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Increase voter turnout

How to use voting buttons and tracking.

Recently I had to create a document involving some department procedures. I created the document using Microsoft...

Word and had to e-mail it to all department users. I wanted to use a method that would allow the recipients, after reading the document, to approve or disapprove of it.

After looking at various options I found a feature in MS Outlook 2000, possibly often overlooked, that was just suited for the job. It's known as Voting Buttons. To use it I simply attached the word document to the message I was sending to department users, then I performed the following procedure:

  • Select View, then options
  • Check the box next to use voting buttons located under Voting and Tracking.
  • You can select the text options available or you can add new phrases, such as I Agree; I disagree; I don't know; I don't care (in my case I used the approve; reject option). Note that when you are adding phrases you must separate them with semicolons.

Before I sent the message I included a note in the body of the e-mail message asking the recipients to use the Voting Buttons when replying to the e-mail.

When the users replied to the mail in the subject line included whether the users approved or rejected the document. There was no need to open the mail.

You can check a tally of the vote, too. As responses start coming in, open your Sent Items folder and you'll see an entry with the title of your sent message and a small information bubble appended. Open that item, and click on the Tracking tab at the top. You'll see a listing or respondents and their votes. There will also be a summary of votes at the top of the tracking tab.


Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association Of Internet Professionals, the Institute For Network Professionals, and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.


This was last published in July 2003

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