A reader asks:
I often want to print just the first page of an email that has gone back and forward to a single person multiple times. When I ask to print an email from Outlook, sometimes it comes up with a Print panel that includes Table style, Email style etc and doesn't allow you to select the page number. You can only select Odd, Even or All pages. Other times it comes up with the correct panel that I want to use that lets me select just page 1. Is there any way of configuring Outlook so that it only comes up with the second 'generic' print panel? Clearly Microsoft don't understand how users want to use their products!
Outlook 2003 and older
Outlook uses the Internet Explorer print dialog for HTML email – this is the one that gives you the option to print specific pages.
When you print a plain text message Outlook uses it's own printer dialog. You have three options if you need better control over the printout.
- Convert the message to HTML (open the message, select Edit, Edit message then choose Format menu and change to HTML).
- Press Forward and print using Word's print dialog.
- Print to a digital format such as the Office document image driver and then print the electronic copy to paper.
When you choose Forward, you can remove the header information and your name is not included at the top of the message, but it works best if you use the Forward defaults of forward inline and don't add quote prefixes or indent the original message.
Outlook 2007 and up
With the introduction of Word as the only email editor, the tricks that worked with older versions of Outlook no longer work. However, the print options were changed for Outlook 2007 and up, so you can select a single page. If it's not an option in Outlook 2007, make sure you have the latest updates installed.
By the way, Microsoft does understand how users want to use the product; they sometimes have a hard time implementing the features. They are getting better about understanding how we work too – thanks to the Customer Experience Improvement Programs (CEIP). When you first install Office, you'll be asked if you want to help improve Office – if you say yes data about how you work – what menus you use, the steps you use to create a document etc – is sent back to Microsoft and analyzed. While Outlook 2003 introduced changes based on CEIP data, the new toolbars in Office 12 resulted in what they learned from the CEIP data.
Published September 27, 2005. Last updated on March 6, 2014.