The Office Letter
Blink Section - Product Reviews
From Volume 7, Number 21
(November 19, 2007)
Review: SendGuard Protects You from Outlook Embarrassment
You know the sinking feeling: you "Send" your e-mail, and then realize you've neglected to include the attachment referred to in your message. Worse, you get a "Hey, where's the attachment?" response from your boss or client. Now you have to send yet another message (hopefully with the attachment this time) and an apology.
We ran SendGuard 4Outlook ($39.95, available from http://www.Addins4Outlook.com/sendguard) on Outlook 2003 (it works with versions from 2000 through 2007). The program helps eliminate missing attachment mistakes. Working as an Outlook add-in, it displays a warning window when you send a message that contains the word "attachment" (among others) but forget to actually attach the file. SendGuard politely asks if you really want to send the message without the attachment.
I did answer yes to this question occasionally. For example, when I received a message that included the word attachment, then sent a reply in which my answer not include an attachment, the word "attachment" from the original message caused SendGuard to pop up and warn me that I wasn't sending an attachment in my reply. That surprised us, since there was nothing in my reply indicating that I was including an attachment. We asked the vendor about this behavior; we were told that it was a tricky problem because a reply could modify the text within the original message. The program can't detect when I might have added "see attached" within the body of the ORIGINAL message, so the company chose to err on the side of caution. That's understandable and a wise approach.
You can edit the word list that triggers SendGuard to look for physical attachments before your message is sent. We included "attach" and "enclose" (as well as variations such as "attached" and "enclosure") in our trigger list.
The program can guard against other potential mistakes. For example, if you click "Reply" rather than "Reply to All" when the original message has multiple recipients, you may be making a mistake. SendGuard will pop up a window and ask you if you're sure you've picked the right reply option. The program can warn you when you click Reply to All when you've been blind-copied on the original.
Likewise, when you omit a subject line, SendGuard is there to ask you to confirm what you've done.
The program can do more than just prevent mistakes. It can take care of some housekeeping chores for you. For example, SendGuard can automatically remove you from the recipient list to a message you answer.
If the people you communicate with have multiple e-mail accounts (a business and personal account, for example), SendGuard can warn you when you send a message to that person. If you have defined a preferred account for that recipient and are sending the message to any other account, the program prompts you to confirm your choice of e-mail addresses for that recipient.
If you're prone to sending a message in the heat of the moment, you'll appreciate the Delay Guard feature, which lets you use an automatic time delay before sending your message. You specify the delay time (in seconds) and then set whether you want to delay all messages or just those to the recipients you've entered in a list. That way, if you fire off a message in haste, you still have a few moments to delete it from your outgoing mail queue.
SendGuard won't slow you down. It installs easily, is easy to learn, and is simple to customize. For those of us who send dozens of messages a day, SendGuard is the safety net we need to avoid having to send follow-up messages and apologies.
The company offers a free trial at http://www.addins4outlook.com/sendguard/t/071023.asp
-- James E. Powell
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