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How messages look in the Message pane is, to a limited extent, configurable. To changes the settings, go to Thunderbird's menu and select Tools, Options.
In the Options window, click the Display button on the left. In the Message Display section (on the right) are settings for both plain-text messages and HTML messages. You'll also see settings to control the colors for labeled messages; these were described in Chapter 11, "Organizing Email with Thunderbird."
Plain-text messages have a few more formatting options than HTML messages. For a plain-text message, you can choose to wrap long lines so the message fits the window width without scrolling. You can also choose to display emoticons as graphics.
Another setting is whether to use a fixed width font, such as Courier New, or a variable width font, such as Times New Roman.
Message replies often contain quoted text from the original message. The convention is to annotate a quoted line by setting the first character to a greater than sign (>). This quoting can be nested many levels deep, and email etiquette says you should limit quoting to only necessary material.
Quoted portions can be made bold, italic, bold and italic, or regular text. As well, you can set the size to be regular, bigger, or smaller. A final option lets you set the quoted text's color the default is a medium gray.
Generally, HTML messages contain all the formatting as part of the message. However, both the default text color and the default background color can be customized.
Whenever no text color is specified, you can choose to have that text displayed in the color of your choice. The color chosen should contrast well with as many backgrounds as possible; otherwise, the message can be difficult or impossible to read.
When a message has no specified background color, you can specify a background color. Recommendations here are that the color should be light, such as a light gray or light yellow, rather than dark to give good contrast with text that is usually in a darker color or black.
Windows XP/2000 uses an environment variable to hold the location of many of the user-specific files. This variable is %appdata%, and the value is set when the user logs on. This variable can be viewed in a command prompt, although it should never be changed by the user. In virtually any place that a filename and folder are requested, you can insert %appdata%. If you do so, the folder to which %appdata% points is opened. This functionality is available in most applications' Open and Save dialog boxes, as well. The default for %appdata% in most installations is C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data.
You can also use %appdata% in a shortcut's Properties dialog box for Target and Start In.
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