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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 9: Script and Automate Repetitive Replies

Level Medium

Platform Windows, Mac OS X, Unix (Thunderbird)

Cost Free

Is there an echo in your Sent email folder? Do you consistently receive messages that ask the same questions or require the same type of information in response? To knock down repetitive email quickly, build a set of scripted email responses that you can drop into emails quickly, personalize if necessary, and send off without spending the time composing the same information every time. With a set of trusty scripted templates, you can whip through tedious, recurring email like an expert air-traffic controller in the busy airport of your inbox.

The Quicktext Thunderbird extension saves collections of reusable text snippets that help you compose personalized replies to those tiresome email messages with a few keystrokes.

NOTE If Thunderbird isn’t your preferred email client, you still have several automated-reply options. Die-hard Gmail users should check out the Canned Responses feature in Gmail Labs, which is similar to (but slightly less powerful than) Quicktext. Or for more on using text substitution to speed up all your repetitive typing, email-related or not, see Hacks 52 and 53, “Reduce Repetitive Typing with Texter for Windows” and “Reduce Repetitive Typing with TextExpander for Mac.”

Make Quick Work of Common Replies

In contrast to other text saver utilities, Quicktext is specific to email because it recognizes variables that reference message details — such ...

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