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Quick access to information isn't the only gain of the technology era: communication has also greatly improved. Businesses can offer products to people all over the world, and we have almost instant contact with new and old friends all over the world.
Just 10 years ago, we were asking "What's email?" Now, everyone has it, maybe even your grandmother! In this section, you'll learn about
The idea of communicating via your computer might be new to you, but the concept is simple. Think of your computer as a type of mailbox by which you can send letters and receive letters from others.
Understand the make-up and structure of an email address.
You probably have an email address, which works a lot like a Web site's URL. It directs your mail to a particular server and then on to you. All email addresses have the same structure:
In this example, individual identifies the person receiving the mail, and domain identifies the server or site domain that routes the message onto individual . The extension component is a three-letter identifier that specifies the type of site. The most common is .com for commercial. A few other extensions include .gov for government, .org for organization, and .edu for an educational institution. Much more goes on behind the scenes because those components have to be resolved to a specific computer, but for the most part, simply understanding the two components is sufficient.
Understand the advantages of email systems such as: speed of delivery, low cost, flexibility of using a Web-based email account in different locations.
Email has many advantages, most of which you don't realize until you actually start using it. Probably the biggest advantage is the almost instantaneous delivery of information. Instead of waiting for reports to make it from one side of the building to another, you can email them and everyone has the information instantly. If you had to mail those reports before, email reduces the delivery time from days, in some cases, to just seconds.
Second, consider the savings in costs. Instead of spending several dollars to mail large sets of reports and other vital information to colleagues and clients , you can email them. Yes, you have the overheard of computers, software, and online connections, but you probably incur those costs even if you don't use email.
In addition, email is flexible and available almost anywhere . All you need is a connection and you're ready to send and receive mail. It's not always easy to find a post office!
Understand the importance of network etiquette (netiquette) such as: using accurate descriptions in email message subject fields, brevity in email responses, spell checking outgoing email.
When meeting with co-workers and head honchos, you probably use professional, polite, and attentive manners. Email is no different. In fact, it's even more important to apply good manners to your email correspondence because text messages lack the face-to-face contact that convey more than words. In fact, etiquette is such a large part of online communications that these rules have become known as netiquette the manners and guidelines of cyberspace (online). The following are a few basic guidelines that you'll want to adopt:
Show online personalities the same respect you afford face-to-face contacts.
Don't use all uppercase letters. It comes across as shouting and can create hard feelings.
Treat your online communications as though they are professional documents by running spell checks and thoroughly proofing for grammar.
Consider using emoticons . They are text combinations that convey emotions, such as the following smiling or winking face, :) and ;) . They can help prevent misunderstandings. However, emoticons should be used only in informal messages. Don't use them in reports and so on.
Don't forward spam, junk mail, or chain emails that promise good luck, friendship, and so on.
At all costs, avoid flaming name -calling and hurling insults.
Email messages for business purposes should be succinct and as brief as possible.
Profane language is frowned upon.
Use descriptive subject text.
Most companies restrict email to business activities only.
Respond to business email quickly.
You can't lock up your snail mail (post office) mailbox and the same is also true with your email inbox. Expect to be bombarded with all kinds of unsolicited offers and greetings . You'll learn quickly how to discern between valid messages and junk, and the Delete key will become one of your best friends.
Be aware of the possibility of receiving unsolicited email.
Unsolicited email is just like the junk mail offers you receive through your postal mail service. There's little you can do about it, so just learn to live with it and delete them. Beyond that, follow the following guidelines to protect your system and your personal and professional business:
Don't open attachments from people you don't know or aren't expecting. They can sometimes hold viruses or other harmful items that can negatively affect your computer (more on this in the next section).
Don't respond to unsolicited emails, even to unsubscribe from their list. Most likely, there really isn't a list and responding to these emails simply verifies that your address is a valid and active address and is therefore, more valuable when soldand it will be sold!
If it's too good to be true, it is. There are tons of scam artists just waiting to separate you from your money. Be alert and never send credit card information or passwords in response to an email requesteven if the request looks legitimate. A legitimate business never requests your credit card information or passwords by email (or via a chat application).
If unsolicited email becomes a serious problem, you might want to investigate some of the many programs out there that can block some of this mail from reaching your inbox.
Be aware of the danger of infecting the computer with a virus by opening an unrecognized mail message, an attachment contained within an unrecognized mail message.
We've already discussed the dangers of infecting your system with a virus through an email message. The virus is attached to an email message, which you download. Opening the attachment (and sometimes just previewing the email) releases the virus into your system.
Don't open attachments from people you don't know or if you're not expecting an attachment. Also, invest in virus-scanning software that handles these files when encountered . (Chapter 3 discusses this type of software in-depth .)
Know what a digital signature is.
A digital signature is essentially the same to email as a digital certificate is to a Web site. You acquire a digital key from a secure authority. Then, recipients of your email can verify that you really are you when they receive your messages.
Fortunately, email clients are easy to use and have a very short learning curve.
Open (and close) an email application.
To open your email clientwe use Outlook Express in our examplesclick a shortcut icon on the Quick Launch toolbar or double-click the icon on the desktop. Alternately, choose the Email item from the Windows Start menu. (Click Start on the Windows taskbar.)
To close the email application, click the Windows Close button in the application's title bar. Or choose Exit from the File menu.
Open a mail inbox for a specified user .
Your email application downloads incoming mail into the Inbox folder (unless other rules take precedence). To access incoming mail, simply click the Inbox folder in the Folders panel, shown in Figure 8.10.
Some email applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, also let you open another user's inbox, provided that user has specified that you should be allowed to do so. In that case, you can select Other User's Folder from the Open menu and specify the Inbox as the folder to open.
Open one, several mail messages.
To open a specific email message, double-click it. Or select it and then choose Open from the File menu or press Ctrl+O. To open multiple messages at the same time, select each message while holding down the Shift or Ctrl key and then choose Open from the File menu or press Ctrl+O.
Switch between open messages.
Open messages are accessible via the message-representing icons on the Windows taskbar (refer to Figure 8.10). To switch from one message to another, simply select the appropriate icon.
Close a mail message.
To close a message, click the Windows Close button in the message window's title bar or choose Close from the File menu.
Use available Help functions.
To quickly get answers to your questions, choose Contents and Index from the Help menu. In the resulting window, you can execute a keyword or phrase search on any topic.
You can easily control the environment by changing default settings.
Add, remove message inbox headings such as: sender, subject, date received.
To change the information you see about each message in the Inbox window, select Columns from the View menu. In the resulting dialog box, shown in Figure 8.11, check the columns you want to see and uncheck those you don't want to see.
Display, hide built-in toolbars.
Outlook Express displays a default menu and toolbar; there are no additional toolbars. However, you can display the Contacts window or the Outlook and Views bars by choosing Layout from the View menu and checking the appropriate option in the Basic section.
At this point, you're ready to start using Outlook Express to read and send messages. Specifically, you'll learn how to
You'll probably spend a lot of your time reading email. You can do so in the Preview pane, or you can open the email message in its own window.
Flag a mail message. Remove a flag mark from a mail message.
When you receive an email message, you might want to mark it somehow so that you remember to review it later. To do this, you can flag it, as shown in Figure 8.12. To do so, simply click the flag column to the left of the message you want to flag. Or select the message and then choose Flag Message from the Message menu. To remove the flag, simply click the flag icon.
Mark a message as unread, read.
Outlook Express displays an unread message in bold text (refer to Figure 8.12). You can remove the bold font by selecting the message and choosing Mark As Read from the Edit menu (or choose Mark As Unread to display the bold text).
Open and save a file attachment to a location on a drive.
Email sometimes arrives with attachments (files): reports, pictures, and so on. To view an attachment, in the Preview pane, click the paper clip icon in the message header and then click the filename (refer to Figure 8.12).
To save the attachment to your local drive or a diskette, click the paper clip icon in the message header (in the Preview pane) and select Save Attachment. Select the filename in the resulting dialog box, identify the folder to which you want to save the file in the Save To control, and then click Save.
Often, you'll want to reply to an email message.
Use the reply, reply to all function.
Highlight the message that you want to reply to. Then, click Reply on the toolbar and enter your response in the subsequent window. Alternately, choose Reply to Sender from the Message menu or click Ctrl+R.
If the message was sent to other people besides you, and you want them all to receive your response, click Reply to All on the toolbar instead of Reply. Alternately, choose Reply to All from the Message menu or press Ctrl+Shift+R.
Reply with, without original message insertion.
By default, Outlook Express includes the original message's text in your response. If you don't want to include the original text, choose Options from the Tools menu and click the Send tab. Uncheck the Include Message in Reply option in the Sending section.
Whether you're creating a new message or replying, you send the email the same way. Simply click the Send button on the toolbar. By default, Outlook Express sends the email message immediately, but you can control when messages are sent. To do so, choose Options from the Tools menu, click the Send tab, and uncheck the Send Messages Immediately option. Outlook Express saves your message in the Outbox folder. To send messages in this folder, choose Send All on the Send/Receive button's drop-down list.
Create a new message.
Click Create Mail on the toolbar to open a new message window.
Insert a mail address in the 'To' field.
Enter a valid email address in the To control. You can simply type it in or you can choose an address from the Address Book. To do so, click the Address Book icon to the left of the To control. Double-click the appropriate email contact in the resulting dialog box, and click OK.
Copy (cc), blind copy (bcc) a message to another address/addresses.
The new message contains another control named carbon copy, cc, which allows you to send a copy of the message to recipients besides the person already listed in the To control. Just use the method discussed in the previous section to add addresses to the cc control. However, don't double-click the recipient. Instead, select the recipient, and then click the cc or the bcc button, accordingly . The difference is that everyone who gets your email will know who got carbon copies (cc), but blind carbon copies (bcc) are hidden from everyone but the sender.
Insert a title in the Subject field.
The Subject control contains a clue about the message content and purpose. Simply select the control and type the appropriate text. Be as descriptive but as brief as possible.
Use a spell-checking tool if available and make changes such as: correcting spelling errors, deleting repeated words.
Fortunately, you can run the spelling feature to check your message for typos and duplicated words. With the message window open, choose Spell from the Tools menu or press F7 to open the dialog box shown in Figure 8.13. When the feature encounters a misspelled word, it stops and displays the word and possible corrections. Choose a suggestion or enter the right spelling and then click Change or Change All. When a duplicate word is encountered, click Delete if appropriate.
Attach a file to a message.
You can send files, such as reports, pictures, and so on, by clicking the Attach button on the toolbar or selecting File Attachment from the Insert menu. Either method displays the Insert Attachment dialog box, which is similar to any of the file management dialog boxes you've already seen. Use the Look In control to specify the folder where the file is currently stored. Select the file, and then click Attach.
Send a message with high, low priority.
Some messages are more important than others. When you need to alert a recipient that a message is urgent, select High Priority from the Priority tool's drop-down list, as shown in Figure 8.14. If the message can wait, you might want to select Low Priority.
Send a message using a distribution list.
Often, a message goes to a group of people, not just one person. If you frequently send email to this same group, create a list and then reference the list in the To control instead of entering each individual separately. To create a list or group , read the section "Add a Mail Address to an Address List," later in this chapter.
Forward a message.
Forwarding a message allows you to share its contents and attachments with others. With the message selected or open, click Forward on the toolbar, enter the appropriate names in the To control, and click Send.
Messages are information just like any other kind of document or file, and you might need to copy that information, move it, or even delete it.
Duplicate, move text within a message, or between other active messages. To move text instead of copying it, highlight the text that you want to copy and then press Ctrl+X or choose Cut from the Edit menu. Then position the cursor where you want the text to be and press Ctrl+V or choose Paste from the Edit menu.
Copy message text the same way you would any text. Open the message, and highlight the text you want to copy. Then, press Ctrl+C or choose Copy from the Edit menu. Position the cursor where you want to paste the text, whether it is in the same message or another open message, which you access by selecting it from the representative icon on the Windows taskbar. Once the cursor is positioned, press Ctrl+V or choose Paste from the Edit menu.
Duplicate text from another source into a message.
Pasting text into a message is just as easy as pasting the text into another document. Copy the text that you want to paste from its source using the method discussed in the previous section. Then, open the email message into which you want to paste the text, position the cursor where you want the text to appear, and press Ctrl+V or choose Paste from the Edit menu.
You should be able to reply to an existing message and create a new message.
Deleting text in a message.
To delete text from a message, select it and then press the Delete key. That's all there is to it!
Delete a file attachment from an outgoing message.
The only way to delete an attachment from a message that's already been sent is to delete the message itself. If the message has not yet been sent, with the message open, select the attached file in the Attach control and press Delete.
Managing your email is made easy by the many available options and settings. In this section, you'll learn how to manage email messages by doing the following:
Organizing messages and folders
Using an Address Book
You can organize your email client by handling and managing messages and folders.
Recognize some techniques to manage email effectively such as creating and naming folders, moving messages to appropriate folders, deleting unrequired email, using address lists.
Once you start receiving messages, you want to organize them using a method that's meaningful to you. First, add folders that allow you to group messages by content, purpose, or some other category (refer to Figure 8.12). For instance, you might have a folder for each department or each individual with which you correspond .
To move a message from your Inbox, simply select it (don't open the message) and choose Move to Folder (or press Ctrl+Shift+V) from the Edit menu. Select a folder in the Move dialog box, and then click OK. If the appropriate folder doesn't exist, click New Folder, enter a name, and then select it. To delete a message, simply select it and press Delete.
Your mail client might support what's known as rules preset and predefined actions that the client takes against specific messages for specific reasons. For instance, you might want to move all incoming messages from customers to a high priority response folder. Or you might want to delete all read messages after 30 days. Check your application's documentation for more specific information.
The Address Book is exactly what it sounds likea place where you can collect and store email addresses. Some Address Books even allow you to store additional information, such as the contact's address and phone number.
Create a new address list/distribution list.
Add an address to the Address Book by opening the Address Book and choosing New Contact from the New tool's drop-down list. In the resulting Properties dialog box, enter the contact's name. Then, carefully enter the contact's complete email address in the email Address control and click Add, as shown in Figure 8.15.
Add a mail address to an address list.
To create a list or group of email addresses for quick distribution, follow these steps:
Delete a mail address from an address list.
You can remove a name from a list or group by opening the Address Book and opening the group or list. Then, select the name you want to delete in the Group Members list and click Remove.
Update an address book from incoming mail.
The easiest way to add an email address to the Address Book is to grab it from an existing email. Simply open a message that came from the address you're wanting to add and double-click the From control to display the Properties dialog box. At this point, click the Add to Address Book button. When Outlook Express displays the contents of the Name tab, you can complete the new contact (refer to Figure 8.15).
You'll probably want to store messages in appropriately named folders. In addition, you can sort them by name or date, to facilitate your viewing habits.
Search for a message by sender, subject, mail content.
You can search for messages by content, by sender, by the subject text, or even by the message's content. To do so, click the Find tool on the toolbar or choose Find from the Edit menu and then select the appropriate search option: Message, Message in This Folder, and People. To search for text in a specific message, the message must be open.
Outlook opens a context-specific dialog box, as shown in Figure 8.17. Enter the name or text for which you're searching and click Find Now.
Create a new folder for mail.
Email folders can contain messages and other folders, so keep this in mind when you're creating a new folder:
Move messages to a new folder for mail.
To move a message from its current folder, select it (don't open the message) and choose Move to Folder or press Ctrl+Shift+V from the Edit menu. Select a folder in the Move dialog box, and then click OK. If the appropriate folder doesn't exist, click New Folder, enter a name, and then select it.
You must be able to create new folders and move messages and sort messages within a folder.
Sort messages by name, by date.
Sorting messages within a folder requires a simple click. First, click the appropriate folder. Then, in the message window, click the column by which you want to sort: the sender, the subject, the date received, and so on.
Delete a message.
To delete a message, select it in the message window and click Delete.
Restore a message from the mail bin/deleted items folder.
In Chapter 3, you learned that files aren't immediately deleted but moved to the Recycle Bin. Outlook Express has a similar folder. When you delete a message, Outlook Express moves it to the Deleted Items folder. If you want to get the message back, you can just drag it from the Deleted Items folder to any other folder.
Empty the mail bin/deleted items folder.
To empty the contents of the Deleted Items folder, right-click it in the Folders pane and choose Empty Deleted Items Folder. Or choose Empty Deleted Items Folder from the Edit menu. Once you empty this folder, these messages really are gone.
As with most files, you can print email, and Outlook Express is extremely flexible in this area.
Preview a message.
Some email programs let you view a message in preview mode before sending it to the printer. Outlook Express doesn't include this feature, but your email program might. If so, it is probably available in Print Preview on the File menu.
Choose print output options such as: entire message, selected contents of a message, number of copies and print.
You have a number of options to choose from when printing email. Select Print from the File menu or press Ctrl+P to set options. Otherwise, click the Print tool on the toolbar to print the selected message or messages in their entirety. The print options appear in Figure 8.18 and are similar to almost every other Windows-based application.
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