Section 10.2. Sending Email


10.2. Sending Email

When you finally arrive at the main Mail screen, you've already got mail. The Inbox contains a welcome from Microsoft, but it wasn't actually transmitted over the Internet; it's a starter message just to tease you. Fortunately, all your future mail will come via the Internet.

To receive and send new mail, click the Send/Receive button on the toolbar.


Tip: You can set up Mail to check your email accounts automatically according to a schedule. Just choose Tools Options. On the General tab, youll see the "Check for new messages every __ minutes" checkbox, which you can change to your liking.

Now Mail retrieves new messages and sends any outgoing messages.

In the list on the right side of your screen, the names of new messages show up in bold type; folders containing new messages show up in bold type, too (in the Folders list at the left side of the screen). The bold number in parentheses after the word "Inbox" represents how many messages you haven't read yet. Figure 10-2 shows Mail after a few weeks of use.

Figure 10-2. A message has two sections: the header , which holds information about the message, and the body , which contains the message itself. The menu bar and a toolbar harbor other useful features for composing and sending messages.


10.2.1.

10.2.1.1. Mail folders in Windows Mail

At the left side of the screen, Windows Mail organizes your email into folders . To see what's in a folder, click it once:

  • Inbox holds mail you've received.

  • Outbox holds mail you've written but haven't sent yet.

  • Sent Items holds copies of messages you've sent.

  • Deleted Items holds mail you've deleted. It works a lot like the Recycle Bin, in that messages placed there don't actually disappear. Instead, they remain in the Deleted Items folder, awaiting rescue if you opt to retrieve them. To empty this folder, right-click it and then choose "Empty 'Deleted Items' Folder" from the shortcut menu (or simply choose Edit Empty 'Deleted Items Folder).


    Tip: To make the folder empty itself every time you exit Mail, choose Tools Options, click the Advanced tab, and then click the Maintenance button. From the Maintenance dialog box, turn on "Empty messages from the 'Deleted Items folder on exit."
  • Drafts holds messages you haven't finishedand don't want to send just yet.

  • Junk E-Mail holds messages deemed as junk (spam) by Mail's Junk E-Mail Protection. (More about that later.)

You can also add to this list, creating folders for your own organizational pleasureFamily Mail, Work Mail, or whatever. See Section 10.3.5.

10.2.1.2. Composing and sending messages

To send a message, click Create Mail on the toolbar. The New Message form opens (Figure 10-3).

Figure 10-3. In the New Message window, type the name of the recipients, separated by semicolons, in the "To:" field. If Windows Mail doesn't automatically complete the name for you (by consulting your address book and recent recipients list), click Check Names.



Tip: You can also start writing a message by clicking Contacts in the toolbar. In the Contacts window that results, click the person's name, and then click E-Mail on the toolbar. A blank, outgoing piece of mail appears, already addressed to the person whose name you clicked.Come to think of it, it's faster to hit Ctrl+N.

Composing the message requires several steps:

  1. Type the email address of the recipient into the "To:" field .

    If you want to send a message to more than one person, separate their addresses using semicolons, like this: bob@snow.net; billg@microsoft.com; steve@apple.com.

    There's no need to type out all those complicated email addresses, either. As you begin typing the person's plain-English name, the program attempts to guess who you mean (if it's somebody in your Contacts list)and fills in the email address automatically.

    If it guesses the correct name, great; press Tab to move on to the next text box. If it guesses wrong, just keep typing. The program quickly retracts its suggestion and watches what you type next .


    Tip: You can also click the tiny envelope icon next to the "To:" box to open your Contacts list; double-click a name to address your message.

    As in most Windows dialog boxes, you can jump from blank to blank in this window (from the "To:" field to the "CC:" field, for example) by pressing the Tab key.

  2. To send a copy of the message to other recipients, enter the additional email address(es) in the "CC:" field .

    CC stands for carbon copy . There's very little difference between putting all your addressees on the "To:" line (separated by semicolons) and putting them on the "CC:" line. The only difference is that using the "CC:" line implies, "I sent you a copy because I thought you'd want to know about this correspondence, but I'm not expecting you to reply."

    Press Tab when you're finished.

  3. Type the topic of the message in the "Subject:" field .

    Some people get bombarded with email. That's why it's courteous to put some thought into the Subject line. (For example, use "Change in plans for next week" instead of "Hi.")

    Press the Tab key to move your cursor into the message area.

  4. Choose a format (HTML or plain text), if you like .

    When it comes to formatting a message's body text, you have two choices: plain text or HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).

    Plain text means that you can't format your text with bold type, color , specified font sizes, and so on. HTML, on the other hand, is the language used to create Web pages, and it lets you use formatting commands (such as font sizes, colors, and bold or italic text).

    But there's a catch: HTML mail is much larger, and therefore slower to download, than plain-text messages, and some older e-mail programs don't display the formatting anyway. Plain text tends to feel more professional, never irritates anybodyand you're guaranteed that the recipient will see exactly what was sent.

    To specify which format Windows Mail proposes for all new messages (plain text or HTML), choose Tools Options. Click the Send tab. Next, in the section labeled Mail Sending Format, choose either the HTML or Plain Text button, and then click OK.

    No matter which setting you specify there, however, you can always switch a particular message to the opposite format. Just choose Format Rich Text (HTML), or Format Plain Text, in the New Message window.

    If you choose the HTML option, clicking in the message area activates the HTML toolbar, shown in Figure 10-4.

    Figure 10-4. When you're composing an email using the HTML format, the New Message window gives you options for choosing fonts, formatting options like Bold, Italic, and Underline, and colors (from a handy color palette).


    Just remember: less is more. If you go hog-wild formatting your email, the message may be difficult to read, especially if you apply stationery (a background).

  5. Enter the message in the message box (the bottom half of the message window) .

    You can use all standard editing techniques, including Cut, Copy, and Paste, to rearrange the text as you write it.


    Tip: If Microsoft Word is installed on your PC, you can also spell check your outgoing mail. Just choose Tools Spelling (or press F7) in the new message window.

    Add a signature, if you wish .

    Signatures are bits of text that get stamped at the bottom of outgoing email messages. They typically contain a name, a mailing address, or a Star Trek quote.

    To create a signature, choose Tools Options, click the Signatures tab, and then click the New button. The easiest way to compose your signature is to type it into the Edit Signatures text box at the bottom of the window. (If you poke around long enough in this box, youll realize that you can actually create multiple signaturesand even assign each one to a different outgoing email account.)

    Once you've created a signature (or several), you can tack it onto your outgoing mail for all messages (by turning on "Add signatures to all outgoing messages" at the top of this box) or on a message-by-message basis (by choosing Insert Signature in the New Message window).

    POWER USERS' CLINIC
    The Mighty Morphing Interface

    You don't have to be content with the factory-installed design of the Windows Mail screen; you can control which panes are visible, how big they are, and which columns show up in list views.

    To change the size of a pane, drag its border to make it larger or smaller, as shown here. You can also hide or show the toolbar, folder list, status bar, search bar, or preview pane using the View Layout command; in the dialog box, turn off the checkboxes for the window elements you could do without.

    The View Layout command also lets you control where the preview pane appears: under the message list, as usual, or to its righta great arrangement if you have a very wide screen.

    Mail lets you decide what columns are displayed in the list pane. For example, if you don't particularly care about seeing the Flag column, you can hide it, leaving more space for the Subject and Received columns. To switch columns on or off, choose from the list in the View Columns dialog box.

    You can also rearrange the columns, which can be handy if you'd rather see the Subject column first instead of the sender, for example. Just drag the column's name header horizontally; release when the vertical dotted line is where you want the column to wind up. To make a column wider or narrower, drag the short black divider line between column names horizontally, much the way you'd resize a folder window list-view column.


  6. Click the Send button .

    Alternatively, press Alt+S, or choose File Send Message. Your PC connects to the Internet and sends the message.

10.2.1.3. The Contacts list

Accumulating names in a Contacts list eliminates the need to enter complete email addresses whenever you want to send a message. Click the Contacts button on the toolbar; then, to begin adding names and email addresses, click New Contact.

UP TO SPEED
Blind Carbon Copies

A blind carbon copy is a secret copy. This feature lets you send a copy of a message to somebody secretly , without any of the other recipients knowing. The names in the "To:" and "CC:" fields appear at the top of the message for all recipients to see, but nobody can see the names you typed into the "BCC:" box. To view this box, choose View All Headers in the New Message window.

You can use the "BCC:" field to quietly signal a third party that a message has been sent. For example, if you send your co-worker a message that says, "Chris, it bothers me that you've been cheating the customers," you could BCC your boss or supervisor to clue her in without getting into trouble with Chris.

The BCC box is useful in other ways, too. Many people send email messages (containing jokes, for example) to a long list of recipients. You, the recipient, must scroll through a very long list of names the sender placed in the "To:" or "CC:" field.

But if the sender uses the "BCC:" field to hold all the recipients' email addresses, you, the recipient, won't see any names but your own at the top of the email. (Unfortunately, spammersthe miserable cretins who send you junk mailhave also learned this trick.)



Tip: Windows Mail offers a convenient timesaving feature: the Tools Add Sender to Contacts command. Whenever you choose it, Mail automatically stores the email address of the person whose message is on the screen. (Alternatively, you can right-click an email address in the message and choose "Add Sender to Contacts from the shortcut menu.)
10.2.1.4. Attaching files to messages

Sending little text messages is fine, but it's not much help when you want to send somebody a photograph, a sound recording, a Word or Excel document, and so on. Fortunately, attaching such files to email messages is one of the world's most popular email features.

To attach a file to a message, use either of two methods :

  • The long way . Click the Attach button (the paper-clip icon) on the New Message dialog box toolbar. Alternatively, you could select Insert File Attachment. When the Open dialog box appears, locate the file and select it. (In the resulting navigation window, Ctrl-click multiple files to attach them all at once.)

    Now the name of the attached file appears in the message, in the Attach text box. When you send the message, the file tags along.


    Note: If you have a high-speed connection like a cable modem, have pity on your recipients if they don't. A big picture or movie file might take you only seconds to send, but tie up your correspondent's modem for hours.
  • The short way . If you can see the icon of the file you want to attachin its folder window behind the Mail window, on the Desktop, or whereverthen attach it by dragging its icon directly into the message window. That's a handy technique when you're attaching many different files.


    Tip: To remove a file from an outgoing message before you've sent it, click it and then press the Delete key.



Windows Vista for Starters
Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 0596528264
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 175
Authors: David Pogue

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