Reply and keep original attachments

Reply with Attachments buttonWhen you reply to an email in Outlook, the original emails are not included. This is because it is assumed that the original sender still has access to the original attachments.

There are however various valid scenarios in which it makes sense to keep the attachments. A common request for this is for longer mail threads where Reply All is being used and where new people are being added.

Although there are various workarounds available, having this option integrated in Outlook is more efficient.

This guide contains the following integrated solutions;


VBA macro 1: Integrated with the standard Reply and Reply All commands

Visual Basic buttonThis first VBA macro is an all-in-one macro which does the following;

  • When pressing the standard Reply or Reply All button, it will detect whether the message you are replying to has any attachments. When it does, it will prompt you whether to add them or not.
  • You can configure the macro to skip this prompt and always add the original attachments. You can configure this independently for the Reply and Reply All commands.
  • Optionally, you can add dedicated commands for “Reply with Attachments” and “Reply All with Attachments”. If this is the only thing that you need, it is recommended to use the second macro instead.

Reply with Attachment prompt.
Easily choose to keep your attachments when replying.

Quick Install

Use the following instructions to configure the macro in Outlook;

  1. Download this code-file (replywithattachments.zip) and copy the code from the ReplyWithAttachments.txt file or copy the code below.
  2. Open the VBA Editor (keyboard shortcut ALT+F11)
  3. Paste the copied code in the ThisOutlookSession module.
  4. Sign your code so you won’t get any security prompts and the macro won’t get disabled.
  5. Restart Outlook to activate the macro as it relies on Event Handlers.
  6. Optionally; Add buttons to create dedicated “Reply with Attachments” and “Reply All with Attachments” commands as well.

ThisOutlookSession module in the VBA Editor.
ThisOutlookSession module in the VBA Editor.

Macro Code

The following code is contained in the zip-file referenced in the Quick Install. You can use the code below for review or manual installation.

'===============================================================================
'Description: Outlook macro to include the original attachments when replying.
'
' author : Robert Sparnaaij
' version: 1.0
' website: https://www.howto-outlook.com/howto/reply-with-attachments.htm
'===============================================================================

Public WithEvents objInspectors As Outlook.Inspectors
Public WithEvents myOlExp As Outlook.Explorer
Public WithEvents myItem As Outlook.MailItem
Private DisableEvents As Boolean
 
Private Sub Application_Startup()
    Initialize_handler
End Sub

Public Sub Initialize_handler()
    Set objInspectors = Application.Inspectors
    Set myOlExp = Application.ActiveExplorer
    DisableEvents = False
End Sub

Private Sub objInspectors_NewInspector(ByVal Inspector As Inspector)
    Dim objApp As Outlook.Application
    Set objApp = Application

    On Error Resume Next
    Select Case TypeName(objApp.ActiveWindow)
        Case "Explorer"
            Set myItem = objApp.ActiveExplorer.Selection.Item(1)
        Case "Inspector"
            Set myItem = objApp.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
    End Select
     
    Set objApp = Nothing
End Sub

Private Sub myOlExp_SelectionChange()
   On Error Resume Next
   Set myItem = myOlExp.Selection.Item(1)
End Sub
 
Private Sub myItem_Reply(ByVal Response As Object, Cancel As Boolean)
    
    Call AddOriginalAttachmentsPrompt(Response, True)

End Sub

Private Sub myItem_ReplyAll(ByVal Response As Object, Cancel As Boolean)
    
    Call AddOriginalAttachmentsPrompt(Response, True)

End Sub

Public Sub AddOriginalAttachmentsPrompt(ByVal Response As Object, Prompt As Boolean)
    If myItem.Attachments.Count > 0 And DisableEvents = False Then
    
        If Prompt = True Then
            strPrompt = "The original email has attachments." & _
                        vbNewLine & "Do you want to include these in your reply?"
            Result = MsgBox(strPrompt, vbQuestion + vbYesNo + vbDefaultButton1, _
                            "Reply with Attachments")
        Else
            Result = vbYes
        End If

        If Result = vbYes Then
            Call AddOriginalAttachments(Response)
        End If

    End If
End Sub
Public Sub AddOriginalAttachments(ByVal Response As Object)
    Set myAttachments = Response.Attachments
    
    Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    Set fldTemp = fso.GetSpecialFolder(2) ' User Temp Folder
    strPath = fldTemp.Path & "\"
    
    For Each Attachment In myItem.Attachments
        strFile = strPath & Attachment.FileName
        Attachment.SaveAsFile strFile
        myAttachments.Add strFile, , , Attachment.DisplayName
        fso.DeleteFile strFile
    Next
    
    Set fldTemp = Nothing
    Set fso = Nothing
    Set myAttachments = Nothing
End Sub

Sub ReplyWithAttachments()
    
    DisableEvents = True
    Set myReply = myItem.Reply
    Call AddOriginalAttachments(myReply)
    myReply.Display
    myItem.UnRead = False
    DisableEvents = False
    Set myReply = Nothing

End Sub

Sub ReplyAllWithAttachments()
    
    DisableEvents = True
    Set myReply = myItem.ReplyAll
    Call AddOriginalAttachments(myReply)
    myReply.Display
    myItem.UnRead = False
    DisableEvents = False
    Set myReply = Nothing

End Sub

Modifications

How? buttonThe macro allows for some modifications that are easy to implement.

As the entire macro code is relatively long, it is best to use the search feature. No matter whether you are looking at this code in your Internet Browser, Notepad or the VBA Editor in Outlook, pressing CTRL+F will open the search dialog.

Modification 1: Making “No” the default

To make “No” the default in the prompt look for;

vbQuestion + vbYesNo + vbDefaultButton1,

and change it into;

vbQuestion + vbYesNo,

Modification 2: Disable the prompt

To disable the prompt completely and always attach the original attachments, look for;

Call AddOriginalAttachmentsPrompt(Response, True)

and change it into;

Call AddOriginalAttachmentsPrompt(Response, False)

VBA macro 2: Separate Reply / Reply All with Attachments commands

Visual Basic buttonIn case you don’t need to have it integrated with the default Reply and Reply All commands of Outlook, then you can use the VBA macro below.

This VBA macro code is less complicated and is easier to implement when you already have other code and custom events in your ThisOutlookSession module.

Quick Install

Use the following instructions to configure the macro in Outlook;

  1. Download this code-file (replywithattachments.zip) and or copy the code below.
  2. Open the VBA Editor (keyboard shortcut ALT+F11)
  3. Extract the zip-file and import the ReplyWithAttachments.bas file via File-> Import…
    If you copied the code, paste it into a new module.
  4. Sign your code so you won’t get any security prompts and the macro won’t get disabled.
  5. Add a button for easy access to the macro or press ALT+F8 and select the macro you want to execute.

You can place a "Reply with Attachments" button to your Quick Access Toolbar for easy access to the macro.
Add a button of the macro to the QAT or Ribbon for quick access to it.

Macro Code

The following code is contained in the zip-file referenced in the Quick Install. You can use the code below for review or manual installation.

Sub ReplyWithAttachments()
    ReplyAndAttach (False)
End Sub

Sub ReplyAllWithAttachments()
    ReplyAndAttach (True)
End Sub

Function GetCurrentItem() As Object
    Dim objApp As Outlook.Application
         
    Set objApp = Application
    On Error Resume Next
    Select Case TypeName(objApp.ActiveWindow)
        Case "Explorer"
            Set GetCurrentItem = objApp.ActiveExplorer.Selection.Item(1)
        Case "Inspector"
            Set GetCurrentItem = objApp.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
    End Select
     
    Set objApp = Nothing
End Function

Public Sub AddOriginalAttachments(ByVal myItem As Object, ByVal myResponse As Object)
    Set MyAttachments = myResponse.Attachments
    
    Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    Set fldTemp = fso.GetSpecialFolder(2) ' User Temp Folder
    strPath = fldTemp.Path & "\"
    
    For Each Attachment In myItem.Attachments
        strFile = strPath & Attachment.FileName
        Attachment.SaveAsFile strFile
        MyAttachments.Add strFile, , , Attachment.DisplayName
        fso.DeleteFile strFile
    Next
    
    Set fldTemp = Nothing
    Set fso = Nothing
    Set MyAttachments = Nothing
End Sub

Public Sub ReplyAndAttach(ByVal ReplyAll As Boolean)
    Dim myItem As Outlook.MailItem
    Dim oReply As Outlook.MailItem
     
    Set myItem = GetCurrentItem()
    If Not myItem Is Nothing Then
    
        If ReplyAll = False Then
            Set oReply = myItem.Reply
        Else
            Set oReply = myItem.ReplyAll
        End If
        
        AddOriginalAttachments myItem, oReply
        oReply.Display
        myItem.UnRead = False
    End If
     
    Set oReply = Nothing
    Set myItem = Nothing
End Sub

Add-in: ReplyWithAtt by IvaSoft

Add-Ins buttonAnother approach would be to do this via an add-in.

ReplyWithAtt by IvaSoft integrates with the default Reply and Reply All commands of Outlook and changes their behavior to also include the original attachment(s).

Because of this, the add-in is super-simple to operate. There are no visual changes and nothing needs to be configured once it is installed; It works straight out-of-the box!