The Proper Use of Reply All when Responding to Emails in Outlook

By: standss , Jul 28th, 2010

The Reply All button is probably the most misused feature in Outlook.  An inappropriate Reply All is the same as SPAM to the recipient. So when should you do a Reply All and when should you restrain yourself to a Reply only?

When is it NOT appropriate to do a Reply All?

  1. When you were BCCed on the email. You were probably BCCed instead of CCed because the sender did not want to let other recipients know that you were also being sent a copy. Doing a Reply All immediately lets the others know!
  2. When only the original Sender needs to see your reply (e.g. saying Thank You)
  3. When only a few people need to see your reply (do a reply and add only the recipients you need)
  4. When you want to tattle, scold, correct or send nasty comments back to the Sender. If it is absolutely necessary for you to do this then a Reply is more appropriate. Otherwise you could easily start a nasty chain of emails which will provide a lot of entertainment for everyone else.

When is it Ok to do a Reply All?

It is OK to do a Reply All only if your reply is necessary to know for the original sender and ALL (or at least the vast majority) of all other people whose email addresses were in the To or CC fields.

(There is the other risk of doing a Reply instead of a Reply All when you needed to keep everyone informed)

Ensuring that you are doing Reply Alls only when you need to…

Our SendGuard for Outlook addin has several prompts built into it to ensure that you follow the rules of using Reply Alls.

Any time you do a Reply All on an email, the following prompt will be displayed:

If you do a Reply All to an email on which you were BCCed, the following prompt will be displayed:

The above two prompts greatly reduce the chances of inappropriate Reply Alls.

In addition, if you do a Reply on an email with multiple recipients it will display the following prompt:

This will ensure that you keep all recipients in the loop (if you need to).

SendGuard for Outlook works inside Outlook and has many other features to ensure that your emails get sent out to the right people with all the right information.

Click here to download a fully functional trial version of SendGuard for Outlook addin.

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