resource Description Format). To add news feeds, go to Tools > Settings, click on Summary Preferences and then the News Feeds tab. Select from the given list of Web sites, and click on Add. To add a website of your own choice, other than those provided in the default list, click on the ‘Add news feed’ button, give the name and address of the website and click on Ok. The website will now appear in the list of available news feeds

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Adding emoticons

To add emoticons to messages, start composing a message and place the cursor at the required line. Then select Insert > Smileys and insert the emoticon you want. In case the emoticons don’t show, go to Tools > Settings, then to Composer Preferences > General, uncheck ‘Automatically insert smiley images’ and click OK.

Open folders in a new window

Sometimes, it is better to open multiple windows, so that you are not restricted to doing one thing at a time. To do this in Evolution, just right click on the folder in the folder bar and select Open in a new window. If the folder bar is not visible, select View > Folder Bar from the menu.

Default forward style

Forwarding e-mail is one of the most frequent e-mail activities. Forwarding e-mail can be done in a number of ways-inline, quoted, or as attachments. In Evolution, you can specify a default method. Go to Tools > Settings and click on Composer Preferences > General. In the Default Behavior section, select the Forward Style as Attachment, Inline or Quoted.

Composing HTML mail

Writing an e-mail in plain text can be monotonous, which is why users may prefer using HTML. Evolution provides facilities for formatting text in a variety of ways using HTML. To enable this, go to Tools > Settings and click on Composer Preferences. Select the General tab and tick ‘Format messages in HTML’.

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