Imagine email services or desktop email clients without the Reply, Forward and Reply All options. Pathetic, right? Indeed. Without these options it would become so difficult to converse on email threads and give conclusive meaning to matters.
On the contrary, especially in organizations, there are occasions when you need to send a bulk message by putting most of the recipients in CC field. And in some of those cases you would want the recipients to not reply all or forward that message because you know how drastically that can choke the server space and bandwidth.
One way to prevent that is to put all the recipients in the BCC field. With that done, if anybody chooses to Reply All the BCC recipients do not make their way to the thread. However, that’s not very appealing. The CC and To fields have their own charm and significance. Hence, we will discuss a workaround to prevent recipient of emails from doing a Reply All and/or a Forward on MS Outlook (because, that’s what most organizations use).
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Steps to Create Custom Mail Form
We will be creating a custom mail form and define what items should be unavailable to the recipient of an email. We will see the steps on MS Outlook 2007. The steps should be more or less same in other versions.
Step 1: Open the Outlook interface and navigate to Tools -> Forms -> Design a Form.
Step 2: Look in Standard Forms Library, choose Message and click on Open button.
Step 3: On the next window, switch to the Actions tab.
Step 4: Double click on either or both the Actions (Reply to All and Forward). A properties dialog will come up. Uncheck the Enabled check box and click on Ok.
Back on the Actions Window, the left most column against the chosen actions should carry value “No”.
Step 5: Switch to the Properties tab and check the option reading Send form definition with item.
Step 6: On the ribbon, click on Publish and choose to Publish Form As.
Step 7: Select the Look in option as Personal Forms Library, give a proper name to the form and hit Publish.
Step 8: Now, close the design form. You will be asked if you want to save changes. Click on No here, you have already saved your form.
If you send emails using this form the recipient will not be able to Reply All and/or Forward that message, as you have set.
Steps to Use a Custom Form
Here’s how to send an email message using the custom form that we have just defined.
Step 1: Navigate to Tools -> Forms -> Choose a Form.
Step 2: Look in Personal Forms Library, choose the form that we defined earlier and click on Open button.
Step 3: On the next window, compose and send an email as you would normally do. That’s it.
The recipient will have Reply All and Forward options disabled. Even the related keyboard shortcuts will not work for this item.
You should have such a form created if you need to send bulk emails now and then to your colleagues or employees, the ones which have somewhat confidential content. The method works wherever MS Outlook does.