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Quicker replies in the new Outlook

One of the new features in Outlook 2013 that I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about is Quick Response, which lets you write replies or forwards without leaving your inbox. This feature came about when we observed that people using Outlook often have a number of reply windows open, taking up screen space and complicating their experience of using Outlook.

To simplify the experience of responding to email, Outlook 2013 now lets you reply directly from your inbox, without the hassle of opening a new window:

When you reply to a message using Quick Response, the Reading Pane is replaced with the compose area you are used to seeing when sending email. Now directly from your inbox you can write your reply, adjust formatting, add an attachment, and send your response, all without opening a new window.

Where Are My Drafts?

Based on feedback from many of you during the preview release of Outlook 2013, we added an additional feature to Quick Response that shows which mails you have started to reply to but haven’t finished. Informally (and obviously) we call it the draft indicator. When you start to reply to a message, we add the keyword [Draft] to messages or conversations in the message list. The draft tag sticks around until you send your response or discard it.

The draft indicator makes it easy for you to see which messages you still need to act on without switching to your drafts folder or looking around for open reply windows. When you click on a conversation that shows the indicator, we’ll automatically bring you back to the mail you were composing so you can pick up where you left off.

How Quick Is My Quick Response

As part of building the Quick Response feature, we knew we couldn’t provide all the same features that are available in the compose window because of limited space for all of those commands in the inbox. To figure out which commands should be available with Quick Response, we used data from the Customer Experience Improvement Program which lets us understand which commands are used the most when replying or forwarding email. With that information, we were able to build a special Message ribbon tab with the commands people need the most when responding:

Occasionally you may decide that what you are writing isn’t a quick response, but rather something you want to compose full screen or perhaps you need to use a command that isn’t in the Message tab. No problem, just click the Pop Out button above the Quick Response area, and Outlook takes everything you’ve written and migrates it over to a new reply window:

Now you have the full set of features provided by our Word 2013 powered compose experience just a button click away. While we wanted to make it easy to get back here, we collected data during the preview release that most responses are now composed in Quick Response. The feedback from our beta testers also overwhelmingly agrees: Quick Response in Outlook 2013 lets you be more efficient and work smarter for most email responses!

I’m excited for everyone to have a chance to try out Quick Response and be more efficient in using their email!

–Ryan Gregg, Outlook Program Manager

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8 comments
  1. Quick response is available in the preview version? Cant find it

    • Can’t find it too… Would like to know is it available?

  2. One feature that is missing that I think is crucial in our current time is something that the Thunderbird client is using and that is an attachment converter. Thunderbird calls it filelink. Basically, if you send huge attachments, we all know that some email systems do not allow this. With an attachment converter, you can link to your dropbox or skydrive or box accounts and when you send a message bigger than the threshold you set (say 5mb), it automatically uploads the file to your cloud storage and converts the attachment in the email to a link to that file. The person on the receiving end just has to click the link to get the file.

    I know that add-ins can be created for Outlook but I think that this should be standard.

  3. How do I turn it off so I don’t have to make that extra click every time?

  4. IS THIS A BUG???

    Whenever I’m using the quick response in Outlook 2013 and I need to delete a letter in my text I hit the delete key (not backspace) and it deletes the source email and my quick response disappears with it. I then have to go into my deleted items and restore it.

    It seems like a massive design flaw that Outlook doesn’t know that I’m typing in the quick response window and deletes the original email. Has this been overlooked or could it be a local fault that I’m seeing on just my installation??

    Other than that – i love the feature!

  5. I kind of like it, but it’s flawed.

    – If I paste in some kind of attachment (e.g. Word) in a quick reply, and then edit that attachment. And if I walk away from the current e-mail message I’m writing, I get an old prompt ‘You’ve got a file open, please close before you walk away". And then normally I can’t save that file into that message anymore.
    – If I have a defer by 1 minute rule for all my sent out mail, if I send a quick reply out, it goes into outboox, but if I then walk away from the quick reply message, and click back onto a quick reply message again, Outlook thinks that I want to edit it again, and prevents it from sending — so I had multiple messages forgotten to be sent in Outbox. It should be prohibited to click on a message in Inbox again to stop it, if I want to edit it then, please force me to doubleclick it, or go to outbox instead.

  6. This feature is another indication of the software engineering genius at work in the Outlook Team. Great job guys and gals!!! It’s so much more dear I say "relaxing" to use Outlook 2013. I’m looking forward to the general availability.

  7. I’m on final release and draft indicator is not working for me. Does something need to be enabled?

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