Vol. 23, #14 - April 09, 2018 - Issue #1176
WServerNews: Ask Our Readers - Reply in Outlook with a template
- Editor's Corner
- Ask Our Readers - Need a good clipboard replacement (new question)
- Ask Our Readers - Reply in Outlook with a template (reader responses)
- Ask Our Readers - Prevent use of MS Edge (one response)
- Ask Our Readers - Third-party RDP apps? (seeking more responses)
- Ask Our Readers!
- Send us your feedback
- Recommended for Learning
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Factoid of the Week - For astronomy nerds
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- This Week's Tips
- Group Policy - List of settings
- Exchange - Quick guide to default send/receive connector config
- Office 365 - Script to display license info
- Events Calendar
- More upcoming events
- New on TechGenix.com
- Recommended articles from TechGenix.com
- Tech Briefing - Enterprise IT
- The technical value of WSSD validated HCI solutions, part 2
- Notes from the Field: GPO vs Local Policies
- Group membership isn't consistent in AD Users and Computers
- Failover Cluster - An error was encountered while loading the network topology
- NIC Location on domain controller shows Public network
- Other Articles of Interest
- Okta's Businesses at Work Report, Jamf Growth, and More
- Dell EMC VDI helps university expand application access
- Skip Product Key When Sysprepping Win10
- Appthority announces integration with managed Google Play
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- Google Wind - Launch April 1
- Real Life Trick Shots - Part 2 - Dude Perfect
- If It Fits - I Sits 2
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Recover single files or entire VMs from storage snapshots
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
In this week's newsletter we're going to share with you a bunch of responses we received in response to one of the Ask Our Readers questions we included in last week's issue of WServerNews. We also have our usual assortment of tips, tools, links and fun videos. Plus as a bonus this week Your Editor also has included an Ask Our Readers question of his own that he is seeking your help, so please help me out if you possibly can--thanks!
Don't forget that if you are facing some difficulty in your IT environment and would like to tap into the collective expertise of our more than 400,000 subscribers, just send your question to us at [email protected] and we'll include it an issue of WServerNews.
We all need help sometimes, and that's part of what building community is all about. IT pros tend to be creative and self-reliant individuals but we also face huge challenges almost every day, so it's great when we can tap on a colleague's shoulder (even by text or email) and ask for some help. So let's each of us today try to reach out to a colleague somewhere who needs some help, and let's do all we can to improve the wider image of our global IT pro community. After all, we're not just a bunch of overweight self-absorbed obsessive-compulsive antisocial screen-addicted nerds, right?
Let's see how Dilbert helped his own company improve its image within the wider online community:
Yeah, that'll work!
Ask Our Readers - Need a good clipboard replacement (new question)
Avim's question last week about how to use Outlook to reply to customer emails by selecting a standard answer from a set of possible answers got me thinking about a more basic question, which is how to assemble a document by selecting portions of text from a collection of possible text portions you've saved elsewhere. In other words, I'm talking about (I think) a tool that replaces the built-in Windows clipboard and has at a minimum the following characteristics:
- Lets you save multiple portions of copied text so you can paste them into Word docs.
- Is easy to use and not clunky i.e. lets you organize your copied text portions so you can quickly find, select and paste the copied text you want to paste into a doc with only a single mouse-click or key press.
- Works on all currently supported versions of Windows i.e. Windows 7, 8 and 10.
Additional features that could be useful might be:
- Can also store Word-formatted text including tables etc and also embedded files like images and videos.
- Works well with and across all other MS Office programs including Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. And maybe also some non-Microsoft programs like Adobe Acrobat.
- Supports some form of macro/automation language e.g. to create subsets of copied text arranged in a specific order that you can paste with a single mouse click or key press.
- Lets you store copied text in the cloud so you can use it from multiple machines.
- Other (?)
Can any readers offer any suggestions concerning utilities and/or cloud services they've tried or have been using for such purposes? A few years ago I tried a few free tools but gave up using them after finding them too clunky to use, especially for organizing and/or finding stuff I clipped for pasting. If you can suggest anything in this regard (which I think could also be useful in Avim's need scenario) please email me at [email protected]
And now on to our reader responses regarding Avim's question in last week's newsletter…
Ask Our Readers - Reply in Outlook with a template (reader responses)
We received quite a volume of responses from our readers in response to this item. To begin with, a number of readers suggested using Quick Parts, a built-in feature of Microsoft Outlook. For example, David a Microsoft Certified Professional from Canberra, Australia says:
Easy, it's all built in: Outlook, Insert, Quick Parts. Copy and paste "Standard" replies to the Quick Parts gallery then it's only a couple of clicks to insert whichever one you want.
Another reader named Rusty points to some instructions for this feature:
In the April 2 TechGenix newsletter, Avim from Israel asked about using templates to reply to emails. Might try using Quick Parts in Outlook. This is a link to simple setup instructions:
Quick Parts is a pretty nifty feature that I've never bothered to explore, and I see it's available on the Insert tab in Word also so I'll have to try playing around with it sometime.
Another reader named Paul offered a different suggestion, namely using the Quick Steps dialog box in Outlook. Paul graciously provided some detailed instructions on doing this:
Regarding Avim's question about setting up Outlook "pre-canned" replies…. Any recent version of Outlook that has the Quick Steps option on the ribbon (so 2010 & above I'd guess), can do this via a Quick-Step
- Open the Quick Steps dialog box from the Home ribbon by clicking on Create New in the Quick Steps gallery...
- Give it a suitable name (I made canned answer 1 in the above image)
- Drop down the actions list (where it says Choose an Action)
- Scroll down & select "Reply" from the available actions.
- Click on the Show Options hyperlink that then appears just below it.
- In the dialog that appears, enter the required response text in the Text box. Everything else can be left as-is.
- Click Finish. You will now have a new quick-step named as you chose.
- Highlight any email & click your new quick-step. A new reply compose window will launch with your chosen text already entered as the reply. It will not automatically send the mail (with the current settings, perhaps this can be added) -I like the fact that the mail can be inspected/adjusted before sending…
New quick-steps you add are ordered first in the quick steps selection list, but the order can be customised in the Manage Quick Steps dialog. Even then, I guess with a lot of pre-canned replies, or if their names are long-ish, you would rapidly run out of display space, so getting them out onto a custom ribbon button would be a nice next step.. I haven't yet figured out how to break out the individual quick steps to buttons, although it was fairly trivial to create a new custom ribbon bar with just the quick step section on it (both of which I could rename), and show all the quickstep items as a drop-down…
All without even touching any code…. I'd guess that with a little VBA it should be quite easy to get at the individual quick steps, and make them into buttons. Alternatively, the same drop-down can be added to the quick-access toolbar, which might be a bit more convenient than on a ribbon, custom or otherwise…
Seems to fairly well provide what Avim was asking for…HTH
I like that as I already use Quick Steps for organizing my emails, so this seems like another good option to consider for sending template emails.
Another suggestion is to use the Signatures feature of Outlook. Several readers suggested this approach as one of the possible options Avim might consider. For example, Julie who works in IT Asset Management for a US government agency in Minnesota said:
I have used several options in Outlook for canned replies:
- Creating a template can work very well and you can pin them to the task bar for easy retrieval. I have also added spaces to customize the message, for example the name of the person I am emailing.
- At times I have used Signatures for canned responses or blocks of text. This is an easy way to access text or email reply as well.
- Another option would be to use Quick Parts. You can save text blocks to add to emails.
With either of the 3 above it may not be as efficient if you have many different responses.
Craig a Business Manager in Washington State, USA offered similar suggestions:
I can think of a couple of ways of achieving this. First up, if you want to click reply and select text to include, why not just use a bunch of different signatures? You can then simply select which signature you want from the drop down list which can include the full text.
Another way is to boilerplate your text -- or to use the Outlook term "Quick Parts". This would be better if you wanted to include several stock phrases in a single email reply. On the insert tab, go to Quick Parts and the rest should be pretty obvious.
There's apparently also a feature called Outlook Templates which is something I wasn't aware of that several readers mentioned. Janell, a Software Development Manager based in Florida, USA says:
Good morning, Outlook does have the option to create Email Message Template (*.oft) and forms. Here's a great tutorial I found online:
Not every reader feels that Outlook Templates are useful however. For example Mike a Network Engineer in Des Moines, Iowa says:
Mitch, Outlook Templates have missed the mark for years…too complex to set up and way too many clicks to use. Fortunately, MS has provided us with Quick Steps. In Outlook's Home ribbon bar, I can immediately click on one of three visible Quick-Step solutions to accomplish a number of email tasks. I created one for Leave Requests for my team so they all had a similar format and subject line, addressed to the manager, and marked with High Importance. The team members simply entered the appropriate dates, times, and leave types (i.e. sick, vacation, comp time).
I also created a Quick Step to move emails to a certain mailbox folder, and another to forward important emails to my manager. The Quick Steps is to Outlook what Macros are to Word or Excel. I suspect Avim could easily set up a few different Quick Steps based on their company's typical reply options. Standardization is great for periodic email searches, but time-saving steps on daily routines is a real life-saver.
Another suggestion, this one made by a reader named Brian, is to create a bunch of Draft emails in Outlook and use them like this:
I create standard letters/emails which I save individually as Drafts (with a suitable subject line to tell me what it's about, of course). To reply, I open the draft, Select All -> Copy then Paste into my reply. Hope this helps.
Another reader named Sally uses a similar approach:
The best I have been able to do is create my templates (draft email) and save to my draft email folder. I put the name of the template in the subject line. When I need that particular communication to go out, I open it from drafts, edit the To and Subject (remove template), save to drafts again (this is important, or you will lose the template when you hit send) and send. The personalized email goes out and saves to your sent email. The template stays in your draft for next time you need it. Not perfect, but a reasonable work around.
One final suggest from a reader named Bruce is to use the Autocorrect feature of Outlook:
I think the trick of using autocorrect to insert a phrase or paragraph when a certain word or code would do it. Edit the autocorrect file with any size document with your code for that document. Type the code in the email and see if outlook would do it directly. Otherwise have eord open with a blank page and do it. When autocorrect substitutes the passage for the code, just select all, copy, and then paste into the email. Just remember to delete the selected text from the blank word doc and save the blank page ready for the next customer. You can paste the item in your notes too.
Fascinating and innovating idea, thanks!
Ask Our Readers - Prevent use of MS Edge (one response)
Last week a reader named Alessandro asks whether Microsoft Edge can somehow be removed from Windows 10:
Hello Mitch! We have moved on to Win10 but our intranet it still needs IE. So we do not want Edge on our machines! How can we remove?? Or block users from starting it??
Hake who works in Technical Support for an IT outsourcing solution provider in Virginia, USA responded to this with:
Good morning! I haven't found a setting to "disable" Edge entirely, but I do know there is a Group Policy to send all Intranet Sites to IE 11 instead of Edge, which may help:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Edge > Set "Send all intranet sites to Internet Explorer 11" to Enabled. Reboot.
Thanks for that suggestion. And if any other readers have suggestions for Alessandro please email us at [email protected]
Ask Our Readers - Third-party RDP apps? (seeking more responses)
Last week we also included the following question we received from John a sysadmin in Perth, Australia:
Microsoft has its own Remote Desktop Protocol apps for Windows, iOS, and Android and they're free on each platform's store. But what about third-party RDP apps? What's out there that the WServerNews community like to use? I'd love to hear from what other IT pros think about this. And why you use what you use. Thanks!!
We've received a few responses to this question but would like to see if we can get more readers to offer some suggestions concerning this. Does anyone else have anything they'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
Ask Our Readers!
WServerNews now has over 400,000 subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at [email protected]
Send us your feedback
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]
Recommended for Learning
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Factoid of the Week - For astronomy nerds
Last week's factoid and question was this:
Over the last 30 years, computers have actually gotten slower in how they respond to interaction by the user. What do readers think about this?
No responses to this one so maybe our readers are experiencing crashes or hangs on their machines, or they've become slow to respond to key presses because of malware infections. Or maybe no one just cares about their computers anymore.
Whatever. On to this week's factoid:
Fact: Jupiter's Great Red Spot may soon disappear
Question: Any astronomy buffs among our newsletter readership? What's your favorite astronomical story or factoid?
Email your answer to us at [email protected]
Until next week,
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Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas Apr 30 - May 3:
Citrix Synergy in Anaheim, California May 8 - 10:
VeeamON 2018 in Chicago May 14 - 16:
Gartner CIO & IT Executive Summit in Toronto, Canada May 15-17:
Microsoft Ignite 2018 on September 24-28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida USA
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This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
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Real Life Trick Shots - Part 2 - Dude Perfect
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Recover single files or entire VMs from storage snapshots
WServerNews - Editors
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7www.mtit.com.Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.