Error Proofing Email Attachments

Dan Evans’ VBA Scripts – Outlook Attachment Checker etc

LifeHacker Post

Have you ever composed an email, meaning to attach a file, even saying something like “see the attached file…” and then you forget to actually attach the file?

I do this all the time. I could put a post it note on my laptop that says “BE CAREFUL: Do not forget to attach attachments,” but warning signs are not effective error proofing.

Thankfully, there are software methods available for error proofing this, with Outlook or other email clients.

The first link, up top, is a Visual Basic script that you can install on your Outlook software. I’ve tried it and it works just fine. The second link, from LifeHacker, has other software error-proofing methods as well as some process methods for error proofing, including:

Type “attachment” where the @ sign should be in the recipient box. Delete it after you’ve put the attachment(SsSsS) on.

Process based error proofing can work, but you have to be disciplined to follow the process. For me, I’m glad I have the script installed!!

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Anonymous says

    How’s this for a simple solution: Attach the file IMMEDIATELY before you write your message, this way you won’t get distracted and forget.

  2. Mark Graban says

    That would work. That’s an example of error proofing through standard work. It works if you’re disciplined enough to do that every time.

    I try to attach the file as soon as I think of it, but still mess up. Evidence that good intentions and being careful aren’t always enough.

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