Microsoft Outlook add-in expands e-mail follow-up functionality

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Sometimes it's hard to keep track of when you need to follow up on a sent e-mail -- or at least provide some notice to a sender that you've received a message. The existing auto-reply and reminder functions in Microsoft Outlook are limited, and don't really encompass all needs that might arise.

The folks at MAPIlab have created an add-in called E-mail Follow-up (1.7) (EFU) that expands enormously on Microsoft Outlook's e-mail follow-up functions. A free 20-day trial version is available and the full version is U.S. $24 for a single-user license.

When you compose a message, EFU lets you "flag" that message -- so if a reply to that e-mail isn't received within a pre-designated period of time, EFU can automatically send a pre-defined template message to the recipient to prompt them.

That way, instead of forcing you to track responses on your own, EFU makes it nearly automatic. The reminder occasions, called "appointments," can be set to automatically expire either when a reply is received or when a follow-up is sent.

Each appointment can also be custom configured. Some options include being able to adjust the time of day to send the reminder -- useful, for instance, if the person being reminded is in a completely different time zone and you want the reminder to reach them when they're likely to be at the computer. The time of the reminder on your end can also be set manually if desired.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.

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    This was first published in February 2006

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