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25 Outlook E-mail Rules February 20, 2006

Posted by peewitsol in Technical.
Without sounding like Miss Manners, here are my 25 rules of Outlook email etiquette.  

1) KEEP EMAILS SHORT – Don’t write a novel. Keep the email to one or two pages of text. Any longer, consider using an attachment.

2) REPLY QUICKLY – Respond within 24 hours. Send a quick email if it will take you longer to reply.

3) CHOOSE A MEANINGFUL SUBJECT LINE:  Be clear, not cleaver or cute. Don’t be vague (i.e. “Hi there”) Use something relevant to clarify the email’s content. This also allows them to locate your email in the future.

4) VERIFY YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSES – This is still a common mistake: sending an email to the wrong person, or overlooking an email address in a list of people. This can be embarrassing and disastrous, so double-check!

5) USE BCC: TO HIDE RECIPIENTS NAMES – Not only is a long list of recipients unsightly, but most people do not feel comfortable with their email address displayed to strangers. Use BCC: to hide people’s email address when sending to a group of people.

To enable BCC:

  1. From the email’s toolbar, click on the Options’ down arrow
  2. Select BCC

6) USE DISTRIBUTION GROUPS – If you frequently send to the same group of people create a distribution list containing all of their email addresses. 

How to Create a Distribution List: 

  1. From the File pull-down menu, select New, followed by Distribution List.
  2. In the Name box, type a name.
  3. Click Select Members.
  4. In the Show names from the list, click the address book that contains the e-mail addresses you want in your distribution list.
  5. Double-click on the email addresses you want to include, then click OK.
  6. If you wish to add any other email addresses not in your contacts, click Add New and enter those addresses manually.
  7. Click Save and Close.

The distribution list is now in your Contacts list, and can be used when sending an email to that group. 

7) CHECK SPELLING, GRAMMAR & PUNCTUATION – Your writing reflects you and your company. Reread your documents before sending. If you’re not a strong writer, read your email aloud before clicking send. 

Use WORD to Create/Edit Your Emails & Turn-On Auto Spell Correct: 

  1. From Outlook’s Tools pull-down menu, select Options
  2. Click Mail Format tab
  3. Select Use Microsoft Word to edit e-mail messages check box
  4. Click Spelling tab
  5. Select Always suggest replacements for misspelled words
  6. Select Always check spelling before sending
  7. Click OK 

8) DON’T MISUSE REPLY ALLBe careful when replying to an entire mailing list. It’s rare that the entire mailing list needs to see your reply.

9) DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS – Why this still needs to be a rule is beyond me. Mankind invented lowercase letters because they’re easier to read. STOP SHOUTING!

10) ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS BY QUOTING (AND REEDITING) THE ORIGINAL EMAIL MESSAGE – When answering questions from an email, quote the original email along with your reply. Email responses of “Sure, sounds great. . .” are not useful. Many topics will require reediting the original text to answer all questions separately.

11) AVOID JOKES, HUMOR & SARCASM – Use your own humor and sarcasm sparingly; your wit will probably be misunderstood in print anyway.  

Don’t forward jokes. But if you do: run spell-check, remove all of the “>>” forward marks, use BCC: when sending to many people, and be aware that your friends may viewing your joke at work . . . so warn them if it is not G-Rated! 

If you forward MANY jokes, people may no longer respond to your emails quickly or ignore them completely.


12) DON’T ARGUE OR SEND EMAILS WHEN ANGRY – Since you’ve learned that your humor and sarcasm will be misunderstood, so shall your anger.  Attempting to argue in an email is futile. It’s best to wait before writing your email, or even better give them a phone call.  

How to: Configure Outlook to delay sending your emails  

If your email is more complicated than a few paragraphs of text (i.e. tables, graphs, graphics) it will probably be reformatted (incorrectly) when read by the recipient. Reading colored stationary and special & colored fonts don’t look correct on non Outlook programs, and look even worse on a mobile device. If you need to preserve the special formatting of your document; send it as a Word or PDF attachment. 

14) AVOID ATTACHMENT MISTAKES – The most common mistakes when attaching files are: 

  1. Forgetting to actually attach the file
  2. Sending too large of an attachment (under 2MB for some systems, 1MB for others)
  3. Not telling the recipient to expect an attachment
  4. Not telling the recipient what type of file is attached
  5. Sending to a company that removes all attachments due to potential viruses  

15) CREATE A SIGNATURE – Include a brief signature (i.e. name, address, phone number, email address, company name, disclaimer, website) on your email messages. Avoid scanned images. 

  1. From Outlook’s Tools pull-down menu, select Options
  2. On the Mail Format tab, click Signatures
  3. In the Create Signature dialog box, click New
  4. In the Enter a name for your new signature box, type a name for your new reply signature, click Next
  5. In the Signature text box, type your signature, click Finish
  6. Click OK (closing the Create Signature dialog box)
  7. Change the Signature for new messages box to the reply signature you created in Step 5
  8. Change the Signature for replies and forwards box to the reply signature you created in Step 5
  9. Click OK (closing the Options dialog box) 

NOTE: Do not use vCards – while sounding like a nice method for signatures; they appear as an attached file and are not recognized by all email programs, as well as ignored by most people. 

16) WHEN TO FORWARD EMAILS – You “should” tell the original author that you’re forwarding their email. Since this is rarely done, remember that your own emails may too be forwarded without your knowledge! (See #22)

17) COMPANY EMAIL RULE – If you send an email from your company, it came from your company. Don’t use your company’s email for anything personal – period.

18) REMEMBER EMAILS ARE READ AT SOMEONE’S WORKPLACE – Don’t send anything inappropriate for public viewing; if you do, give the recipient a warning!

19) DON’T FLAG EMAIL AS URGENTUnless required by your company; don’t use this feature because it doesn’t work with all email programs, and they’re typically ignored by most people.

20) DON’T USE REQUEST A DELIVERY RECEIPTUnless required by your company; don’t use this feature because it can only be enforced within your company. It doesn’t work with all email programs, and people feel they’re untrustworthy. 

To use Request a delivery receipt:

  1. From the email’s toolbar, click Options
  2. Under Voting and Tracking options, select Request a delivery receipt for this message
  3. Click Close 

21) DON’T USE RECALL/REPLACE A MESSAGEThis feature simply does NOT work outside a company’s Exchange Server. Besides, you usually look unprofessional because your email had already been read. (Support Document: How message recall works.)

22) EMAIL IS INDEED ETCHED IN STONE – Your email is not anonymous. And while you may have intended for only “one person” to read your email, it can (and may) be read by others. 

NOTE1: If your company needs to protect your emails, please watch this Microsoft’s Digital Rights Management demonstration.

NOTE2: Support Document How To Send An Anonymous Email. 

23) SETUP MULTIPLE EMAIL ACCOUNTS – Keep your work life separate from your personal life. Create email accounts for: work, personal, online gaming & shopping. 

NOTE1: Setup a free Hotmail email account.

NOTE2: Support Documents: How to use multiple e-mail accounts in Outlook & Outlook Express. 

24) INSTANT MESSAGING – should be used for quick “conversations” and is beginning to overtake email for this exact purpose. Email should be used to document a conversation. 

Download MSN Messenger for Windows or Macintosh. 

25) DON’T ALWAYS USE OUTLOOK – Just because email is easier, pick up the phone or meet in person. Don’t hide behind your computer monitor!
My thanks to http://spaces.msn.com/bhandler/blog/cns!70F64BC910C9F7F3!602.entry?_c=BlogPart 



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