KC Lemson

By KC Lemson [MS]

Blogs

Prevent Reply All/Forward in mail to other Outlook users

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Much has been made of Information Rights Management in Outlook/Windows 2003. But for years, organizations with 100% Outlook users have been capable of achieving a small level of the same functionality with custom Outlook forms.

First, create the custom form:
1. Create a new message
2. Tools | Forms | Design This Form
3. Click on the Actions tab
4. Double click on "Forward" and "Reply to All" and disable them
5. Click on the Properties tab
6. Check "Send form definition with item"
7. Tools | Forms | Publish Form As
8. In the "Look In" field, choose your personal forms library and give it a name such as "NoReplyAllOrForward"

At step 7, you could also File | Save As and save the form as an OFT in the filesystem.

Then, send mail to others using the custom form:
1. Tools | Choose Form (or double-click the OFT you saved on your hard drive)
2. In the "Look In" field, choose your personal forms library
3. A new mail message will come up. If you went to Tools | Forms | Design This Form, the changes you made above would be visible.
4. Type in the recipients/subject/body/etc and send the message

Now when the people you sent the mail to open it, the "Reply All" and "Forward" buttons will not be available on the toolbar. Similarly, the keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+F will not work.

Of course this doesn't go nearly as far as true IRM, since the recipient could still copy the contents from the mail and paste it into a new one and forward that around. This is more useful as a "gentle reminder" not to "me too" reply all to a large mailing list, or not to forward something semi-private.

Note: This tip only works if the recipients are using Outlook. Outlook Web Access, Outlook Express and other mail clients don't understand Outlook's custom forms.

Comments
  • This was extremely helpful. The steps were complete, precise, and had me quickly back to work. Thanks so much.

  • This was helpful.

    Let me know can we make this as default whenever we send a new message

  • KC's Prevent Reply All/Forward in mail to other Outlook users .

  • Not so sure about this. I did exactly what the instructions said and I sent a test message to myself. Sure enough it worked when you opened the message (double clicking the message and bringing it up in it's own window) there were no reply to all or foward buttons. BUT if you just select the message and use the buttons on the top of the main Outlook window, it lets you foward or reply to all. hum...

  • Yep, that's the expected behavior. The changes you make by following these steps only affect the message form, not the entire outlook window.

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