Reply To All

by Neil Mitchell

Some companies lock down the use of Outlook by disabling the Reply To All button, making it harder to manage email. This document describes an associated Office VBA module, which restores the Reply To All button. The associated VBA also includes features to edit a received email (another feature sometimes disabled) and to remove embedded images from an email.

Enabling Reply To All

The following steps describe how to recover Reply To All functionality. These steps has been tested on Outlook 2003 and 2007, but should also work for other versions of Outlook.

Step 1: Reduce your Outlook security settings

In Outlook, go to Tools, Macro, Security.... In the dialog box, select Medium or Low security.

Step 2: Download the Macro file

Download the macro file from http://community.haskell.org/~ndm/darcs/office/ReplyToAll.bas, by right clicking and saving the module. Save it on your Desktop.

Step 3: Import the Macro file

In Outlook, go to Tools, Macro, Visual Basic Editor.

In the Microsoft Visual Basic editor go to File, Import File.... Select the macro file you saved previously on your Destop named ReplyToAll.bas.

Close the Microsoft Visual Basic editor.

Step 4: Add the buttons

In Outlook, go to Tools, Macro, Macros.... Select the Macro ReplyToAll_AddButtons and hit Run.

Using Reply To All

Now, in Outlook, click on a Reply To All button in the main window. The first time hitting Reply To All after starting Outlook you may get a security warning - if so just click Enable Macros.

Additional Features

The associated Macro file contains two additional macros:

To use these macros, first open a received email message. If you are using Office 2007, add them to the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of the screen. If you are using Office 2003, add them as custom toolbar buttons.

Plea to Outlook Administrators

Please do not disable essential email functionality. With the workarounds described above, the attempt is futile, but remains deeply inconvenient. Consider the situation where Alice sends an email to Bob, Charlie and Dave asking for some financial details of Mega Corp. Bob has the details on a post-it note on his desk and quickly replies to everyone with the information. But in a world without Reply To All...

Removing Reply To All increases the volume of email required, and increases the risk of email accidents. I've heard only two arguments against Reply To All, both of which are wrong: