Use the Outlook Quick Step function to save time when sending e-mail

If you often send the same e-mail to the same people, take a quick step instead of starting over again.

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Suppose you send a daily report to the same group of people and manually select all recipients every day. You can create a template e-mail in Microsoft Outlook, but the installation is a bit of work. You can get the same impact by creating a Quick Step instead, which is much simpler than the template route.

The simple new e-mail from Quick Step opens a new blank message, which is actually no better than clicking on New e-mail on the Start tab. You can adjust the step by adding the recipients and then calling up the Quick Step instead of creating a new email every day.

SEE: Windows 10 May 2019 update: 10 notable new features (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

As handy and easy as Quick Steps, they will not always be sufficient. If a quick step is not enough, try combining a template with a macro. Read Outlook templates combined with macros to eliminate repetitive tasks.

I will show you how the Quick Step function can help you work more efficiently by taking a step that automatically fills the On, Cc and Bcc buttons. With this quick step you can add a text message, attach a file and send without manually adding the recipients.

I use Office 365 (desktop) on a Windows 10 64-bit system. There is no demonstration file because you do not need one. This function is not supported by the online version.

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How to take a quick step

  1. Choose Create New in the Quick Steps gallery. This opens the Edit Quick Step dialog.

  2. Give the Quick Step a meaningful name (for example, Daily marketing update).

  3. Choose New Message from the Action drop-down list because the task is sending an e-mail message.

  4. A To field appears in the dialog box. Enter the correct recipients. This feature supports the AutoComplete list that you are familiar with, so finding recipients is easy.

  5. To display the Cc and Bcc fields, click Show Options and then click the Add Cc and Add Bcc links (Figure A).

  6. Enter the Cc and Bcc receivers.

  7. If you want to use a shortcut, choose one from the drop-down list – I’ve chosen Ctrl + Shift + 3.

  8. Click on Finish.

Figure A

Add recipient emails to the To, Cc, and Bcc fields.

Figure B shows the new Quick Step in the gallery. Click on it (or use the shortcut key if you assigned one in step 7) to open the new e-mail message, addressed and ready to add a message, attach a report if necessary, and then send it.

Figure B

Outlook adds the new Quick Step to the gallery.

If a signature is available, Outlook adds it to the outgoing e-mail. Outlook sends the message from your default account; if you have multiple accounts, you cannot choose another account. If you have disabled the automatic sending function of Outlook, remember that you are sending the message manually. Most people do not disable this option, so this behavior should not affect too many people. It’s a simple solution, but what happens when you have to add a recipient?

How to edit the Quick Step

Let us assume that one of the recipients leaves the marketing department and that you have to remove that person from your Quick Step. Follow these simple steps.

  1. Click the Quick Step Group dialog box to open the Manage Quick Steps dialog box.

  2. Select the Daily Marketing Update item from the Quick Step list on the left.

  3. Click on Edit.

  4. Open the appropriate control, select the e-mail address, and press Delete.

  5. Click Save.

You use the same routine to add a new recipient, although you add an address instead of one.

Start a merge from Outlook using a filtered contact list

More options for Quick Steps

There are two other options to the right of Edit: Duplicate and Delete. The Delete option speaks for itself, but you may wonder why you want to duplicate a quick step. You can create a duplicate and adjust it, which is faster than making it all over again. Under the Quick steps list, you can use the arrows to move steps within the gallery. This is useful when you use one or two steps more often than the other.

The different types of Quick Steps in Outlook

Because we work with a specific example, I have not dealt with the different types of Quick Steps – we have chosen Create New and immediately started working. Here is information about different types of Quick Steps.

  • Move to?: This option allows you to quickly move a message to a specific folder, which you specify only the first time.

  • To manager: Use this to forward a copy of the selected message to your manager, who will only deliver it the first time.

  • Team email: Make a blank message to your team members. You may not be using the Team function, but if you want to use it, the function is not enabled, so you must talk to your Exchange administrator.

  • Done: Mark a message as read and complete and send it to a specified folder, which you specify only the first time.

  • Reply and delete: Open a blank reply to the current message and delete the message after you have sent the reply. This is useful and efficient, but it takes a while to develop the habit of using it.

Our example is a simple solution to a common problem, but the Quick Step function offers many options and actions that you want to explore.

Send me your Microsoft Office questions

I answer questions from readers when I can, but there is no guarantee. Do not send files unless requested; initial requests for help arriving with attached files are deleted unread. You can send screen shots of your data to clarify your question. Be as specific as possible when contacting me. For example: “Solve problems with my workbook and solve the problem” will probably not get an answer, but “Can you tell me why this formula does not produce the expected results?” power. State the app and version that you are using. I do not receive any reimbursement from TechRepublic for my time or expertise in helping readers, nor do I request reimbursement from readers who I help. You can contact me via [email protected]

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