Tip o’ the Week #9: Delay sending email

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it.
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.  – R. Burns

If you’ve become a regular reader of these Tips, you may have spotted that we’ve skipped a few from the numerical sequence. That’s because they were either Microsoft-specific (and not of much use for external consumption), or were in fact regurgitations of stuff I’d posted to this blog before. Like the bulk Outlook Contacts updater tool that makes all your Contacts’ phone numbers conform to the standard – here.

So that I can keep the sequence the same for the internal and external versions of these tips, I’ll periodically skip a few numbers.

Have you ever sent an email then wished you hadn’t?
Or thought “whoops”, just spotted a mistake?

clip_image001It’s easy to set Outlook to give you a safety net, where emails sit in your Outbox for a few minutes before being sent – you can fish them back out, make changes and resend if necessary.

In Outlook, go into the Rules & Alerts settings (in Outlook 2010, it’s on the File menu), and

  • create a new rule
  • “Start from a blank rule” / “Apply on messages I send”
  • Select “Next” to apply the rule to every message sent (on the “Which condition(s) do you want to check” tab)
  • On the “what do you want to do with this message” page, select the “Defer delivery” option and choose the number of minutes

On a Message-by-message basis, you can set delivery delays too – in Outlook 2010, when you’re writing a message and about to send, look on the ”Options” tab on the Ribbon …


Technorati Tags: ,,

Tip o’ the Week #4: Telling others you’re on holiday

An Outlook calendaring tip today, brought to you in plenty of notice of the summer holiday season. It concerns a practice used in Microsoft – and I suspect, elsewhere – where you set up an appointment in your own calendar when you’re going to be on holiday, and you invite your colleagues/boss/etc to the meeting, so they know you’re away.

If you invite someone to your holiday, it’s a good idea not to annoy them by blocking out their calendar and waking them up with a reminder. By default, if you invite someone to an all-day event, it will require them to accept your invite, it might fire a reminder at 6am on their phone on the day (grrrreat), as well as potentially blocking their calendar out and making them look unavailable…

Here’s an “anonymised” attempt to book someone for a meeting when their whole day has been obliterated by someone else being on holiday…


So, if you do want to let people know you won’t be around, create a 2nd appointment in your clip_image004calendar (set the start and finish dates to whatever is appropriate, and tick the “all day event” box … no need to set up a recurring meeting lasting several days).

Make sure the time is shown as “Free”, that reminder is “None”, and if you want a truly low-annoyance footprint, don’t even request a response.

Of course, Microsoft UK’s Toni Kent suggests a couple of alternatives…

Sick of other people’s holiday’s cluttering up your calendar?  Don’t accept them! 

Mail tips (in Outlook 2010) & shared calendars (published on SharePoint and synchronised with Outlook) remove the need for:

1. you to spend time sending your holiday requests to all & sundry and

2. you being depressed by seeing other people’s time off when you’re hard at work!

Technorati Tags: ,

Tip o’ the Week #3: IE8 usage tips

This week, we’re all about Internet Explorer. IE9 will be with us in a while, but in the meantime make sure you get the best out of IE8. ZDNet’s Ed Bott published a nice overview of some of the good usability functionality, when IE8 came out: read here.

Here are a collection if tip-ettes to make your browsing more bearable, to make your surfing sublime. In fact, some of these have been around for years and applied to other versions, but weren’t popularly known.

Tip-pette #1

· You don’t need to type http://. If you type anything into the Internet Explorer address bar, it will pre-pend the “http://” bit for you if it’s not already there.

Tip-pette #2

· When you have an IE window, you can move the “focus” to the address bar by pressing ALT-D. This also selects the entire address of the current page, so you can quickly copy it to your clipboard (CTRL-C). For other shortcut keys, click here.

Tip-pette #3

· If you press CTRL-ENTER when typing an entry into the address bar, IE will automatically add the http://www. And the .com bits for you… clip_image002

· If you press SHIFT-ENTER, IE will jump to the URL at the top of your most recent list …

So, putting it all together… in IE, press ALT-D, type bing, and press CTRL-ENTER, and you’ve gone to the world’s best search engine in 6 key presses.

Technorati Tags: ,

Tip o’ the Week #2: Travel times in Outlook

Another Outlook tip this week.

There have been some calls for Microsoft to include a “Travel Time” capability to Outlook, that lets you automatically add getting-to and getting-from time to an existing Outlook appointment. There is one internal addin which integrates Bing maps to calculate the time taken to get from point A to the location of an appointment, and creates appointments in your calendar which bracket the original, for the travel duration as calculated by Bing. It even includes turn by turn directions and a bitmap of the route. There are a few existing, external addins which do similar – see here.

clip_image002Those Brits of you who like to travel by choo-choo will doubtless be familiar with the National Rail enquiries website – and the eagle-eyed may have spotted that the results you get from searching now allow you to Add to Calendar. This opens a file which contains the details of the train times and lets you save it directly into your calendar.

If the above process is a bit too click-happy for you, the National Rail folks have built an Outlook Addin to not only add the times to your calendar, but to allow you to search for train times from there too. Simply create an appointment, right-click on it and you’ll see the National Rail Journey Planner listed as an option – select that, and once you’ve located the appropriate trains, it will add them to your calendar automatically.

Click here for more details and a video demo.

Sadly, at this point, the addin doesn’t appear to work with Outlook 2010. Feel free to contact NRE directly to suggest they update the addin to be compatible with Outlook 2010.

Technorati Tags: ,,