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Have you ever needed to take a vote using e-mail? Yeah, it's a little rough. You asked the group what to do about lunch, and you get 30 e-mails 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 e-mail that includes voting buttons, such as yes or no, or small, medium, large. When your recipients respond using those voting buttons, results are automatically sent back to you and tabulated on the original message from your Sent Items folder. Here's how you do it.
To enable Voting buttons on an e-mail that you've composed in Outlook, switch to the Options tab and then click Use Voting Buttons. From here, you have three built-in options: Approve;Reject, Yes;No, or Yes;No;Maybe. You can also customize the choices by clicking Custom. Here, enter the choices you'd like to provide, separated by semicolons. When you're finished, press Close, double check your e-mail, and then hit Send. The e-mail that your recipients receive will look similar to this.
When displayed in the Reading pane, they can click here and make their choice. If they have the message open in a full window, such as this, they can pull down the Vote menu and choose the response. When providing a response, Outlook gives them the opportunity to customize the response first. For example, they may want to edit the response and say that they like pizza, but they don't like pepperoni. The sender of the original message can then select the Sent Items folder, and locate the e-mail that was sent. When opened, a tracking tab appears that displays all of the recipients along with the responses they've provided.
In the information bar above, each option is tallied. Any new votes received are automatically added to this list, provided that you open the message or mark it as read. You can't use this feature for multiple questions or free-answer questions, but for the basics, it's great. It works with Outlook users anywhere, even outside your organization, and even if they are on a different version of Outlook. There is one thing: you cannot move your original sent message out of your Sent Items folder. So there you go, my 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 on in.
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