Saturday, October 16, 2010

NoReplyAll Outlook Addin - Flips the bit to disable recipients from ReplyAll’ing (and also adds goof checks, like missing attachments, subject’s, etc)

Microsoft Research - NoReplyAll Outlook Add-In

“The primary function is to add a couple of buttons to the Outlook ribbon to prevent people from doing a reply-all to your message, or forwarding it (using a facility built into Outlook & Exchange which is really lightweight compared to using IRM machinery, but which is not exposed in the existing UI). However, it also includes a check for email goofs such as omitting attachments or subject lines.

This works with both Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010, as long as you're using an Exchange account. I'm afraid that it only works on English Windows/Outlook [GD: emphasis added], but I'm investigating localisation issues.

A number of people have noticed that Outlook & Exchange offer hidden flags that let you specify if people are able to reply-all to or forward your email - for example, Scott Hanselmandescribes a neat little bit of VBA that lets you access them.

However, I wanted to have the current state of those flags reflected in the Outlook ribbon but wasn't able to achieve that with just VBA, so I applied the might of VSTO instead - complete overkill for twiddling two bits, but definitely easy to write and looks quite nice at the end of it all.

When you install this thing, you'll see a couple of extra buttons at the end of the ribbon: No Reply All and No Forward. As the names suggest, clicking on these will prevent recipients of your emails from performing those two actions; [GD: emphasis added] clicking again toggles the relevant option off again.

And just because I could, I added an extra bit of functionality to warn you if you send an email with a blank subject line - since that's built into Outlook 2010 this is only active in Outlook 2007. After doing that, I got a bit carried away and included a detector for missing attachments when you send an email - you can create a list of keywords (such as "attached" and "attachment" - whatever terms you're likely to use) via Outlook's options pages; then, when you send an email containing one of those words, the addin will check to see if there are attachments and warn you if not. Actually, the mechanism is slightly more sophisticated: …”

This SO should be baked into Outlook. I mean doesn’t everyone hate the email storms from department/practice/company-wide emails generate do to Reply All’s? To bad I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting this rolled out to my company and/or actually used… Oh well, it’s always good to have a dream… lol ;)

My install of it went smooth and easy (XP SP3, Outlook 2010)… Now to see if it works. hum… who to email… :p

(via Windows Observer - NoReplyAll Add-in From Microsoft Research Updated)

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