Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wrting Better Emails: #4 Attachments, Forwards and Other Extras

#4 Attachments, Forwards and Other Extras

Outlook and other desktop e-mail programs come with the ability to add borders, backgrounds, and other enhancements to e-mails. These don’t always show up correctly in other e-mail programs or may be added on as an attached file. Use them sparingly, if at all.

You can add a signature file to an e-mail. This is usually some text that you have selected that is part of e-mail you send. It usually includes your contact information or a pithy quote. These are helpful for letting the person know how to contact you. Sometimes quotes and information included in signature files can unintentionally offend the recipient. Make sure to consider this before including the signature file in your email.

Never send an attachment to someone you don’t know the first time you send a message unless it is required, like for a job posting. They might think it is a virus or spam and delete your message.

Avoid sending unnecessarily large files. Learn how to resize photos or documents before you send them or send them a link to where the files are posted. For example, if you have an online storage account that allows you to share files with others (e.g. Flickr for photos or Google Docs for documents), send them a link so they can choose if they wish to download the file.

If you have to send large files, make sure to send a note first saying what you are sending and why. Make sure you have up to date anti-virus software installed that scans ingoing / outgoing messages.

Don’t send virus warnings, chain letters to others without checking out if they contain reliable information first. A simple web search or sites like will help you figure which are useful and which are junk.
If you forward e-mails, most e-mail programs will put a symbol (>>>>) in the text to indicate the content from the previous e-mail.  Use the find and replace feature to get rid of these symbols.

Send no more than two attachments at a time and give the file a name that makes sense. In other words, don’t use PN345.jpg to send a picture from your camera. Change the file name to something descriptive—Basketballgame1.jpg for instance.

Next: #5 And the rest...

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