Sperry Business Bundle review
Outlook handles signature reuse well, but when it comes to setting up text templates it gets more difficult. Step forward Quick Templates from MAPILab with its write-once, use-often approach. A Quick Templates button is added to the message-editing ribbon, making adding a template as simple as highlighting the text and hitting the Add button. All text parameters and formatting are retained whether you paste into a plain text, RTF or HTML message. After a short time, this add-in becomes invaluable, and we’re surprised Microsoft hasn’t thought of it.
What Microsoft did think of was improving calendar print handling. The Calendar Printing Assistant for Outlook 2007 brings the control missing from Outlook itself. Freeing you from the constraints of the boring default views, it adds numerous templates covering the most often-requested printing options, including multiple calendars in the one view and a full month with free/busy rows. Split into day, week, month and year views, there are enough templates to keep everyone happy. There are also tools to customise the use of fonts, colours and images. Unfortunately, it runs in its own window rather than integrating with the calendar print options, but it does automatically drag all your calendar data into the previews and, as it’s free of charge, that’s a small price to pay.
OutBack Plus 6 is neither free nor a true add-in, but adds a backup facility for Outlook 2007 over and above any general system backup you may already have. Obviously, this is aimed more at those users who don’t have a backup routine, but the fact it concentrates on Outlook, backing up message data through to signatures, stationery, rules and account details, shouldn’t be underestimated. In fact, it goes further than Outlook, as it also handles backups of your documents, IE Favorites and Firefox browser data, and works fine under Vista. You can’t create backups while Outlook is running, though, unless you pay the same price again for an Open File Manager module. AES encryption and compression options are included, though, scheduling is more than adequate and the ability to restore to a different machine is welcome.
Welcome is a word you also can apply to Sperry’s Business Bundle, which brings together five of the prolific developer’s most popular products. Designed specifically with the small office user in mind, the bundle includes several useful components, including tools for scheduling recurring email, attaching a folder’s present contents to an outgoing mail and a hugely useful auto print tool to print messages to your configuration. There’s also an “always BCC” tool and a “watch Outlook folders” option that handily works with any Exchange public folder to report changes.
But if you suffer from spam in any volume, the most useful of add-ins will be InBoxer – the latest version of which is fully Vista and Outlook 2007 friendly. It integrates with the host application, taking over from the default junk filtering and doing a much-improved job. It doesn’t rely on rules, lists, challenges or community voting, but instead goes back to sophisticated language analysis: looking for the language of spam. Installation processes your existing messages, and amazingly there were no false positives in the review folder afterwards (from a total of 10,000 messages processed), while 96% of spam was correctly trapped. We love the simple three-button block/keep/trust approach and the new review folder, which houses messages that InBoxer isn’t 100% sure about. After a week of use, it was trapping 98.8% of spam, including most image spam.