Microsoft

Eliminate accidental Reply To All in Outlook

It's easy to accidentally click Reply To All instead of Reply -- and that can be embarrassing. Worse, it can get you into trouble! Here's an easy trick to eliminate that possibility.
We've probably all done it -- clicked Reply To All instead of Reply. Most of the time, it doesn't really matter. The recipients all understand because they've done it themselves. However, if you accidentally send confidential information to the wrong people, you could end up in serious trouble. Over the years, I've read lots of hints for avoiding this easy mistake, but one surefire way to eliminate the possibility altogether is to remove Reply To All from your toolbar. It's easy, and if you don't use it often, it's probably a good idea. To remove Reply To All from the Standard toolbar, do the following:

  1. On the Standard toolbar, click the drop-down control at the far right of the toolbar.
  2. Choose Add Or Remove Buttons.
  3. Select Standard.
  4. From the resulting list, uncheck Reply To All.

You must remove it twice though -- from the Standard toolbar in both the main window and the message window. (To access the message window, simply open any message.) Once you remove the Reply To All button, there's no danger that you'll accidentally click it when you meant to click Reply.

If you're thinking that you might need the Reply To All command, don't worry. It's still available:

  • From the Action menu, choose Reply To All.
  • Or press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+R.

The process of working through the menu structure to find Reply To All is a good way to ensure that you use that option only when you really mean to.

If you decide you want the button back, simply reverse the above steps using the Add Or Remove Buttons option.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

9 comments
willyben
willyben

Hi there


www.facebook.com

bob.baldwin
bob.baldwin

Very good idea but how do you remove the button from the Message Tab in Outlook 2007?

htheninth
htheninth

This is a great article, but it does not solve the problem I typically encounter--thinking you are replying to the originator of a message sent to a listserve and only realizing after you send the note that selecting 'Reply' resulted in putting the Listserve address in the 'Send' box. Can you help with that? Thanks.

TranMan
TranMan

In my organization, we have the problem that people that click "reply to all" when they are responding to requests for specific information. For instance: Last summer we got a request that went out to the whole organization, wanting to know if anyone knew anyone that knew ASL (American Sign Language). They were doing some sort of negotiation with a contractor, and needed someone to sign, in their meetings. One of the programmers that works for me is deaf, and she was on vacation that week, so I responded to the person who made the request, saying that we had someone who would probably be willing to help them out. Unfortunately, there were about 20 people who clicked "Reply To All", and told all 2,500 of us in the "To" list that, "No, they didn't know anyone who could help". At the time, I thought, being a programmer, that what the "Reply To All" button needs is a confirmation form. In other words, when someone clicks "Reply To All", and the To list contains more that 20 or so names, a little messagebox pops up, that says, "Your 'Reply To All' action is going to send your message to "X" number of people. Are you sure you want to do this?" This would not solve all of the problems, but at least it might make some of the people think before they send out a message to a huge group of people. By the way, we figured out that each of those 20 people that clicked "Reply To All", cost the organization upwards of $1,600 in lost productivity, network overhead, and consumption of storage and backup resources.

marybee27
marybee27

in an open message, select the "Developer" tab, then select "Design this Form"; you will then have several tabs to select from; choose the (Actions) tab, and select the "properties" box - upper right of the next dialogue box, unclick "enabled", select "ok". The 'reply to all' button will be grayed out in any new messages.

ssharkins
ssharkins

Your listserv determines the reply features, not Outlook -- well, mostly. 1.) If the reply feature is something you can customize, you'll probably find that feature on an online log in page -- the same page where you can reset your password or unsubscribe. 2.) If you can't find anything online, contact the list owner.

seanferd
seanferd

Susan Harkins writes about MS Office, in the MS Office blog. She may have a tip, but you'd probably better off asking Listserv questions in a Listserv forum (or perhaps a list dedicated to such). Unless someone else here knows, in which case, you may wish to start a thread in the Questions forum. http://techrepublic.com.com/5200-6230-0.html?input=false&contentType=2 These may help: http://www.sc.edu/bck2skol/fall/lesson9.html http://peach.ease.lsoft.com/scripts/wa.exe?A0=LSTSRV-L Hope you find an answer. And happy holidays!

ssharkins
ssharkins

I like that idea. It would certainly stop a lot of accidents wouldn't it!