Friday, February 1, 2008

MAPILab’s Attachments Processor for Microsoft Outlook


By Kathy T. Evans-Davis

Tired of manually saving your email attachments? Well, thanks to MAPILab's Attachments Processor for Outlook, your troubles could be over.

In my last article, I gave you an unorthodox comparison of trimming your mailbox with trimming your waistline. This go round, I'll introduce to you a more conventional way of downsizing your Microsoft Outlook mailbox.

One method of managing your email and freeing up space is to manage your attachments. MAPILab's Attachment Processor for Outlook add-in extends Microsoft Outlook functionality, increases productivity, eliminates duplicates, and manages attachments. The current version (4.2) is one of the most functional attachments management tools on the market. Sperry Software also offers an attachment manager add-in, and in a future article, I'll compare it with MAPILab's.

MAPILab's Attachments Processor for Outlook extracts attachments from incoming messages and saves them to your hard drive. Extracted attachments are replaced in the incoming message with a link to the saved file. Attachments Processor allows you to automatically:

  • Save attachments in a specified order;
  • Sort attachments for future use;
  • Manage the security settings for attachments;
  • Pack attachments into ZIP archives in outgoing messages;
  • Unpack attachments in incoming messages;
  • Protect attachments you send with a password;

The following paragraphs will show how you might benefit from Attachments Processor and will demonstrate some useful functionality.

Basic setup

A major and sometimes painstaking task of project management is status reporting. Project managers distribute weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports via email to their teams. Let's say I'm a lead software developer on my team and am responsible for submitting data to the weekly status report and need my team to provide input reflecting their accomplishments.

To do this, each person would need access to all of the reports to keep track of previously reported issues and to update their status. In this case, it would make sense to move all weekly status report messages to a specific folder by using an Outlook rule and saving the files to a shared folder. This is accomplished by using Attachments Processor in "simple" mode and configuring it for automatic processing. Here's how Attachments Processor does the trick.