How To Avoid a Reply To All Crisis

Avoid a “Reply To All” Crisis with this free Outlook add-in.

Have you ever hit “Reply To All” when you meant to hit “Reply” and caused yourself a big problem as well as lots of anxiety? Most of us have, some more than once, as I can personally attest. Well, the folks at VBOffice have created a free add-in that will help you avoid an Outlook reply to all crisis by warning you when you click “Reply To All.”

This is super simple to install and use. Just click this link to download the add-in. Close Outlook, then run the program you just downloaded. Restart Outlook and you will be ready to go. Now when you select a message in the Inbox and click the “Reply To All” button, Outlook pops up a warning box asking you to confirm that you really want to reply to all the people who received the message.

NOTE: The warning box does not appear if you open the message in its own window first (say be double-clicking it in the Inbox) then click the “Reply To All” option in the ribbon. That makes this a helpful free add-in, but not a guaranteed solution to the Reply All problem.

Another problem I have experienced is sending an email to the wrong person. In many email programs, Outlook included, as you start typing a name in the “to” field, options appear. If I start typing “Ch” to send an email to Chris, at my auto repair shop and I’m not especially careful, Chris, my Dental Hygienist, receives an email list of service items I would like taken care of with our Toyota Camry. Chris, the RDH, is always happy to reply stating she really has no experience in auto repair but is willing to give it her best. Not the end of the world but an embarrassing moment each and every time I make this mistake – yes I’ve done it more than once…. Obviously this problem is a “user error”. In many cases, this little function is a terrific time saver but can become a problem if you’re sending sensitive email information to one person and someone else gets it. Ooooops….

I am often asked if there’s a way to ”recall” an email once it’s been sent – although that “feature” is available in Outlook it does have its limitations. To use the message recall feature both the sender and recipient must be using a Microsoft Exchange with Outlook account. For example, you cannot recall a message sent to someone’s personal (ISP) email account like Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, AOl mail and such. Also – if the email has been opened and/or read, you’re out of luck as well.

If you want to read all about the Message Recall feature and how it works, go here:

E-mail etiquette is an important skill we all need to learn and practice. The lesson here is really very simple. E-mails should be considered public documents that can be received and read by people who really shouldn’t see them. Before writing or replying to an email, ask yourself, “Would I post this on a bulletin board for anyone to read?” If the answer is “yes” then go ahead and send it. But if you answer “no” think twice. Maybe it’s time to close Outlook and just pick up the phone. Yes – it’s old fashioned but I think having a conversation with someone is much nicer than just sending an e-mail. Try it!

ReplyAll add-in can be downloaded here:

This add-in works with Outlook® 2000, 2002 (XP), 2003, 2007 and 2010.

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