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Every month, you need your team to review operations reports before you send them out to business managers. You probably attach the draft documents to an e-mail message, and you've probably been creating these messages from scratch every month: typing the recipient names, composing the message, and adding the current month's report data. It's easy to make mistakes this way by omitting a recipient, creating an inconsistent message, or forgetting to attach data.
Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 offers a better way. You can create distribution lists and reusable e-mail messages to make repetitive communications quick and accurate.
Setting up a distribution list
A distribution list is a collection of contacts (contact: Person about whom you can save many types of information, such as street and email addresses, telephone and fax numbers, and webpage URLs.). It provides an easy way to send messages to a defined group of people without typing individual e-mail addresses. You can easily add and delete names in a distribution list, send it to others, and print it.
Create a distribution list using names in the Address Book
- In Outlook, on the File menu, point to New, and then click Distribution List.
- On the Members tab, in the Name box, type a name for the list.
Note The recipients don't see the name you give the distribution list; they see the individual names in the To field of the message.
- Click Select Members.
- In the Select Members dialog box, click the drop-down arrow next to Show names from the, and select the address book that contains the e-mail addresses you want in your distribution list.
- In the Type name or select from list box, type a name you want to include. In the list below, select the name, and then click Members. Do this for each person you want to add to the distribution list, and then click OK.
- If you want to add a longer description of the distribution list, click the Notes tab, and then type the description.
The distribution list is saved in your Contacts folder by the name you give it.
Create a distribution list by copying names from an e-mail message
- In the e-mail message you want to copy the names from, select the names in the To or Cc box (To, Cc, and Bcc boxes: A message is sent to the recipients in the To box. Recipients in the Cc (carbon copy) and Bcc (blind carbon copy) boxes also get the message; however, the names of the recipients in the Bcc box aren't visible to other recipients.).
- On the Edit menu, click Copy.
- On the File menu, point to New, and then click Distribution List.
- In the Name box, type a name for the distribution list.
- Click Select Members.
- Right-click Add to distribution list, and then click Paste on the shortcut menu (shortcut menu: A menu that shows a list of commands relevant to a particular item. To display a shortcut menu, right-click an item or press SHIFT+F10.).
Add or delete a name in a distribution list
- In your Contacts folder, open the distribution list.
Distribution lists are marked with .
- Do one or more of the following:
- To add an address from an address book or a contacts folder, click Select Members.
- To add an address that is not in a contacts folder or an address book, click Add New.
- To delete a name, click the name, and then click Remove.
Setting up an e-mail template
Use e-mail templates to send messages that include information that doesn't change from month to month. You can compose and save a message as a template, and then use that template every time you need it. Just add any new information before sending the template as an e-mail message.
Create an e-mail template
- On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab.
- Clear the Use Microsoft Office Word 2003 to edit e-mail messages check box.
- Click Apply, and then click OK.
- On the File menu, point to New, and then click Mail Message.
Note You can also start a new e-mail message by clicking the New Mail Message button on the Standard toolbar.
- When the new message opens, give it an appropriate subject and compose your content. Leave space for variable information that will be added when you send the message.
- On the File menu, click Save As.
- In the Save as type list, click Outlook Template, and then click Save.
- To restore Word as the message editor, click Options on the Tools menu, click the Mail Format tab, and then select the Use Microsoft Office Word 2003 to edit e-mail messages check box.
- Click Apply, and then click OK.
Preparing the message
Now that you've set up the distribution list and created the message template, you’re ready to prepare your month-end message to your team. The template you created already contains most of the information you need to send, so you only need to update it with current data before adding the distribution list on the To line and sending the message.
Compose your message
- In the Inbox folder in Outlook, on the Tools menu, point to Forms, and then click Choose Form.
- In the Choose Form dialog box, click the Look in drop-down arrow, and then click User Templates in File System.
- Select your template, and then click Open.
Address your message using a distribution list
- In the open message, click To.
- In the Select Names dialog box, in the Show names from the drop-down list, click Contacts.
- Select your distribution list, click To, and then click OK.