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Enhance Message Content in Microsoft Outlook 2016

Change message settings and delivery options

When you send a message, you can include visual indicators of the importance, sensitivity, or subject category of a message or other Outlook item, flag a message for follow-up, restrict other people from changing or forwarding message content, provide a simple feedback mechanism in the form of voting buttons, and specify message delivery options to fit your needs. Some of these options display icons in the message header that are visible to recipients directly in the Outlook message list.

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This message has a reminder, a status, and a follow-up flag. Voting buttons and Sensitivity don’t display message header icons

In the message reading window, many of the options are represented by text rather than icons.

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The Action Items add-in can alert recipients to requests within the message text

Common message settings and delivery options include the following:

  • Flags and reminders You can place an outgoing message on your task list, add an informational reminder to it, or set a reminder to appear at a certain time and date, for yourself and for message recipients. The flag options are Call, Do not Forward, Follow up, For Your Information, Forward, No Response Necessary, Read, Reply, Reply to All, and Review.
  • Importance You can indicate the urgency of a message by setting its importance to High or Low (the default importance is Normal). A corresponding banner appears in the message header and, if the Importance field is included in the view, an importance icon appears in the Inbox or other message folder.
  • Sensitivity You can indicate that a message should be kept private by setting its sensitivity to Confidential, Personal, or Private. No indicator appears in the message folder, but a banner appears in the message header to indicate a sensitivity level other than Normal.
  • Security If you have a digital ID, you can digitally sign the message; or you can encrypt the contents of the message.
  • Voting options If you and your message recipients have Microsoft Exchange Server accounts, you can add voting buttons to your messages so that recipients can quickly select from multiple-choice response options.
  • Tracking options You can track messages by requesting delivery receipts and read receipts. These receipts are messages automatically generated by the recipient’s email server when it delivers the message to the recipient and when the recipient opens the message. Recipients might be prompted to approve the delivery of the receipts, so requesting them is no guarantee of receiving them.
  • Delivery options You can have reply messages delivered to an email address other than yours, specify a date and time for the message to be delivered and to expire, and set advanced attachment format and encoding options.

The most commonly used options are available directly in the message composition window, in the Tags group on the Message tab, and in the Tracking and More Options groups on the Options tab.

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Some message options are available from the ribbon

Clicking the dialog box launcher in the lower-right corner of any of these groups opens the Properties dialog box, in which you can set all the options other than follow-up flags.

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From the Properties dialog box, you can control message settings, security settings, and voting, tracking, and delivery options

You can limit the actions other people can take with messages they receive from you by restricting the message permissions. For example, you can prevent recipients from forwarding or printing the message, copying the message content, or changing the content when they forward or reply to the message. (Restrictions apply also to message attachments.) Within a message window, permission options are available both on the Info page of the Backstage view and in the Permission group on the Options tab.

To open the Properties dialog box

  1. On the message composition window ribbon, click the dialog box launcher in any of the following groups:

    • The Tags group on the Message tab
    • The Tracking group on the Options tab
    • The More Options group on the Options tab

To indicate the importance of a message

  1. Do either of the following:

    • On the Message tab, in the Tags group, click High Importance or Low Importance.
    • Open the Properties dialog box. In the Settings section, in the Importance list, click Low, Normal, or High.

To indicate the sensitivity of a message

  1. Open the Properties dialog box.
  2. In the Settings section, in the Sensitivity list, click Normal, Personal, Private, or Confidential.

To add standard voting buttons to a message

  1. Do either of the following:

    • On the Options tab, in the Tracking group, click Use Voting Buttons to display the Use Voting Buttons list.
    • Open the Properties dialog box. In the Voting and Tracking options section, select the Use voting buttons check box. Then expand the adjacent list.
  2. In the list, click one of the following:

    • Approve;Reject
    • Yes;No
    • Yes;No;Maybe
  3. Close the Properties dialog box if you opened it in step 1.

    An information bar at the top of the message confirms that you’ve added voting buttons to the outgoing message.

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Not all message options are flagged in the message, but voting buttons are

To add custom voting buttons to a message

  1. Do either of the following:

    • On the Options tab, in the Tracking group, click Use Voting Buttons and then click Custom.
    • Open the Properties dialog box. In the Voting and Tracking options section, select the Use voting buttons check box.
  2. In the Use voting buttons box, select and delete any current button labels. Then enter the custom button labels you want, separated by semicolons.

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    Custom voting buttons and the settings to create them

  3. Close the Properties dialog box.

To request message receipts

  1. In the Tracking group on the Options tab, or in the Voting and Tracking options section of the Properties dialog box, select one or both of the following check boxes:

    • Request a delivery receipt for this message
    • Request a read receipt for this message
  2. Close the Properties dialog box if you opened it in step 1.

To direct message replies to a different email address

  1. Do either of the following:

    • On the Options tab, in the More Options group, click Direct Replies To.
    • Open the Properties dialog box. In the Delivery options section, select the Have replies sent to check box.
  2. In the Have replies sent to box, select and delete the current recipient. Then enter the email address or addresses (separated by semicolons) that you want replies to go to.
  3. Close the Properties dialog box.

To delay the delivery of a message

  1. Do either of the following:

    • On the Options tab, in the More Options group, click Delay Delivery.
    • Open the Properties dialog box. In the Delivery options section, select the Do not deliver before check box.
  2. To the right of Do not deliver before, select or enter the date and time that you want to delay delivery until.
  3. Close the Properties dialog box.

To set an expiration date for a message

  1. Open the Properties dialog box.
  2. In the Delivery options section, select the Expires after check box.
  3. To the right of Expires after box, select or enter the date and time that you want the message to expire.
  4. Close the Properties dialog box.

    The expiration of a message is indicated to the recipient in the message list and in the message header.

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    Expired messages are marked for both the recipient and the sender

To flag a message for follow-up by the recipient

  1. On the Message tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up, and then click Add Reminder. The Custom dialog box opens.

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    By default, the Custom dialog box is configured to set a reminder for the message sender and not the recipient

  2. In the Custom dialog box, clear the Flag for Me check box and select the Flag for Recipients check box.
  3. In the Flag for Recipients section, do the following:

    • In the Flag to list, click Follow up (or one of the other available flags).
    • If you want a reminder to appear to the recipient, select the Reminder check box and then specify a date and time for the reminder.

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      The dialog box configured to flag the message for the recipient to follow up

  4. In the Custom dialog box, click OK.