Controlling Message Priority and Other Options

Word and Outlook give you extensive control over your messages. For example, you can mark a message with high or low importance; set message flags that help you follow up on your messages; and request delivery receipts. In the following sections, we review the options you're most likely to need as you create email messages with Word.

Setting the Importance of Your Message

Some messages are more important than others. To tell your recipient that a message is unusually important, click the Importance: High button. On those rare occasions when you know that a message can take low priority, click the Importance: Low toolbar button.

Setting Message Flags

To create a message flag that reminds you (in Microsoft Outlook 2003) to check on the status of your message, click the Message Flag button. The Flag for Follow Up dialog box opens (see Figure 30.6). Then do this:

  1. In the Flag To drop-down box, choose which kind of flag to set; for example, you can set a flag that calls for you to follow up the message, forward it to a third party, or just reread it.

  2. To specify when you want to be reminded, click the Due By drop-down box and choose the date from the calendar that appears.

  3. When you're finished, click OK. Word returns you to the Microsoft Office Email editing window.

Figure 30.6. Requesting a reminder about a message you've sent.


Creating a Blind Carbon Copy

Blind carbon copies give you a way to let someone in on a message you've sent to others?without letting those others know that that individual has seen the message.

Earlier, you learned that you can add a recipient of a blind carbon copy through the Select Names dialog box. You can also send a blind carbon copy from within the email message editing window. To do so, click Options on the Mail toolbar, and choose Bcc from the menu. A Bcc line appears below the Cc line in your message window. Add the recipients' names, either manually or from the Outlook 2003 Contacts list.


Blind carbon copies can be used when you send a message to a long list of recipients and do not want every recipient's name to appear at the beginning of the message when it is opened. This can make messages more convenient, as well as more secure.

Setting Additional Message Options

Word and Outlook 2003 enable you to control several other aspects of how your message is sent and tracked. To control these aspects, click the Options button; the Message Options dialog box appears (see Figure 30.7).

Figure 30.7. Controlling additional message options through the Message Options dialog box.


You've already seen that you can flag the importance of your message; here, you can also flag its Sensitivity: Normal, Personal, Private, or Confidential.


Flagging a message as personal, private, or confidential does nothing to ensure that your employer can't read it, or that it cannot be read by third parties in the event of a lawsuit.

You can also specify several tracking and delivery options:

  • Checking Request a Delivery Receipt for This Message triggers the recipient's email system to send you a message when your message is delivered.

  • Checking Request a Read Receipt for This Message triggers the recipient's email system to send you a message when your recipient opens the message you sent (although nothing can guarantee that he or she actually reads it!).


    To request delivery receipts and/or read receipts for all your messages, follow these steps, in Outlook 2003:

    1. Choose Tools, Options to display the Preferences tab.

    2. Click E-mail Options.

    3. Click Tracking Options.

    4. To request a Read receipt for all messages, check the Read Receipt check box. To request a Delivery receipt for all messages, check Delivery Receipt. Delivery Receipts are available only if you are connected to a Microsoft Exchange email system.

    5. Click OK.

    The same dialog box allows you to control how your computer responds to requests for read receipts. By default, Outlook 2003 asks how you want to respond. If you want to disregard all read receipt requests, choose Never Send a Response.


    Even though you request a read or delivery receipt for your messages, there's no guarantee you'll receive one. If the recipient has Outlook 2002, Outlook 2003, or Outlook Express, the recipient can choose whether to send a read receipt. In addition, many email systems do not support the use of read or delivery receipts and won't return them.


    Another option, Use Voting Buttons, allows the recipients of your message to vote up or down on the contents of your message. However, this feature works only if your Outlook 2003 email system is connected to Microsoft Exchange.

  • Checking the Have Replies Sent To check box enables you to arrange for replies to be sent directly to a colleague or an assistant, rather than to you. To choose a name from your Outlook 2003 Contacts list, click Select Names and pick the name from the Select Names dialog box.

  • Checking Save Sent Message To and clicking Browse enables you to specify a different Outlook 2003 folder in which to store a copy of this message after you send it.

  • Clicking the down arrow next to Do Not Deliver Before enables you to hold off sending a message until a time you specify.

  • Expires After enables you to specify a date after which the message becomes unavailable.

  • Clicking the drop-down arrow next to Attachment Format allows you to specify how your message's attachment is coded for delivery across networks. The Default setting usually works well, but in certain instances, you may want to make a change. For example, if you are sending an attachment to a Macintosh user, especially one whose corporate email system is based on the Macintosh, you may want to use BinHex. If you are sending an attachment to an older Unix-based system, you may want to use UUENCODE.

  • Clicking the drop-down arrow next to Encoding enables you to specify encoding associated with the region of the world that your message will be delivered to. Messages sent throughout North America, South America, and Western Europe utilize the default Western European (ISO) character set, but if your message is being delivered to the Baltics, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, or Asia, you might need to change this setting.

  • Clicking Categories displays the Categories dialog box (see Figure 30.8), where you can set a category that helps you track your messages in Outlook 2003. For example, you might create a category for all messages associated with a specific project, or all messages associated with a specific personal goal you have. You can then later search your folders for all items of a specific category. Check the boxes that correspond to the categories to which you want the message assigned.

    Figure 30.8. Assigning a message to one or more Outlook 2002 categories.


When you finish setting Message Options, click Close.

Still More Word and Outlook Options Affecting Email Handling

The preceding section discussed options that apply only to the specific message you are working on. Additional email options are scattered throughout Word 2003 and Outlook 2003.

Settings relevant to how Word formats all your email?especially settings for email signatures and digital stationery?are accessible by choosing Tools, Options, General in Word, and clicking the E-mail Options button. Settings for email signatures can also be accessed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to the Options button on the Mail toolbar and choosing E-mail Signature from the drop-down menu. Settings for Personal Stationery can also be accessed by clicking Options on the Mail toolbar and choosing Stationery from the drop-down menu. These settings are covered later in this chapter, in the section "Setting Formatting Defaults for All Your Mail Messages."

Settings that affect message formats can also be found in Outlook 2003. Choose Tools, Options and click the Mail Format tab. Several stationery, signature, and font settings in this dialog box overlap with options found in Word's email options dialog box. If you establish these settings in Word, Word's settings will apply here as well. (You can also specify that Outlook 2003 use its own built-in editor instead of Word for editing and formatting email. To do so, clear the Use Microsoft Word to Edit E-mail Messages check box.)

Settings that affect how Outlook 2003 connects to your email accounts, when it sends and receives, and how it stores email are accessible through Outlook 2003. To access these, Choose Tools, Options and click the Mail Setup tab.

Additional settings that affect how email is handled and tracked can be found in Outlook 2003. Choose Tools, Options; click the Preferences tab; and click E-mail Options.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word