A problem with Outlook is controlling the order of execution in Outlook rules. Let’s say you have 1000 rules, and you want rule 1000 to be executed first – you would have to click the up arrow 999 times. What would happen if you had five, twenty, or a hundred rules to move? And, until today, the same problem existed in the Power Rules Manager (but at least you could directly affect the Execution Order, so you would have only had to do that five, twenty, or a hundred times).
Today however, the Power Rules Manager received a small but significant upgrade. You can now drag and drop Outlook rules right in the grid window for simple control over rule execution order.
Once the rules have been loaded into the grid, you can drag and drop them like you do in most other programs that have tables. In addition, if you drag several rules and move the cursor just above or just below the rules grid, automatic scrolling will occur (again, just like most other programs). However, if you have hundreds or even thousands of rules (and yes, we’ve seen a customer with 2,907 rules and dozens with more than a 1000) then you can press and hold the Shift key while the automatic scrolling is occurring to go into “turbo mode”. This mode causes the scrolling to occur much faster than usual so you can get back to working in email, and not on email.
Side note: You can also double click on any row to pull it up in the rule editor as well.
Again, while these changes are overall small, we hope that it will lead to great improvements in organizing your email rules.
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.