Monday, October 25, 2004

Basic E-Mail Savvy

If you found your way here, you're already web savvy. Are your e-mail skills also up-to-date?

Here are the basics a good computer user should master. How do you rate?

Can you forward?
In the top toolbar of your e-mail program, you should see a button to allow you to forward a message from one person to another. When you receive a forwarded message you will see FWD in the subject line. That should be a tip for you to read below the sender's message to see what he or she forwarded.

Can you reply without clutter?
When you click 'reply' to a message and type in your comments, you don't have to re-send the person's original note back to them. It's efficient to clean it up a bit, by highlighting their text and deleting. But leave a fragment of their message so they know what you're replying to. If the message said there is a meeting Monday at 7 p.m. followed by an agenda and directions, you could leave just the day and time showing, and reply something like "Thanks, I'll see you at the meeting."

Can you open attachments?
The easist way is to double-click on an attachment. If your computer has the same program the sender used, such as Excel or Word, it should open right up. If you have trouble, try a right-click instead of a double click. Choose Save As and save the file to your computer. Then open the program you want to use to view the file, click File / Open and you will see the document.

Can you copy and paste?
Many people know how to right-click after highlighting a passage of text, for example in Word, and then choosing Cut, Copy or Paste from the right-click pop-up menu. But you may need practice to get comfortable using Copy & Paste across different programs. For example, you can highlight, right-click and choose Copy while in a paragraph of an e-mail. Then, you can compose a new e-mail to someone else, right-click and choose Paste to send that paragraph on. You can also copy a passage from a web site into a Word document, from Excel to Word, from Excel to e-mail.... Well, you get the idea.

Spammer tricks to avoid
Nasty people with too much time on their hands love to send junk mail, also known as spam. To avoid problems, don't open messages if you don't recognize the sender or subject. At least, try just doing a print preview rather than actually opening a suspicioiuis e-mail, and NEVER open attachments you aren't expecting and know you can trust.

Spammers fill the messages with words having nothing to do with the subject line, because they know spam filters look for a percentage of goofy works such as Viagra, Rolex, etc. They fill the message with normal next like flowers, autos, banana, newspaper, tree, oxygen, etc. Don't waste time on the nonsense, just delete.