How to redirect a reply in Outlook

Say you’re the chair for a bar association program, so you’re sending out personalized email invitations to your fellow members.  However, your assistant is handling the RSVPs.  How do you send your email so that (a) your assistant gets the RSVPs (not you) and (b) recipients don’t accidentally reply to the entire list and cause everyone’s inbox to melt down?

Solve the RSVP problem. Not many Microsoft Outlook users know this, but it is possible to specify a different “reply to” address than your own.  This little trick is under Options within the New Email window for all versions:

Outlook - Direct Replies To field in Options dialog box

Solve the “reply to all” problem. Caveat: Outlook’s really not a good choice for sending out mass emails, because emails with more than a few recipients tend to get caught in spam filters unless you’re using email marketing software/services like AWeber, Mail Chimp, or 1ShoppingCart.

But if Outlook’s all you’ve got, then make the most of it.  Drop your mailing list into the BCC section of the header (you may have to go to the View menu to toggle it on so it’s visible).  That way, even if someone hits the Reply All button (hey, it happens), they won’t inundate the entire list with the reply because they’re basically locked out of the list, since they can’t view it.  (This also has the benefit of hiding everyone’s email address from everyone else, something frequent spam recipients on your list will appreciate.)

Remember: people don’t read carefully, particularly online, so your “if you’re interested, please email my assistant at …” instruction will probably go unheeded.  Use the above techniques to make sure that, even if they don’t follow instructions, they reply to the right person anyway!

About the Author

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.


“This little trick is under Options within the New Email window for all versions:” except I can’t seem to find this dialogue window – can you post the exact path perhaps..

    Deborah Savadra

    In the Ribbon versions (2007 and 2010), go to the Options tab on a new mail message, then click the drop-down arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the More Options section of that tab (on the right end of the ribbon). The first field on the Delivery Options section on the dialog box is Have Replies Sent to. Click Select Names to pick the names of the additional recipients you want any replies to go to.

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