Add a Signature to Your Email Messages

After one of my computer tips seminars (Computer Magic), an attendee sent me a question about a problem she was having in Word. (“In Word, if I highlight text, it wont’ let me delete by just hitting the delete button.”)

I don’t come anywhere near providing technical support, but when a question is something I can answer quickly, and it’s from an attendee, I will when time allows.

I sent a response that I’m sure would solve the problem, but the email bounced back. For some reason her company’s servers rejected my email. I would have called her, but the only thing in the signature line was her first name. I had no idea who she was because I presented the seminar at a large conference. I could have called the company, trying to track her down, but I’m busy.

So now someone who loved my seminar now thinks I ignored her. Bummer.

As a professional courtesy and convenience, add your contact information at the end of each email message. In Outlook:

  1. Click the Tools menu, Options, Mail Format tab, Signatures, New. (If you want to create a more extensive signature, click Advanced Edit to go outside of Outlook.)
  2. Create one that includes all of your contact information.

If you’re curious about the answer, it’s here in another post. For more tips, tricks, and strategies in Outlook, check out my book, Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook 2003. You can also join me LIVE on the Web for training. Details are on my Website.

PEACE.

Carbonite and MozyPro online storage offer peace of mind data backup service

In an earlier post titled, Which files should you back up, I discussed various ways I back up my critical computer files. I admit that I’m somewhat anal in doing this. My data is my business, my life. My training and speaking business takes me all over America, and I don’t want to lose that.

If you lost all the data on your computer today, could you recover quickly, painlessly? I could.

I’m fully satisfied with Carbonite, an online storage vault. This technology monitors my computer’s hard drive and backs up the new stuff in the background as I work.

I especially like it that Carbonite keeps my files organized the way I have them on my computer (this is a biggie for me because I’m very meticulous about how I save my files). I’d been frustrated with other services because I didn’t want my files scattered. I have a very logical filing system that enables me to find files the instant I need them. (I don’t need desktop search because I know where everything is.)

(Update 1/9/08: I’m using Mozy Unlimited Backup – $4.95/Month’>Mozy.com to back up my Membership Website. This is a huge Website with 1-2 minute movies of my computer tips and tricks. I had to move my source files to my external hard drive and (at this writing) Carbonite does not back up external drives. Mozy Unlimited Backup – $4.95/Month’>Mozy does.)

(Update 5/26/08: My laptop crashed and I was able to get my files. But getting the files downloaded to a borrowed laptop didn’t run as smoothly as it should have. I was frustrated when I realized that Carbonite’s tech support is 9AM-5PM weekdays only. I’m moving all of my backups to MozyPro who has 24/7/365 support. I’ll consider keeping the files with Carbonite as a secondary backup.)

Simplify your life, and make data recovery one less thing you have to worry about. If you don’t think you have time to deal with this now, how will you find time to recover later?

P.S. Learn how to organize your files in my booklet, Get Organized At Work and Make It Easy. A link to Word templates that I created that will make this easy and also a File Index to get you started are inside.

PEACE.

Attach the Native Word File to a PDF Before You Send It

When I send a training agreement to a client, I’ll create the agreement in Word, create a PDF of it, and email both of the documents together. (I’m using Adobe Acrobat 7.0.)

  1. From the open PDF, click the Document menu, Attach a File.
  2. Browse to find the file you want to attach, and double-click it.
  3. Add other files as needed. You’re not limited.

Important: Once the attachment(s) is in place, you can change the PDF Options to show them by default (you’ll see an Options drop-down arrow on the right side of the screen near the scrollbar where the attachments start).

Why do I send the Word file along with the PDF instead of just the Word file? Because I want to ensure the file is formatted the way I intended (the PDF). The recipient can open the attachment in Word if they need to make changes* (it’s easier in Word than on the PDF).

*Client Changes
If the client needs to make changes, they’ll do so in Word. When they return the file, I need to see, accept, or reject any changes they’ve made. To do this, I turn on Track Changes in the Word document before I attach and send it (in Word, click the Tools menu, Track Changes. See Word Help for more information).

Set Security in PDF
To prevent changes to the PDF, set the security level with a password (click the Document menu, point to Security, click Secure This Document, then click Restrict opening and editing this document using passwords, follow the prompts, and set as desired).

Note: I used this technique to create a product that is a combination of Word documents and PDFs (instead of mailing a CD).

Get Quoted in the Media

When you’re quoted in the media, you get instant credibility in the marketplace.

If you want more publicity, you could be going about it the wrong way. I train a lot of journalists, and here are some things I know for sure.

  • Their absolute #1 pet peeve is receiving PR pitches, calls, books, etc., on topics that in no way fit what they do.
  • They delete almost all email messages from PR people without reading them.
  • They trash almost all (I want to say all) faxes without reading them.
  • Spam filters that make them get permission to send you an email message get ignored, deleted. They then move on to the next expert.
  • They’re way too busy to return phone calls (although their voicemail says they will).

So knowing all this, what can you do?

Do the work to make your Web site come up on the first two pages when they Google your expertise (mine does and I never paid one red cent to make it happen). I’ve written an ebook and conduct seminars on how to get found online.

……………………………………
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Host Multiple Websites Using One Hosting Package

If you’ve registered various domains and are not doing anything with them, create more Web sites.

I’m about to start creating different Websites that will serve various purposes. Most will be one-pagers promoting one product or service. Instead of paying for multiple hosting accounts, they will all share space with my main site, www.PeggyDuncan.com.

All of these sites will be totally separate, not subwebs. They’ll reside in separate folders on my computer and on the Web. Everything is separate: they’re just in the same space….like your neighbors in a high-rise.

My sites are hosted by Network Solutions. Terrific customer support. If you want a company that will walk you through and hold your hands anytime you need it, they’re it. They must train their American-based employees well because everyone I’ve ever talked to knew what they were talking about…a rarity these days.

Which Files Should You Back Up?

If anything ever happens and I have to recover data saved on my computer, I want it to be as painless as possible. That’s why I paid attention to which files I should protect and how.

A backup is not a backup if it’s not off site. To simplify offsite/online storage, I use MozyPro. This technology backs up designated files to an online vault every day as they change on my computer. MozyPro. proved to be the best service for me because it keeps my files organized the way I have them on my computer (this is a biggie for me). My external hard drive also provides automatic backups (it’s also backed up by MozyPro). And I have critical files saved on a 4GB thumb drive for easy access when I’m offline and traveling. In addition to having the means to back up your data, you should also have a plan for knowing what to back up.

UPDATE 1/22/2012: I’ve switched to Carbonite. I wanted to start fresh, but both services are great. 

My Documents Folder: My two main business folders are separated into broad categories, then into smaller subcategories. If you keep like subjects together, it’s easier to back up everything (and to find anything I need later).

Outlook Files: You can back up Outlook to include your contacts, emails, calendar, tasks, and journal entries. (See my post on backing up Outlook. The path to my Outlook files is at C:Documents and SettingsPeggy DuncanLocal SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftOutlook). You’ll want to back up the Outlook.pst file.) 

UPDATE 1/22/2012: In Windows 7, the path is  C:UsersYourComputerNameAppDataLocalMicrosoftOutlookOutlook.pst (replace YourComputerName with your own).

You’ll probably also want to back up your signature files and rules if you’ve set them up. The path to the Signatures folder is C:Documents and SettingsyournameApplication DataMicrosoftSignatures (MozyPro keeps this folder backed up for me).

And if you’ve created any rules, you’ll want to back them up too (see my post on backing up Outlook. To find out where your templates are stored, in Word, click the Tools menu, Options, File Locations tab. Double-click the location that reads User Templates.

Templates: If you create any templates (with the .dot, .xlt, .ppt extensions), they’re automatically saved outside of the My Documents structure (mine are at C:Documents and SettingsPeggy DuncanApplication DataMicrosoftTemplates). I added this location to my Favorites so it would be easy to remember.

UPDATE: In Windows 7, it’s difficult if not impossible to find the Templates folder. Let the system find it for you. Hold down the Windows key (the one with the Windows logo left of the spacebar) and type R. The Run command box will appear. Paste this in that box, C:UsersYourComputerNameAppDataRoamingMicrosoftTemplatesTemplates replacing YourComputerName with your own, and click OK.

Downloaded Programs: These are miscellaneous applications I’ve either purchased or downloaded for free. I don’t have the CD. Instead of saving these in the same folder as the Programs folder, I put them in a separate folder called My Downloaded Programs. If I have to restore my computer files, I won’t have to remember which applications I downloaded.

My Books: These are all the files I have for all the books I’ve written. I keep these outside of my main business files folder and off my computer because the files are so large.

QuickBooks: In addition to being backed up on my external hard drive and online vault every day, I back QuickBooks files up on my hard drive every time I make changes (QuickBooks has this feature built in. Every time it asks you if you want to back up, click YES! I name the file the same each time so it also gets backed up online).

Favorites. I’ve bookmarked some great sites and don’t want to lose the easy access. To find where your Favorites are stored, double-click My Computer, double-click the C: Drive, double-click Documents and Settings, double-click on your username folder. You should see your Favorites folder.

Pictures. Pictures I use on my Website are safe on the Web server. All others are saved in the My Pictures folder.

Special Projects. I’m working on my family tree with the software Family Tree Maker.

In addition to being backed up on my external hard drive and online vault every day, I also saved them to a flash drive that I keep with me.

I must admit that I’m somewhat anal about backing up my data. My computer is my livelihood, and I don’t want to lose over 10 years worth of business. Plus, I cannot tell you how much better I sleep at night because I’ve taken the time to put this plan in place.

Simplify your life, and make data recovery one less thing you have to worry about. If you don’t think you have time to deal with this now, how will you find time to recover later?

P.S. Learn how to organize your files in my eBook, Get Organized So You Can Think! Word templates that I created that will make this easy and also a File Index to get you started are attached.

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Back Up All of Outlook Pleeaaze!

Peggy Duncan, Personal Productivity Expert

Back Up All of Outlook PLEEAAZE!

Too many disasters happening. You’re not protecting yourself. Save your data! Here is how to back up Outlook messages, contacts, appointments, tasks, notes, and journal entries (all saved in the .pst file). I’m using Outlook 2003.

  1. Get an external storage device ready to store a large file (flash drive, CD, etc.). The file will be huge (mine is over 175MB). Flash drive is better because if you burn to a CD, the file will become Read Only. To use it, you’ll have to right-click on it, click Properties, and untick Read-only.
  2. In Outlook, click the Tools menu, Options.
  3. Click the Mail Setup tab, Data Files button.
  4. Click Personal Folders, Open Folder button.
  5. Close Outlook.
  6. Right-click the Outlook.pst file, Send To, choose drive you set up in Step 1. (If you get an error message about another process having Outlook locked, shut down other applications such as MSN Desktop Search, Yahoo! or Google Desktop Search, etc. You should also uncradle your PDA and disable all Outlook add-ins. If this doesn’t work, this article offers other solutions http://www.howto-outlook.com/faq/outlookdoesntclose.htm)
  7. Now repeat the process for the Archive.pst and save it.
  8. Save this file location to your Favorites.
  9. Add this file location to any automatic backup process you’ve set up (e.g., MozyPro, external hard drive, etc.).
  10. Enjoy more peace of mind.

Back Up Outlook Signature Files. You will probably also want to back up your signature files and rules if you’ve set them up.

The path to the Signatures folder is C:Documents and SettingsyournameApplication DataMicrosoftSignatures (MozyPro keeps this folder backed up for me).

And if you’ve created any rules, you’ll want to back them up too. The only way I’ve found to do this is to export them to another file location.

  1. From the Inbox, click the Tools menu, Rules and Alerts, Email Rules tab, Options button.
  2. Export Rules and save.

Restore Outlook Using the Backup. Copy the backup file to the same folder as above. But, if you need to keep data you’ve added since the backup:

  1. Click the File menu, Import and Export, Import from another program or file, Next, Personal Folder File (.pst), Next.
  2. Browse to find the backup file you created, and choose the option Replace duplicates…).

Related Post
Which Files Should You Back Up?

Business Cards Piling Up? Dump 'em

I have a business card scanner…saw it years ago and just had to have it (CardScan)! It’s probably about 90% accurate reading the text on the card and turning it into a contact so I can’t complain. The problem is that after that first wave of cards was scanned, I don’t use the scanner anymore.

Here’s why:

  1. I don’t blindly collect business cards when I’m out “networking.” If someone thrusts a card in my hand, I’ll take it to be courteous (although they weren’t). But when I get to my office (or when I pass a trash can) and know I have no connection with the person and have no intention of contacting them, I trash the card immediately (especially if it’s printed on cheap paper with a perforated edge and no rhyme or reason to the design).Most of the cards piled up around you amount to keeping junk, clutter, a mess. Businesses have failed, people have changed jobs, etc. Why keep junk?
  2. When I’m out and get a card I want to keep, I’ll write something about the person on it so I’ll remember. Then I add them to Outlook Contacts manually. I add a Category and I add my notes in the text area. I do this immediately so they won’t pile up. Then I trash the card.
  3. Most of the addresses I add to Outlook come from within an email message or on a Webpage. I have some great software that allows me to select text, press a hotkey (for me F9), and populate fields in Outlook automatically. It’s magical! If you can’t download software at work, do it at home. Copy 2 Contact today! It’s inexpensive and worth every penny.
  4. When someone indicates they want to stay in touch with me (and the feeling is mutual), I’ll email them my vCard from Outlook.

If you work in a group environment, the scanner would help because you can set it up on one machine and take turns using it. Or check into a network version. Otherwise, think twice before you buy.

Get to a Folder Quickly When you Want to Open It

I’ve set up various ways to quickly get to documents I work with a lot. One way is by adding folders to the Places bar (it’s the bar on the left of this dialog box (under Look in:) that appears when you click the Open toolbar button (or click Ctrl+O) inside your favorite software.

It’s easy to add more folders to this bar.

  1. Open Word XP or higher (or other Office software).
  2. Click the File menu, Open (or click Ctrl+O, or click the Open toolbar button). Browse to the folder you want added to the Places Bar, and select it.
  3. With the desired folder selected, click the Tools menu, Add to “My Places”. The folder you selected will appear in the Places menu (you might have to click the drop-down arrow to see it).
  4. Reorder the folder placement by right-clicking it and clicking Move Up until you get it to the desired position.
  5. Later, to remove a place, go back to where you started (e.g., if you were in Word when you created the folder, go back to Word), and press Ctrl+O to access the Open dialog box. Then right-click the folder and click Remove. If Remove is grayed out, you didn’t go back to where you started.

Clearing Unwanted Email Addresses That Pop Up on the To, Cc, Bcc Lines

Last Thursday in Atlanta, I presented one of my popular seminars, Conquer Email Overload and Manage Your Time with Outlook. The conference was produced by the Georgia chapter of Meeting Professionals International. Great group of people who were eager to learn. Ding, Ding!

I demo’d the tip that has frustrated a lot of users. It’s those pesky email addresses that pop up once Outlook recognizes a few of the letters you type. Outlook maintains a nickname list that’s used by both the automatic name checking and the automatic completion features. Outlook has gathered these addresses as you’ve worked, but a lot of times, you don’t remember who the people are. Or perhaps they left the company a long time ago, and you’d never have a reason to email them.

Use Keyboard Arrow Keys to Clear Cache
When the unwanted email address pops up, use your keyboard’s down or up arrow to select it. Then hit the Delete key to erase the name from the cache (this doesn’t erase the name from your address book).

If That Doesn’t Work, Try This
Using the keyboard arrow keys and deleting won’t work if the cache has become corrupt. In that case, this might work for you. It will wipe out the cache so you can start fresh.

  1. Close Outlook, then click Start, Search.
  2. In the box under, All or part of the file name, type .NK2.
  3. In the Look In box, choose your local hard disk.
  4. Click More advanced options.
  5. In the resulting list, choose All files or folders, and tick Search hidden files and folders.
  6. Click Search. When the .NK2 file is located, right-click on it, click Rename.
  7. Rename the file to profilename.bak, and press Enter.
  8. Close Windows Explore and restart Outlook so a new nickname cache can be generated.

Don’t let technology frustrate you. Whatever problem you’re having can usually be solved by doing a little research. Or perhaps you’ll want to enroll in one of my training sessions either in person or on the Web. See my Website for details and dates.