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A feature or a bug?


October 1, 1999
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Microsoft promotes its Office 2000 family as having enhanced capabilities to transmit documents electronically between various different computer systems while preserving advanced formatting in the or…

Microsoft promotes its Office 2000 family as having enhanced capabilities to transmit documents electronically between various different computer systems while preserving advanced formatting in the original. The idea is good, but runs afoul of the many E-mail systems around that lack the sophistication of Windows. When we E-mail a file in “Rich Text Format”, which is necessary if fonts, bold face etc are to be seen by the recipient, Outlook 2000 adds a file called “winmail.dat” to help the recipient format the message. Problem is that many E-mail systems, including older mainframe based ones in some large organizations, as well as Microsoft’s own Hotmail service, reject all attached files but the first one. The file “winmail.dat” seems to take priority, so other attached files are dumped into the bit bucket.

I call this Microsoft “feature” a bug. The solution is to send E-mail in “Plain Text” text, with anything you want the recipient to see as a well-formatted layout in an attached file (Word, Word Perfect, Excel, Graphics or whatever you want).

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