8.1 Sending and Receiving Email
Email is super easy to use, but there are actually a bunch of cool tricks to it you may not know about. This section tells you how to send a message more quickly, how to create your own personalized mail schedules, how to clean up those annoying > characters that litter forwarded email, and more.
8.1.1 Email in a Hurry
You can easily speed up your email composition by creating a desktop icon that automatically opens a new email message. Then, when you want to send a message, all you have to do is double-click that icon, type your message, and shoot it off.
To set up an email desktop icon, right-click your desktop and choose New Shortcut. In the Create Shortcut box that appears, type mailto : and click the Next button. Type a name for the shortcut, like Send an Email , then click Finish. From now on, whenever you double-click that icon, your email program immediately opens a brand new message.
You can also create a shortcut that opens a new email message and addresses it to a specific person ‚ which is useful if you frequently email a particular person. Just create the shortcut as described above, but type an email address next to mailto : like this ‚ mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org . When you name the shortcut, you may want to mention the recipient, as in, Email JJ. That way you'll remember who you're emailing.
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Checking Web-Based Email with a Desktop Email Program
When you use a free email service like Hotmail (http://www.hotmail.com) or Yahoo! mail (http://www.yahoo.com), you typically have to check your email on the Web, rather than with a desktop email program like Outlook or Eudora. That's because the free services don't let you use the normal POP3 or IMAP email servers. (POP3 and IMAP are protocols that email servers use to handle the receipt and distribution of mail; email programs that live on your hard drive, like Outlook, use these protocols to exchange mail with the world, while Web-based email uses different standards.)
However, two free programs have figured out clever technological workarounds for the problem, letting you use your favorite email software to send and receive all your email without ever hitting the Web. Here are the details about each program:
YahooPOPs! Normally, if you want to use your email software to get mail from Yahoo!, you have to pay extra. But if download and install the free YahooPOPs! program from http://yahoopops. sourceforge .net, you can do it without paying a penny. After you install the program, you have to enter information about your Yahoo! account, such as your account name and password, then configure your email program to treat YahooPOPs! as if it were ISP-based email (just create a new account in your regular email program as you would normally). Voila! You can now use your email software to retrieve Yahoo! mail.
Hotmail Popper. The only email software that lets you retrieve mail from Hotmail is Outlook E xpress. If you use Outlook or any other email program, you're out of luck . . . or are you? With Hotmail Popper, available for free from Boolean Dream (http://www.boolean.ca/hotpop ), you can use any email software you want to send and receive mail from your Hotmail account. As with YahooPOPs!, after you install Hotmail Popper, you have to enter information such as your account name and password, then configure your email software to treat Hotmail Popper as if it were normal ISP-based mail.
8.1.2 Blind Carbon Copies
Sometimes, you want to send a copy of an email to someone without tipping off the message's other recipients. This arrangement is called a blind carbon copy, or Bcc. For example, if you're writing your boss to praise a co-worker, you might want to send a Bcc to the co-worker, so he can see your good deed.
But how do you send a Bcc? In Outlook and Outlook Express when you create a new message there doesn't appear to be any Bcc field. Here's what you need to do. After you create a new message, click the To: button. Choose a name from the list that appears, highlight it, and choose Bcc. If the person you want to Bcc doesn't show up, or you don't have any names in your address book yet, create a new contact by clicking the New Contact button. Now you can add that person to the Bcc list.
Tip: If you want the Bcc field visible every time you create a new message, both Outlook and Outlook Express let you add it. Open a new message, choose View and then look for All Headers or Bcc Field. Select either choice, and from here on out, your messages have a Bcc slot.
8.1.3 Checking Mail on Your Schedule
You may notice that Outlook and Outlook Express automatically check for mail every 30 minutes or so, whether you've told them to or not. The only problem is that this schedule can distract you from your work. A better option is to tell your email program to operate on your schedule.
To change the mail-checking schedule in Outlook, choose Tools Options Mail Setup Send/Receive. If you dont want Outlook to automatically check for mail, turn off the box next to "Schedule an automatic send/receive every _ minutes," click Close, and then click OK. Now Outlook only sends or receives mail when you click the Send/Receive button yourself. If you want Outlook to check mail on a particular schedule, check the box, and from the drop-down list, choose the schedule you want Outlook to follow.
188.8.131.52 Outlook Express
If you don't want Outlook Express to automatically check for new mail, choose Tools Options General, turn off "Check for new messages every _ minutes," and then click OK. To set a particular schedule, turn on this option and, from the drop-down list, choose how often you want Outlook Express to send and receive mail, as shown in Figure 8-1.
8.1.4 Allowing Time for Second Thoughts
Have you ever sent an email and immediately wished you could unsend it? Both Outlook and Outlook Express offer a way to not send your messages as soon as you hit the Send button. Instead, your messages patiently wait in your outbox until the next time you retrieve your mail ‚ then the messages get sent.
To have Outlook behave this way, choose Tools Options Mail Setup and turn off the box next to "Send immediately when connected." In Outlook Express, choose Tools Options Send and deselect "Send messages immediately."
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Figure 8-1. If you want Outlook Express to check your email automatically, you can pick any interval you like ‚ from every minute to every 999 minutes.
8.1.5 Cleaning Up Email Conversations
Email conversations can quickly fill up with "<" or ">" symbols, extra lines, or other extraneous characters, particularly when a message has been volleyed back and forth with multiple responses. You can automatically strip out all those symbols and make your message easy to read using the program eCleaner, available for free from http://ecleaner.tripod.com.
Once you've installed the software, start by opening eCleaner and then opening the email message you want uncluttered. Next, copy the text of the email to the Windows clipboard, run eCleaner, and press the F1 key or click the program's Smiley icon. Then return to your email program and paste the text into a message. Voila! The unnecessary symbols and characters are gone, though you might need to do a little bit of manual cleanup to completely finish the job.
8.1.6 Revealing Message Headers
When you receive an email, there's a lot of information about the message you don't see ‚ like which mail server sent it, which servers the message passed through during its journey to you, and what time the message was sent.
Note: When you send an email to someone, a type of computer called a mail server makes sure your message gets to the proper recipient. A server that sends mail is an SMTP server, which stands for secure mail transfer protocol; one that receives mail is a POP3 server, which stands for Post Office Protocol.
Most of the time, you probably don't care about this hidden information. But there are times when you might want to see it. For example, you may want to find out which server has sent you a piece of spam, or if your mail seems to be arriving after some delay, you can learn when incoming messages actually left the launching pad.
This information is all buried in each message's header ‚ details about the email that are typically hidden by Outlook and Outlook Express. Figure 8-2 shows you what's in a header.
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Figure 8-2. Outlook Express, like Outlook, lets you look inside email headers.
To see header information in Outlook, right-click the message you want to view and choose Options. The header information appears at the bottom of the screen. You can scroll through this information, and also copy and paste it, just as you would any other text in XP. You can also view this information when you're reading a message by choosing View Options.
Note: When you're reading a message in Outlook, choosing View Message Header doesnt display the same details. Instead, it turns the To:, Cc:, and Subject: lines on and off in your email.
To reveal header information in Outlook Express, right-click a message and choose Properties Details. A screen like the one shown in Figure 8-2 appears.