It has happened to just about everyone who has ever written an email – you forgot to attach the document, file, picture, etc. to the email you are writing and only realize it later.  Usually that realization comes  along in two ways. 

You either realize it right after you hit the send button or within a few minutes of sending the email someone who received it sans attachment sends a quick reply back.

The other situation – an email chain just gets completely out of control because the Reply All button is used for replies that should only go back to the originator of the email.  Then others Reply All to those emails to say "”quit using reply all please” and it just spirals downhill from there.

Well Microsoft has some very viable solutions for both of these situations.

Preventing Reply All

This is a very nifty add-in from Microsoft Research called the NoReplyAll Outlook Add-In.  In fact it just got an update today from its programmers.

The primary function of this add-in is to add a few buttons to the Outlook ribbon to prevent people from replying to all the recipients of your message or forwarding it. The add-in uses a facility built into Outlook and Exchange that is more lightweight than information-rights management but is not exposed in the existing UI.

A nice bonus with this add-in is that it can also help with the forgotten attachments and lack of subject lines.

There is more information on this software at the NoReplyAll Outlook Add-In project description page.

Forgotten Attachments

This solution from Microsoft forgoes having any attachments at all and sharing them via SkyDrive.

In the post, New Year’s Resolution-  Cure for Attachment Disorder, provides links to help you with sharing your documents in the cloud easily.

Just start storing your documents on SkyDrive. When you send a link, people can read your document in their web browser–just like reading a web page. It doesn’t matter what version of Office they have, or whether they have it at all.

You can even skip email altogether and post the link on your Facebook or LinkedIn page. Here are all the details for sharing documents on SkyDrive.

Of course with the right permissions everyone can edit the document directly with their changes instead of you getting several emails with recommended updates.  Plus everyone gets to see what others are changing which may also influence what they think should change in the document.

Sounds like that equals more productivity across the cloud (pun intended).