Outlook Add-In Manual

Specification may change until final release.

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System Requirements

The "Outlook Add-In requires:

  • PhraseExpress Windows client v12 (Download)
  • Microsoft Outlook (installed, not the online version).
  • If trying the Add-In, make sure to also add our sample Outlook Add-In phrases.
  • The Add-In doesn't support PhraseExpress in portable mode as the Add-In must be installed on the guest PC.
  • You can evaluate the Add-In without obligations. License reminders are removed if licensing a PhraseExpress Enterprise Edition.
  • The Add-In retrieves data based on linguistic analysis which cannot be 100% accurate, for example because of dialectic variations. Please always verify email contents before sending an email.

Installation

  1. Exit Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Download and install the regular PhraseExpress client.
  3. Follow the onscreen instruction and make sure to have the Outlook Add-In checkbox checked.
  4. If you do not have the sample phrases, download the Outlook Add-In sample phrase file!

The Add-In is launched automatically with the PhraseExpress client and doesn't need any configuration.

Getting Started

If you installed the Add-In sample phrases, you can immediately start using the Add-In:

  1. Launch PhraseExpress and MS Outlook.
  2. Highlight any email in your Outlook inbox that is normally formatted (Opening, contents and complimentary close).
  3. Press "Reply" to reply to that email.
  4. Click the PhraseExpress task tray icon and select the desired personalized opening:

Salutations

Alternatively, just type "Dear" followed by space in the email reply. PhraseExpress offers you to auto-complete the name.

How it works

The Outlook Add-In extends the PhraseExpress macro functions with a new section "Outlook Email":

Outlook related macro functions

 

These new macro functions provide access to data of the currently highlighted email in your Microsoft Outlook inbox:

  • You can retrieve the sender email address, the subject or email body to automatically answer the email.
  • The integrated text analysis extracts the first and last name, title and gender of the sender which allows you to create auto-filled greeting phrases.
  • The new Outlook macro functions can be used together with the string operations included in PhraseExpress to parse the email body for specific words and to offer suitable answer phrases that fit to the email subject or body.

Add-In Macro Functions

The Outlook Add-In adds following macro functions to PhraseExpress Enterprise Edition:

Macro Function Description Output example
{#OLMAILDATA fromtitle} Sender's title PhD.
{#OLMAILDATA fromfirstname} Sender's first name Paul
{#OLMAILDATA fromlastname} Sender's last name Meyer
{#OLMAILDATA frommail} Sender's email address sender@address.com
{#OLMAILDATA to} Recipient's email address (you in most cases) myown@email.com
{#OLMAILDATA subject} E-Mail subject line RE: Request
{#OLMAILDATA body} E-Mail body  
{#OLMAILDATA gender} Gender (retrieved by checking the first name against a built-in list of female/male names) 0: Not found
1: Female
2: Male
3: Both possible

Click any macro function in the list above to learn more.

The real power of the macro functions lays in combining them with other PhraseExpress macro functions: Particularly, the {#CHECK…} and string operations allow you to create amazing functions, as explained in the following examples:

Reply with the first name

The macro function {#OLMAILDATA fromfirstname} retrieves the sender's first name by a text analysis of the currently highlighted email in Outlook's inbox.

Following phrase inserts a personalized greeting:

Dear {#OLMAILDATA fromfirstname},

Thank you for your email.

On execution of this macro function, the Outlook macro function is replaced with the actual sender's first name.

Gender Detection

The macro function {#OLMAILDATA gender} detects the sender's gender by checking his first name against a built-in list of first names.

Gender Macro function output
Name not found 0
Female sender 1
Male sender 2
Both possible 3

If you combine this macro function with the IF-THEN-ELSE-function {#COND …}, the macro function {#OLMAILDATA gender} allows you to auto-generate a greeting which automatically decides to choose "Dear Mr." / "Dear Mrs.":

{#COND -IF {#OLMAILDATA gender} = 1 -THEN Dear Mrs. -ELSE Dear Mr.}

You may want to add a fallback for the rare case, if the first name was not found in PhraseExpress internal list of names or if the name is ambiguous:

{#COND -IF {#OLMAILDATA gender} = 1 -THEN Dear Mrs. -ELSE {#COND -IF {#OLMAILDATA gender} = 2 -THEN Dear Mr. -ELSE Dear Sirs}}

The second{#COND …} macro function triggers a neutral "Dear Sirs" if the {#OLMAILDATA gender} could not determine the gender.

Retrieve the last name of the sender

The macro function {#OLMAILDATA fromlastname} outputs the last name of the sender, e.g. "Meyer" (without "").

Let's use this macro function to complete the earlier example:

{#COND -IF {#OLMAILDATA gender} = 1 -THEN Dear Mrs. -ELSE Dear Mr.} {#OLMAILDATA fromlastname}},

Depending on the detected gender, this phrase outputs "Dear Mrs. Meyer" or "Dear Mr. Meyer".

Retrieve the sender's academic title

The macro function {#OLMAILDATA fromtitle} retrieves the academic title (if any), e.g. "PhD". This macro function is probably only useful for very formal greetings to nationalities which include the academic title in the greeting phrase.

Retrieve the sender email address

The macro function {#OLMAILDATA frommail} extracts the full sender's email address of the email, which is currently highlighted in the Outlook inbox.

Following example outputs a special text if the email is coming from a specific sender:

{#COND -IF {#OLMAILDATA frommail} = support@test.com -THEN Dear support, Thank you for answering my email.}

Expert tip! To check the sender email address for parts of the full email address, you can use the string macro function{#POS …}, that outputs a number >0, if a sub string is found in the original string:

{#COND -IF {#POS {#OLMAILDATA frommail} -SUBSTR support} > 0 -THEN Supportemail}

This example outputs the text "Supportemail" if the sender email address contains the word "support".

Retrieve the email subject line

The macro function {#OLMAILDATA subject} outputs the subject line of the email, which is currently highlighted in the Outlook inbox.

Following example outputs the text "Forwarded mail" if the subject line contains the letters " FW:" (abbreviation for "forwarded"):

{#COND -IF {#POS {#OLMAILDATA subject} -SUBSTR FW:} > 0 -THEN Forwarded mail}

The string macro function {#POS …} outputs a value greater than zero if the substring "FW:" is contained in the subject. This value is checked by the IF-THEN-ELSE function.

Retrieve the email body

The macro function {#OLMAILDATA body} outputs the email body of the email, which is currently highlighted in the Outlook inbox.

Following example uses the macro function {#INSERT …} that opens a phrase popup menu of a phrase folder with the autotext ##spareparts, if the email contains the word "spare part":

{#COND -IF {#POS {#OLMAILDATA body} -SUBSTR spare part} > 0 -THEN {#INSERT ##spareparts}}

The string macro function {#POS …} outputs a value greater than zero if the substring "spare part" is contained in the email body. This value is checked by the IF-THEN-ELSE function which may trigger to display the phrase popup menu with the autotext ##spareparts.

Retrieve the recipient's email address

The macro function {#OLMAILDATA to} outputs the email address of the recipient (this is in most cases, one of your email addresses).

In this example, the macro function {#balloon …} shows a task tray icon hint if the email was sent to "ceo@company.com":

{#COND -IF {#OLMAILDATA to} = ceo@company.com -THEN {#balloon -title Important Note! -TEXT E-Mail addressed to CEO!}}

Email reply automation

The macro functions of the Outlook Add-In are useful to answer Outlook emails only. You can use the Outlook hotkey CTRL-R to automate calling these phrases:

  1. Create a phrase that you want to automatically use to answer any Outlook reply.
  2. Restrict this phrase to Outlook replies only by restricting it to the program "Outlook" and furthermore the window title should begin with "RE:" (More info on program restrictions).
  3. Apply the hotkey CTRL-R for this phrase. If you later press this hotkey while working in Outlook, it will be grabbed by PhraseExpress instead of Microsoft Outlook.
  4. At the very beginning of the phrase, add the {#CTRL -CHARS r} to simulate pressing CTRL-R . This simulation will be received by Outlook to trigger replying to the email that is currently highlighted in Outlook. You may need to add a {#sleep 300} to give Outlook some time to prepare the reply email window.

Now, add the desired reply phrase.

Trouble-Shooting

Please check following troubleshooting tips if you experience any issue with the Add-In:

  • Does your system meet the system requirements? Make sure to have the latest PhraseExpress client version installed as earlier PhraseExpress versions don't support the Outlook Add-In.
  • Is PhraseExpress actually running? Check if the program icon is visible in the lower right of the Windows system tray. If not, click the Windows Start button in the lower left of your task tray » Programs » PhraseExpress » Launch PhraseExpress.
  • If you still cannot find a task tray icon, it may be hidden by Windows. Unfortunately, Windows 7 hides task tray icons by default. Please make sure to change the task tray icon setting so that the PhraseExpress icon is always shown in the tray as it displays important program status information.
  • If the system tray icon is gray-colored, PhraseExpress is temporarily disabled. Click the program icon while holding the CTRL-key to toggle between the disabled/enabled states.
  • Minimize the PhraseExpress main program window as PhraseExpress only works if the main program is not visible.
  • Check whether there is be any dialog window opened by PhraseExpress that may be hidden under other windows. You need to close any such dialog.
  • Close any program that may process keyboard input or the clipboard (other Clipboard Managers, Autotext utilities or special Multimedia keyboard drivers) to isolate incompatibility issues with other programs.
  • Make sure that no "security" program such "Antivirus/AntiSpyware"-software is blocking the keyboard hook of PhraseExpress.

If above suggestions do not help to resolve the issue, please check one of the following hints covering common issues:

The Add-In doesn't work at all?

Please note, that the Add-In works only with emails that you have highlighted in the Inbox in Outlook. It doesn't work with new emails or emails in any other Outlook folder.

The Add-In cannot retrieve the sender name and the email body if the email is digitally signed/encrypted.

Wrong gender detection?

The Add-In retrieves the first name of the email sender and checks the first name against an internal list of female/male names. The detection may not work for very unusual first names or if the first name may be used for females and males.

Trade Mark notice

Microsoft® and Outlook® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

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