QuickTip: Use "Reply To" When Someone Else Is Handling Details

Just enjoying a lovely fall afternoon stuck in the office porting data from my recently-failed laptop (backlight went black two days ago) to my new Toshiba netbook.  I’m excited to see where this technology is right now and I didn’t want to drop real money on a high-end laptop until Windows 7 is out (and probably SP1 to that!).  Oh, and I can’t go Macbook because I train people in the best uses of Microsoft Outlook so showing up with a Mac creates a bit of a credibility problem!

“Reply To” a Third Party

But back to my point – how to use the “Reply To” feature in Outlook to have replies to an e-mail you send returned to someone else.  The best use of this feature is when you are charged with making the announcement or request regarding some event or matter – say a client/customer conference – but your assistant (or another third party) is charged with managing all the details of the event/matter.  For example, they may need RSVP information or to coordinate the content or collateral to be distributed at the event, etc.  The last thing you want is a bunch of replies coming to your e-mail address that you must then forward to the third party or to allow them “access” to your e-mail so they can check for those items themselves (especially true when the third party is not your assistant.)  You want all further correspondence on this matter to go directly to the person handling the details.

Good news! There’s a nifty little solution built right into Microsoft Outlook to achieve exactly that result.  Just open a new e-mail message and prepare the Subject line and content of the message per your needs.  Then, before sending it, click on View and select Options.  Under the Delivery Options area of the screen that comes up, check the box next to “Have replies sent to” and complete the associated box with the third party’s e-mail address.  (Note, if you don’t know it, you can click on the Select Names button and search for it assuming it is in your personal or shared contacts records.).  Click the Close button at the bottom right of the screen, then click Send on the e-mail itself and off it goes into the ether. The best part is that anytime anyone clicks the Reply (or Reply All) button, the responses will all go to the person you selected and will not clutter up your Inbox.

Feel the Leverage

It’s a neat feature to leverage when you need someone with name recognition sending out the e-mail, but someone else will be doing coordinating.  You see, there are things that e-mail is go for!

Back to porting data…

2 thoughts on “QuickTip: Use "Reply To" When Someone Else Is Handling Details

  • Can you publish a screen-shot of this? I have Outlook 2003. When I open a new message, fill in the subject line, and click on the View tab, there is no Options in the drop-down box.

    • Patricia – It should be about 2/3rds of the way down under View. Are your menus fully displayed? If there are two little down-facing chevrons at the bottom of the View fly-down, run your cursor over those and the menu will expand to show all the options. Here’s a screen shot of what you should see (in Outlook 2003):

      ReplyTo Screen Shot

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