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Your business tip of the month: Automate your emails in Outlook, Gmail and Hotmail
Write your business emails more efficiently by adding frequently-used wording at a click of a button in Outlook, Gmail and Hotmail.
Have you ever wished you didn’t have to type the same thing over and over again when you’re emailing customers?
Well, a solution could be right under your nose!
In lots of email programmes you can insert blocks of text that you’ve saved in a library of frequently-used wording.
This means that regular emails like sales confirmations, directions to your premises, and payment invoices could suddenly become a doddle to write and send.
In this month’s business tip, I’ll show you how to do this in three of the most popular email programmes - Microsoft Outlook, Google Mail and Hotmail (now known as Outlook.com).
The reason we're asking about your version of Outlook is because different versions use different methods to automate your messages. To find out which Outlook you're using, simply open the help menu in Outlook and check the 'About Microsoft Outlook' section.
Start a new email message and type out the sentence or paragraph that you would like to save as frequently-used wording.
Once typed out, you need to highlight all the text you want to save and click on the ‘Quick Parts’ tool (you can find it on the ‘Insert’ tab at the top of your message window). In the drop-down menu, click on ‘Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery…’
In the pop up box, add a name and category or description (if you want to be ultra-organised) that you want to use for your wording. When you’re happy with it, just click on the ‘OK’ button.
Whenever you want to use your saved wording, all you need to do is click on ‘Quick Parts’ on the ‘Insert’ tab and select the one you want to add. That text will then appear in your email:
Start a new email message and type out the wording that you would like to save.
Once typed out, you need to highlight all the text you want to save and click on the ‘Insert’ menu. Next, select AutoText on the initial drop-down menu and then click on ‘New…’
In the pop-up box, name your AutoText and click on the ‘OK’ button when you’re done.
Whenever you want to use your saved wording, all you need to do is type the name of the AutoText you want to use in the main body of your email and press the Enter key when you’re prompted to. If you can’t remember what you named it, open the ‘Insert’ menu, then AutoText and select ‘AutoText…’ to see a list of all your creations and select the one you want.
First off, you’ll need to add an extension to your Gmail account called ‘Canned Responses’. This is an extension produced by Google and can be added by opening your ‘Settings’ in Gmail (it's the cog icon at the top right of your screen).
Head to the ‘Labs’ tab, scroll to locate 'Canned Responses' and select 'Enable'. After that, click on ‘Save Changes’ (at the bottom of the screen) and return to your inbox. Please ignore Google telling you that you’re lazy. What some call lazy, others call efficient.
Start a new email message and type out the wording that you would like to save as a 'Canned Response' (frequently-used wording).
Once typed out, highlight all the text you want to save and click on the downward-pointing triangle in the message’s toolbar (next to the trash icon). From here select ‘Canned responses’, ‘Save’ and then ‘New canned response…’.
In the pop up box, name your Canned Response and click on the ‘OK’ button when you’re done.
Whenever you want to use your saved wording, all you need to do is click on the downward pointing triangle in the message’s toolbar. From here select ‘Canned responses’, ‘Insert’ and then pick the one you want to add.
Technically, Outlook.com does not have a feature for adding blocks of frequently-used text. All we can offer is a suggestion for a low-tech, time-saving workaround.
Start a new email message and type out a frequently used message (such as a confirmation of sale or a how to find us email). Add a name for your template into the Subject Line and then click ‘Save Draft’.
Whenever you need to send one of these emails, just click on your drafts folder and open the relevant template.
Highlight all the text on the email that you want to use and copy it. After you’ve copied the text, close the message.
Start a new message. In the body of the message you need to paste your copied content and your template wording should appear. Then all you need to do is update the information in the email to make it personal and relevant to your customer and send.