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Use Split while replying to long mails

Outlook Split

When you receive a long mail, you need to respond to it in detail.
We waste lot of time scrolling up and down to see the content and then reply to it. The solution is to use the SPLIT feature. Read on to find out how to do it using Outlook …

The Need

We receive long mails quite often. You need to reply to all the specific points, issues, recommendations in the original mail. How do we actually go about managing this process?

Inline Replies

This is a common method. But it can get cluttered with your inline replies. Formatting of your inline reply may not always be different – and you may end up time formatting each sentence you write to make it look visually distinct from the original mail.

Other option is to scroll

Here is another method of doing it.

  • Click on Reply
  • Read the original mail and type response to first few paragraphs which are already visible
  • Scroll down to the next points / bullets / paragraphs
  • Read the next items
  • Scroll up to the area just below your current reply
  • Type your reply
  • Repeat steps 2 to 6 many times
  • Obviously, this is inefficient. Here is a much more convenient and elegant way.

    The Solution: Split the screen

    Remember that Outlook uses Word for editing mails. Probably all of us already know this fact. But what we don’t realize is that ALL the features of Word are not visible while editing a mail in Outlook.

    Word has a feature called Split which gives you two windows one below another. You can zoom and scroll both parts independently. Unfortunately, the SPLIT button is not available on the Mail reply Ribbon (menu).

    Add the SPLIT command to QAT

    Open any long mail and click Reply. The Reply window will open. Now we need to add the SPLIT button to the QAT of this window.

    QAT means Quick Access Toolbar – the few small buttons available near above the File menu in Office products. Here we can see the default QAT buttons for Outlook mail editing ribbon – First one is the Mail logo – it is not a button. Then we have Save, Undo, Redo, Next, Previous and Touch Mode (only if you are using a touch tablet).


    Right click on any of these buttons and choose Customize Quick Access Toolbar.


    A large window will open. It shows two lists. The list on the right side shows commands which are already available on the QAT. The list on the left side shows commands which are available. By default it shows Popular Commands – but in this case, the command is by no means popular!


    Therefore, open the Choose commands from dropdown and choose All Commands.
    Now type the character S. The list will scroll to the beginning of all commands starting with letter S. DO NOT try to type SPLIT because this list is not searchable incrementally. If you type SPLIT, it will show commands starting with T because that was the last character you used!

    Now click on the first command starting with S inside the list. Use Page Down key or scroll down to find the Split command and click on the Add button.


    Click OK to close the dialog. Now you can see the Split button added to QAT.


    Click that button to split the mail reply window. It will split it horizontally and allocate half the space for each part of the split.


    The upper half is editable. The lower half is READ ONLY – you cannot edit it.

    Scroll the window at the bottom to position it in the area which requires your response. You can Zoom In or Out as required.

    Now click in the upper part of the window, go to the beginning (if you are already not at the beginning) and start typing your reply.

    Click on the bottom part, scroll down, read the context and continue typing the reply in the upper part.

    The split allocates equal space to upper and lower parts. However, you can drag the split bar up or down to adjust the space available for your reply and the rest of the mail content.

    When you finish typing, click on the Split button again to remove the split.
    Alternatively, you can DOUBLE CLICK on the splitter to close it.

    Benefits of this approach

    1. This method very convenient
    2. It saves time
    3. It helps you focus on the content rather than the navigation.

    Try it now and share it with your colleagues. Enjoy.

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2 Responses

  1. Bro tried to add that SPLIT function but it is not found in the ALL COMMANDS section…
    Running Office Pro 2010. Is believe it was already available since version 2003 or beyond. I am quite baffled now why it is not showing up in my list… Any ideas?

    1. By the way, great tip! I get very long emails these days… so it is very, very helpful… you may want to do one on Document View bro… so many people STILL don’t know how to use it effectively!

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