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Quickly send copied text and files by pasting

Who doesn’t like to copy and paste to get something done quicker? In Outlook, you can even paste something faster than you may think.

This is another one of my favorite “hidden features” in Outlook which allows you to send copied text or files without first creating a new message.

The trick is really simple and it will sure raise some eyebrows from people not familiar with it and who doesn’t like to do that every now and then? ;-)

Paste & Send buttonFirst, copy some text or files from any application (it can be Outlook but it doesn’t have to be) by selecting it and pressing CTRL+C. Now go to Outlook and press CTRL+V.

You’ll find that Outlook immediately creates a new message with the copied text in the message body or the copied files as attachments.

When do I use this?

When to use? buttonThis method is great to quickly forward only a portion of another message, document or website that you are reading.

I sometimes also use it instead of the “right click-> Send to-> Mail recipient” method as it won’t create a Simple MAPI message with the default warning text and functionality limitations you’d have to deal with otherwise; It creates an actual new message with HTML support, your default signature and all other Outlook features available.

If you use this in any other folder than a mail folder, then it will create a new item for that folder instead. So if you were to paste the text into a Tasks folder it will create a new task and if you were to paste it the Calendar folder it would create a new appointment, etc…

I also use this to quickly create a task for a document that I’m working on. Pasting the file in the Tasks folder will create a new task with a hyperlink to the file instead of attaching the file, allowing me to easily open the file again when the reminder fires to continue to work on it.

Behavior & Limitations buttonBehavior and limitations

There are some things to note about this method though;

  • It does not work when you are in a Search Folder.
  • It does not work when your cursor is in the Reading Pane.
    Select a message or press SHIFT+TAB first to get the focus on a message before pressing CTRL+V.
    Pressing TAB will put focus on the To-Do Bar in Outlook 2007 and 2010 and will create a new Appointment instead.
  • It does not work when your selection is in the To-Do List.
  • Pasting a single file will put the name of the file as the subject, pasting multiple files will leave the subject blank.
  • Pasting one or more files into any folder other than a mail folder will create hyperlinks to those files instead of attaching those files.
  • Pasting one or more files in the Notes folder will paste the full path to the file(s) in a new note.
  • Pasting 5 items or more will display a warning that creating a new item could take some time.

Important! There is a bug in Outlook with displaying the warning as it will first load all the files into your mailbox (pst-file or ost-file) before displaying the warning. By the time it displays the warning, there is no more use for it.

So if you are thinking about building a file list by pasting it into a Note, it will first increase the size of your mailbox with the combined size of your selected files. This might be ok when the combined size is somewhere up to 25MB but could cause a serious issue when you decide to past 2GB worth of files and expect it to only paste the paths.

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