Wednesday, February 1, 2006

What to do when you’ve got 50 draft messages, plus more .pst questions

OUTLOOK Q&A

By David Gewirtz

Darrell Poe of the National Association of Broadcasters asks:

Is there any way to send multiple items from the Draft folder in Outlook? One of our executives has a very good question that I haven't been able to get a good answer on. He likes to leave several emails he is working on in draft form until he is ready to send. The only problem is that sometimes he can be working on up to 50 drafts at one time. When he is ready to send them he has to open and send each one. Is there anyway to select and send multiple items in the Draft folder.

Darrell, I did some poking around and came up dry. I'd have thought there might have been an add-on that would do this (developers, here's a product idea!). I also tried solving the problem through rules, without much success.

You can, obviously, open all the messages in the Draft folder at once, but you'd have to hit send each time, for each message.

However, my guess is your exec is trying to solve the wrong problem. Let me explain. If he's individually editing each draft and customizing the message extensively, then he'd be sending his replies individually and, most likely, wouldn't have this problem.

But since he's sending them all in a bunch, it likely means he's trying to do some sort of batch send. There are numerous tools for batch sending, list management, and so forth.

Even if he's not sending his messages out to a single list, having 50 draft messages at once is symptomatic of a methodology flaw. That's just too many messages to keep track of at once. I'd recommend thinking about exactly what he's trying to accomplish, developing a procedure that makes it more streamlined, and finding a mechanism that keeps only five or so drafts at once.

One idea: create some templates he can reuse, then when it's time to send a message, tweak up that template and actually send it. You know that old rule of how to handle stuff coming into your physical inbox? Touch it once. The same should apply to items going out via email.

More on PST files

Kenneth Constant asks a question we get pretty constantly:

I heard there is a point where you all at Microsoft will not support a large .pst. Is there any reason not to let a Outlook 2003 .pst file grow to 1.5-2.0 gig?

Well, first off, Kevin, we're not at Microsoft. OutlookPower is an independent publication of ZATZ Publishing. We're down here in Palm Bay, Florida where it's sunny and warm, while Microsoft folks are generally up in Washington State where it rains most of the time.