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Sending Polls in Outlook 2007

Collecting responses from a group of people is something very common in an office environment. Whether you are trying to ask what type of pizza to order for a meeting, or taking a vote on who’s going to quit next, what you need is a poll.

What you might not realize is that if you are using Outlook 2007 and Exchange at work, you’ve got everything you need to send out a poll through email.

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Compose a new email in Outlook, click the Options tab and select Use Voting Buttons.  Here you can choose the defaults or create your own answers to the poll question.

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If you select Custom just type in the answers you want to appear in the Use voting buttons field, separated by a semicolon.

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Now you have the custom answers listed.  That is all there is to it!  Now send off your message.

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When the recipient opens the email there will be a message advising them to respond by using the vote button which includes the custom responses.

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After the recipient has made their choice a box will pop up verifying the poll response and an option to add additional information in the email.

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When they respond you will have a flag on the email advising they have answered the poll … similar to a read receipt.

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To view the totals of the poll, you can open up the original message in your sent message folder, and then click on the Tracking button. You’ll see a list of totals underneath the ribbon, and then a list below that of all the responses.

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I can imagine plenty of possibilities for this feature in the office.  What types of polls do you think would come in useful where you work?

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/10/07

Comments (18)

  1. AL

    The problem with the Outlook polls is that they’re not very obvious (i.e., hidden above the message in a dropdown bar that doesn’t even look like it’s clickable). We had a poll running in our office last week and although I specifically said to use the voting buttons, we had a lot of ‘OK’ replies from people who didn’t get the voting thing. I think Outlook should make the buttons more obvious and not hide them behind a one click.

  2. mysticgeek

    AL I totally agree with you on the look and feel of this option. I am looking into a way to improve the UI with this. I am sure all of our reader will have great ideas for this also!

  3. Peter

    This can be done exactly the same way in Outlook 2003 (it’s not a new feature of 2007).

  4. Nagesh

    Good article…but we need to analyze if we can disable Reply button when somebody receives a Poll. This will avoid people responding to the poll with a reply. I do think that it is possible with scripting.. but do not have time to dig in..

  5. Arvind

    This does not seem to work when sending email across different exchange servers. I sent an email through my employer’s exchange server with Voting options to my client (reciepient on the client’s exchange server). Both me & my client use Outlook 2007, but he is not able to see the Voting buttons. The same happens when the client sends email with Voting buttons to me.

  6. GG

    This does not work when sending email across exchange server. I sent an email through exchange server with Voting options (change to rich text format or not)and reciepient is on the same exchange 2003 server. I tried both Outlook 2007 to 2007 and Outlook 2003 to 2003, but i am not able to see the Voting buttons. I can see them when I view sent itoms, but receipient can not see voting buttons at all. Are the any setting in outlook or exchange server that we can change so it will work?

  7. Rafael Sisto

    Very nice article, just read it :-)
    Is there a way to vote from OWA 2007? If there is, I’m not finding it..

    Greetings!

  8. Lili

    Is it possible to use voting options via a calendar invitation instead of thru an email message?

  9. Tricky Trixie

    I have the same question as Lili.

    I’d like to know how or if it is possible to poll in a calendar invitation. I’m not very geeky but am a great learner.

    I also wonder how to do a headcount in a calendar invitation instead of manually counting on the screen.

  10. Michael

    I played around with this and have a question: what happens when people vote more than once? They might do this because they changed their mond – or clicked the wrong option.

    I experimented with this by setting up a poll that asked “What’s your favorite animal?” I used the Custom option and made about 7-8 choices (cat, dog, hampster, etc.)

    A colleauge of mine reply to the poll over and over again and made a new selection each time. When I checked the tracker results – it shows only the result of his SECOND vote.

    DO I correctly interpret this to mean the Outlook will allow you change your vote ONCE – but only once and after that, your selections won’t count?

    Any thoughts? Thanks!

  11. Karen

    I have a question:
    I’m have outlook 2007, my employees have outlook 2003. When I send a vote to them, they don’t get the voting bar. Are these not compatible?

  12. Ben

    Would be really useful if you could include polls with meeting requests, so you could book a team meal out, and include the poll, i.e. for where to go, or what pizza topping to order, like above, and it would show up in the meeting request, rather than having to send a separate email message with the poll!

  13. Kathy

    I sent out 24 totally seperate mail, I sent the all the same with used the polling options. Out of all of the emails only one allows me to put up and use the voting tracking. I get and email that states if they aprroved or if they had changes, but I should be able to just pull up the tracking to minimize paperwork. Any ideas

  14. Veronica

    Is it possible to have voting buttons in a meeting notice? (Not an email message)

    Thank you, Veronica

  15. crystal

    Hi,
    I sent across to my team but no voting appeard on mails. what should be done?

  16. Leslie

    We just switched from Lotus Notes to Outlook & we love it! However, Lotus Notes has the advantage with the buttons. You can name them yourself, they show up on the email, and you aren’t stuck with just one answer. I’m disappointed that Outlook is lacking in that area.

  17. Adrienne

    I am trying to use the voting buttons to streamline a multi-level approval process. I know that there is the ability to have responses go to someone else, but i need this to happen several times. If I send out the proposal to be approved, I need the response from the manager to go to the director, the director’s response to go to the VP, and the VP’s response to come back to me. Any ideas?

  18. Laura

    Is there a way to permanently customize the Voting button? I send out Voting several times a day every day with the same custom vote but have to customize each time. Thanks for any help! Laura

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