SmartAdvocate and Outlook - Partners in Productivity

SmartAdvocate’s ability to interface with Outlook, Microsoft’s eminent personal information manager, provides users with substantial time and keystroke saving abilities.

Take for instance the everyday occurrence of correlating and filing incoming emails, including those with attachments, to case files. Instead of using the usual, slow and timeworn method of copying, cutting and pasting, SmartAdvocate modernizes, streamlines and simplifies the process through the use of an add-in tool.  Add-ins are small helper programs that extend the capabilities of larger programs by adding some new or increased functionality.  In this case the add-in implements and facilitates the exchange of information between Outlook and SmartAdvocate enabling users to attach emails and documents directly to a case file – without ever having to leave Outlook.  Here’s how it’s done.

On the Mail Screen of Outlook, right clicking any email in the messages pane opens up the usual and expected pop-up context menu.  But at the very bottom of the menu, the very last item in fact, you will find an additional option to “Attach to SmartAdvocate”.  This is the timesaver.

Left click on it and the “Attach to SmartAdvocate” panel opens where the connection between SmartAdvocate and Outlook will be made.

If the subject line of the email includes the SmartAdvocate case file number preceded by the text “Case #” or “File #” and if the email originates from SmartAdvocate’s resident email editor, the file number will already be entered for you in the panel.  Otherwise you will need to provide it.

Should you know your case number, you can enter it directly into the text box, or if you don’t already know the case number, you can enlist the help of SmartAdvocate in finding it.  Situated below the text box are four tabs labeled “Last Accessed Cases,” “My Cases,” “Sender’s Cases” and “All Cases.” Depending on the tab chosen you can view the last twenty cases accessed, all of the cases assigned to you as a user, a listing of cases that are associated by SmartAdvocate with the email’s sender or a listing of all of the firm’s cases, either open or both open and closed.

The point here is to identify for SmartAdvocate which file your email and/or attachments need to be associated with.  Once that’s done you complete the panel by providing additional identifying information using the “Category,” “Sub-Category “From,” and “To” drop down boxes.  Clicking on the “Attach” or “Attach and Close” button completes the attachment and closes the panel leaving you on the very same Outlook screen where you began.  In fact Outlook was never closed or even minimized and you are ready to go on to the next email.

By default if you are processing an email with attachments, the email and attachments are associated separately.  Specifically one document will be created for the email with a second one created for the attachment.  Any additional attachments will be added as additional documents by the system.

Should you want to associate an email with its corresponding attachment or attachments as a single document, you only need to choose “Email with attachments as one file” in the Options area of the panel.

Alternatively, if you are only associating an attachment without its corresponding email, you can click on the attachment itself after opening the email which will bring you to the now familiar “Attach to SmartAdvocate” panel.

Closing the panel completes the process and your email, email with an attachment or attachment are created as new documents in the documents section of SmartAdvocate, accessible through the Case Screen Navigation Panel and available for all users to peruse.

Finally, here’s a handy tip for those who routinely send files to be attached to SmartAdvocate. Include the text “Case #” or File # in the subject section of the email followed by the SmartAdvocate file number. When the “Attach to SmartAdvocate panel” is opened the file number will already be filled in and the entire contents of the “Subject” email header will be reproduced in the description text box.  Your recipients will appreciate the help.

And help is what SmartAdvocate excels in, helping users increase their productivity by working smarter, not harder.