Power Rules Manager – even though the Outlook 2013 version just came out of beta – received one more feature. The ability to choose which set of mailbox rules you can edit. Previously, it defaulted to your default store which for some users did not contain the rules that they needed to process. Although it was possible to create a new Outlook profile with just that mailbox in it then operate Power Rules Manager on that, it was asking too much of people who simply wanted to edit a set of rules that were “in their Outlook”.
Schedule Recurring Email had a bug fixed that had to do with scheduling emails on an hourly basis when using a number of occurrences. If you scheduled an email with an hourly occurrence for say, six times, the add-in would immediately display “series ended”. This bug has been fixed.
Save As PDF also had a bug fix with the feature to execute a program after saving the PDF. It was not running the program if the command had any spaces in it, or if the path to the saved PDF had any spaces.
Another feature added to the add-in is the ability to now remove the email header (the From, To, Subject, etc) before saving the email as a PDF. This was done (as all our feature requests are) by a customer request – he was receiving emails that contained orders in the body of the email that were sent to a central warehouse for fulfillment. The warehouse workers did not need to see the email header, as it would confuse them and “it was none of their business”. With this new feature, he can now save the email to PDF, then use Schedule Recurring Email to send out the PDFs to the warehouse once every hour.
A final word about the Save As PDF – a customer noticed that when he ran the batch process on a particular Outlook folder that contained 184 emails, when he went to the Windows folders and looked at the count of files he found that there were only 183. After looking into it, we discovered that it was because he had the overwrite feature turned on. Even though the rename was also on, the add-in would dutifully rename the PDF with the email subject, then the received date – but two of the emails in the same thread arrived within the same minute. With the overwrite checkbox on, the names of the two PDFs were exactly the same and the first one was overwritten by the second. We turned the overwrite feature off and voila, 184 PDFs present and accounted for.
Because there were so many changes the underlying framework (or engine) was updated. The new versions are 4.1.5195.25548 (for Outlook 2007/2010) and 5.0.5195.19159 (for Outlook 2013).
This month we made a correction to the underlying engine that affects all our Outlook add-ins that have a dual monitor setup: When using dual monitors (or even quad monitors, etc), any add-in windows that popup now get shown on the monitor that holds the parent window (that is, either the main Inbox or the email itself). It’s amazing how annoying it can be to be looking at one monitor and there’s an important window on the main monitor.
In addition, Auto Print (an add-in that automatically prints emails and/or attachments) now has the ability to insert page numbers into the email when printed. This feature was made by user request. Note that only the emails get the page number treatment, not the attachments (at least for now).
There was also a bug fix for Quick Text Hotkeys (an add-in that inserts frequently used text along with the date or time) whereby if you were trying to delete an entry, the add-in would sometimes not delete it.
Email Reminders (which sends an email when you get an Outlook popup reminder alarm) now allows you to edit the pre-amble of the subject so that if you are receiving the emails on a phone, then you can see the rest of the subject instead of just the pre-amble. The pre-amble was originally fixed at “Email Reminder: ” then the rest of the subject (that is, why the add-in was sending the email in the first place, usually the subject of the item that was causing the popup alarm in the first place). It was like this so that you could easily identify which emails were “real” and which were from the automated add-in. Now you can still do that, but have the pre-amble be “ER: ” for example.
This month Sperry Software is introducing a new add-in, called MailBeat. Let’s say you use Outlook as an order processing system that’s kept in a locked room. What happens if the mailbox on that machine gets a full mailbox? What happens if there’s a prompt that requires user input? What if there’s a power outage or an operating system update that requires a reboot? All these scenarios end with the same result: Outlook will no longer process emails.
The add-in we’ve created is basically a heartbeat monitor for email. The add-in sends out an email, and it must be responded to within 30 minutes or it raises an alarm and alerts you (or your team) about the lack of a reply so you can fix the problem.
The add-in can also act as an auto responder (for those emails only, not as a general purpose auto responder) or you can use Outlook rules to reply. This way, one machine (with the add-in installed) can monitor many different machines all at once. Or, you can have two machines (both with the add-in installed) watching each other so that if either one goes down the other can respond.
This add-in is in beta, but you can download a free 14-day trial to try it out.
After several weeks, we are finally able to release a refreshed build of all the add-ins. During the last few weeks, an unusual bug cropped up in our installers that prevented the builds from taking place. The bug in the Installshield project prevented us from including the Sperry Software “gears” icon from being displayed in the Control Panel, leaving a bland looking icon instead. Because that bug could not be resolved, instead we now execute a small program that adds the Sperry Software icon at the end of the installation process. The new builds result in an Engine version of 4.1.4984.20947 and 5.0.4984.15782.
In addition, the window resize capability was taken out of both the Power Rules Manager and the Follow Up Reminders add-in. This is because another bug was found that prevented both of these add-ins from being able to be resized; in particular from being able to shrink the size of the window. We are working on correcting that, because it’s really convenient to be able to stretch those windows so you can see the whole set of rules (or reminders) all at once.
Finally a number of add-ins were released out of beta – all are the Outlook 2013 versions: Appointments By Email, Attachment Forget-Me-Not, Contacts Sort Order, Hide Fax Numbers, and Send Individually.
The Sperry Software Send Individually Add-In for Microsoft Outlook sends email newsletters to each of your email contacts with just their name in the To field, similar to mail merge. The difference is that it allows attachments to be on the email and it supports sending from different From accounts.
This new version, just out of beta for Outlook 2013, now reads Excel files directly – including CSV files. It continues to maintain backward compatibility with reading tab delimited text files as well. This was the most requested feature for this add-in, and we’re happy to know it will now be easier than ever to get your newsletters and other communications out.
In addition to being able to read Excel files, the add-in also now has the ability to send a different attachment for each recipient. All you have to do is specify a different file in each Excel row. The add-in will check to see if the substitution text (in the body of the email) points to an Excel column with a valid filename and if so, instead of inserting the Excel text into the email, it will attach the file to the email and then send it.
Another user feature frequently requested is the ability to BCC all outgoing emails to another address. When we asked customers why they would want to do this, it was explained that customers who use CRM systems like Salesforce want to see all communications to their customers. The reason why people couldn’t do this before was that they were in the habit of entering all their email addresses into the BCC field – just in case they accidently hit Send instead of Send Individually. It’s a good practice, so we’ve added our BCC ability to the add-in’s configuration window – you don’t need to worry about the BCC field at all (or you can just keep doing it the way you have in the past). As an aside, if you start an email with the “Create New Campaign” button and you do accidently hit the Send button, the add-in detects this and prompts you with a warning, giving you a chance to cancel the Send.