In Control

We tell you everything you need to know about sending, controlling and receiving e-mail in Microsoft Outlook…

  • E-Mail
By  Cleona Godinho Published  February 1, 2007

|~||~||~|In Microsoft Outlook, there are three supported e-mail formats: HTML (the default), Rich Text (RTF) and plain text. You can specify one of these three as the default message format you want to use for most messages, but you can always switch to a different format for an individual message. The message format you specify is independent of your choice of message editor. For example, you can choose Microsoft Word as your default message editor and then specify a message format to use within Word. HTML - HTML offers these features: text formatting, numbering, bullets, alignment, horizontal lines, backgrounds, HTML styles, and webpages. You can use Stationery and Signatures with HTML, however if you're using Word 2000 as your e-mail editor, you must specify those options in Word itself. Plain text - This message format doesn't support text formatting, such as bold, italic, or coloured fonts. Neither does it support pictures displayed directly in the message body (although they can be included as attachments). All e-mail apps display plain text messages accurately. RTF - RTF is a Microsoft message format that supports text formatting, bullets, and alignment. You can use signatures with this format and you can show attachments immediately after the subject line. This can be useful, for example, if you want to send a collection of documents in a message and include notes about what each document contains. But, even this benefit is only useful when you're sending e-mail messages to people who are using Outlook running under Microsoft Exchange Server. Otherwise, you’re better off forgoing RTF and sticking with HTML or plain text. You now may be wondering why anyone would send a plain text e-mail instead of a more dynamic HTML message. Well, there are a couple of reasons. Firstly, plain text is a very predictable format. Secondly, since such e-mails don’t contain any kind of formatting, such as bullets or a background, the file sizes of plain text e-mails are much smaller than their HTML cousins. So how does this benefit you? If you save your sent messages, Plain text messages will take the least amount of disk space to store. Setting your default If your default e-mail format is not serving your e-mail needs, you can easily change it. In Microsoft Outlook, navigate to the File Menu and click on Tools/Options. Next, hit the ‘Mail Format’ tab and in the Message Format section at the top, click the drop-down box next to the ‘Compose in this message format:’ field and select the format that you wish to choose (see pic A). If you want to leave the default setting in place but override it only for a specific message, open a new message in Outlook, navigate to the File menu and click Action. Next, click ‘New mail message using…’ followed by the format of your choice. (Note: For messages that you reply to or forward, Outlook automatically preserves the formatting used by the original message). Modifying replies and forwarded e-mail messages Formatting options for reply and forward messages are different from regular message options, because with reply and forwarded messages you can choose whether or not to include the original message and, if it is included, how it appears (e.g. with an indent, with a prefix character, etc.). Here’s how: • Navigate to Outlook’s main window and click on Tools/Options • Click on the Preference tab and in the E-mail section click the ‘E-mail Options’ button • To change the reply format, under ‘On replies and forwards’, select the desired option from the ‘When replying to a message’ pull-down list • To change the forward format, select the desired option from the ‘When forwarding a message’ pull-down list • If you’ve selected ‘Prefix each line of the original message’ as a reply/forward format, in the ‘Prefix each line with' text box, type what you want the prefix to be • To mark your comments, select ‘Mark my comments with’ and in the corresponding text box type the desired marker. For instance, you could include you full name or initials as a marker • Once you’re done making changes, click OK. Create an e-mail signature Work e-mails typically include a signature with your designation, contact information, firm’s name and so forth. Here’s an example of a good signature: Bob Rogers, Web designer IT Department XYZ Technology P.O Box 66559 Dubai, UAE Direct: +9714 255 XXXX You can also add more personality by including quotes in or after your signatures, however if you do make sure that you give the original author full credit. Here’s how to create a signature in Microsoft Outlook: • Select Tools followed by Options from the file menu • Go to the Mail Format tab and click ‘Signatures’ • Under Signatures, click ‘New..’ and give the new signature a name • If you’ve set-up more than one signature for different purposes - work mail, personal chat, etc. name them accordingly • Click ‘Next >’ and type the desired text of your e-mail signature • Use the ‘Font’ and ‘Paragraph’ buttons to format your text • Once you’re done, click Finish followed by OK. Note: If you’ve only created one signature, Outlook will automatically make it the default. Sending ‘undisclosed’ e-mails If you forward a message to a number of friends (some of whom are unknown to each other) by placing all the recipients in the Cc: field, you’re effectively sharing private e-mail addresses with strangers. Fortunately, you have the Bcc: field in Outlook as well as ‘Undisclosed recipients’. Here’s how to send an e-mail to ‘Undisclosed recipients’: • First, click the down arrow next to the New button in Outlook's main window • Select 'Contact' from the list • Type Undisclosed recipients under ‘Full Name’ • Type your e-mail address under ‘E-mail’. If you already have an existing address book entry bearing your e-mail address, make sure ‘Add this as a new contact anyway’ is checked in the ‘Duplicate Contact Detected’ dialog box. Click OK • Click ‘Save’ and close the window. • Open a new message and click the ‘To...’ button • Highlight ‘Undisclosed recipients’ and click the ‘To ->’ button • Highlight all people in your address book to whom you want to send the message. Tip: To highlight several contacts, select the first recipient, and keep the key-board’s Control button pressed as you select the rest.) • Once you’re done selecting your recipients, click the ‘Bcc ->’ button and click OK •Compose your message and click the ‘Send’ button. That’s a wrap folks. Did you find this workshop useful? Let us know any thoughts and additional quick tips on ||**||

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