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Have you ever needed to take a vote using email? Yeah, it's a little rough. You've asked a group what to do about lunch and you get 30 emails back, all seemingly random replies. And even if you narrow down the list, you still have to tabulate the results yourself, but it doesn't have to be that way. Outlook allows you to send an email that includes voting buttons, such as Yes or No or Small, Medium, Large. When your recipients respond using the voting buttons, results are sent back to you and tabulated on the original message in your Sent Items folder.
Here's how you do it. We'll begin by creating an email and addressing it to the recipients that we want to vote on our question. We'll give it a subject line and a message body. To enable voting buttons click on the Options tab and pull down the Use Voting Buttons menu. Notice that Outlook comes preconfigured with three options.
Approve.Reject, Yes.No, Yes.No.Maybe, but you can create your own if you click Custom. In the dialog box that appears, enter your voting options separated by semicolons. After typing in the Voting options, click Close. Normally we would send it to our recipients, but for today I'm going to send it to myself so you can see what it looks like when the recipients get the message.
With the message now in my Inbox I can click on it, and I have the content of the message along with Click here to vote up on top. If I pull down that menu, there are my choices. I can either vote this way or I can open up the message and use the Vote pull down menu to make my response. When the recipient chooses a response they have the option to send the response or edit the response first. In other words, they can customize the message and then send it back.
The sender of the original message can then select the Sent Items folder and locate the email that was sent. When opened, a new Tracking option appears on the Ribbon and it displays all the votes collected so far along with tabulated results for each option. Any new votes are added to the results as long as you've read the message from the Inbox. You can't use this feature for multiple questions or free answer questions, but for the basics, it's great.
It works well with Outlook users anywhere even if they're outside your organization and even if they're on a different version of Outlook. There is one catch. you cannot move your original message from the Sent Items folder. And remember, for a vote to be tabulated, you have to have read the message. There you go by top ten tips, but there are so many more, so keep on watching. Chapter 2 is all about keeping that Inbox lean and staying organized. So if you're ready, let's dive in.
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