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.
This week we have one new feature and several bug fixes to report.
The first feature concerns the Save As PDF add-in – it now has the ability to save the email portion in A4 or US letter size in the PDF.
Some people have begun to experience a bug with Auto Print, whereby the odd pages will all print first followed by all the even pages. This problem is still being tracked, but we believe it may be a connected to a recent Office update. It has been fixed in our newest versions.
Send Individually had a memory issue where it failed to release memory when sending a campaign email to your contacts. This problem did not occur if you were using a list from an Excel file. It also had a problem where pictures and other images were not being shown properly in the resulting campaign email, and this has been fixed as well. Finally, it seems that some customers are in the habit of placing their list of recipients into the BCC field instead of the To field so that if a mistake is made and the Send button is inadvertently clicked instead of the Send Individually button, then no recipients will see anyone else’s email address. However, the add-in wasn’t picking up these BCC recipients – this has been fixed. On a side note, while we do recommend that you keep doing this to be safe, you should know that if you start a new email campaign with the “Create New Campaign” button, then later inadvertently click the regular Send button, that the add-in is aware of this and will prompt you to ask if that’s what you really meant to do. Try it out on a fake campaign!
Elizabeth Charnock, of Cataphora (which makes e-discovery software for the legal community) listed 10 things you should never put in an email. The premise is that if you are going to write these phrases, then you are most likely writing something that shouldn’t be in an email. Statements like “I really shouldn’t put this in writing but…”, or “Is this actually legal?” should be red flags in your head to stop typing and start thinking. You can read all 10 statements on Roger Matus’ insightful Death By Email blog.
After thinking about this a bit, I realized that our Safeguard Send add-in – with it’s ability to inspect emails before they are sent out – might be useful here. Because the add-in can search for phrases (like the ones listed by Elizabeth Charnock) as well as keywords, it can put up a warning prompt before the email goes out to help users think before hitting Send.
We’re back from Tech Ed 2008!
It was a great event – the venue (Orlando Convention Center) was terrific, not to mention the largest building I’ve ever been in. Shown in the image is James, along with our display booth.
We’d like to thank the customers that stopped by to see us, like Majestic Realty and Con-way, among others.
We’d also like to thank all the potential customers for coming by the booth. We received several ideas for new add-ins, as well as feature requests for existing add-ins.
Remember that if you received the Tech Ed 2008 20% discount code, that it expires at the end of the month.
Find 37 Outlook add-ins that can make a difference!
Will you be at Tech Ed 2008 in Orlando, FL this year? If so, stop by our booth and say hello! Since this year’s Tech Ed event is broken up into two parts (a developer’s conference and an Exchange administrator’s conference), we will be at the second half only – June 10 through June 13.
If you haven’t made plans yet and would like to go, please contact us because we have a discount code good for $400 off the normal regular entry fee. This offer is on a limited, first come, first served basis. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the details on how to obtain your full conference attendee pass for just $1,595.
If you’ve ever wanted to meet us, please come by booth 430. We’re excited to be there and to meet you as well.