Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Two things you can’t do in Outlook


By Francine Otterson

Sometimes readers want Outlook to do things that seem reasonable, but which it still doesn't do. Here are two such examples.

Mail merge with attachments

Reader Fabienne Devriese asks:

We have set up a mailing using mail merge. No problem there. However, we would like to send a newsletter along as an attachment but this does not seem to work. What are we overlooking?

Save time and increase your productivity by making the most of some of the built-in features of Outlook.

Did you know Outlook does mail merges, recreating the same or basically the same letter or email to the same people on a continual basis? Save an enormous amount of time by using the mail merge feature built into both Outlook and Word. Personally, I find Word more user friendly to do a mail merge and it will prompt you to select contacts from Outlook. Check both methods out.

As our reader Fabienne has discovered, one thing missing in the mail merge feature is the ability to include attachments. Outlook out-of-the-box does not have this functionality. Therefore a third party tool or code would need to be used to address this need. You might want to look at Mail Merge Toolkit from MAPILab. It's $24, at

Check out for some tools as well as link to the VBA method at the bottom of the Web page.

Printing calendars side-by-side

Krishna Easton asks:

I work as an executive assistant and use Outlook to handle my supervisor's calendar. We also have permissions to view and print other user's calendars in our area. Is there a way to print multiple calendars together on one page (i.e., two user calendars, one page, two-fold)?

Outlook calendar provides the ability to view and even edit other user's calendars as long as you have the necessary permissions. Even better, Outlook 2003 has the ability to be able to see all of your shared calendars side-by-side. Using this with the descriptive label function really lets you see at a glance what is going on for the day.

One function that is not available within Outlook is the ability to print multiple calendars side by side. Each calendar can be printed individually but not as a part of a multiple calendar print.

One thing you might want to try is to use the Word template for printing calendars and then hand-constructing the format you want within Word. Of course, you might also want to check Slipstick (at for other calendar-related goodies.