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Making the Most of E-Mail

StationeryBoth Notes and Outlook allow you to set up a standard e-mail format. Each of these programs uses different methods, but with each you can store a template that contains standard text -- for ...


January 1, 2004
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Topics

Stationery

Both Notes and Outlook allow you to set up a standard e-mail format. Each of these programs uses different methods, but with each you can store a template that contains standard text — for example, a disclaimer at the end of your e-mails or a standard salutation.

Do you have several e-mail formats that you regularly use? Set each one up as a ‘Stationery’ document. Whenever you need to use one of the e-mail formats, just open your Stationery folder and click on the one you wish to use.

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A caution with the stationery feature — it is possible to use html or graphics in your stationery, but do not. Reserve graphics of any type for when you need to send them. Adding a graphic to your stationery contributes to e-mail bloat, i.e. e-mails that are larger, making them slower to transmit and taking up more room on the recipient’s computer. A cute 30k graphic may not seem like much, but it adds up over a few hundred e-mails! And often the fancy header or background graphic ends up stored as an attachment on the recipient’s computer, so the effect is lost anyway.

Spell checking

The programs can be set to check the spelling in your e-mails before they are sent. No more embarrassing misspelled words. But remember, it only works for non-existent words — it will not catch the misuse of there, their or they’re.

Sorting

You may receive hundreds of e-mails each week. Many can be read and discarded, as with paper documents. However others may need to be saved for long periods of time. Do you need to keep these in your Inbox? No! You do not want any e-mail in your Inbox unless you are actively working on it, any more than you would want papers cluttering up your desk. This is where Folders come in. You can create folders with whatever name you please, to store your correspondence in a fashion that makes sense to you. Just ‘drag and drop’ from your Inbox to the appropriate folder and voila! You have filed!

Attachments

One of the most useful features of e-mail is the ability to attach files for electronic transmission. Unfortunately, the size of these attachments often exceeds the limit allowed for transmission. If you use Outlook, there is a way around this — a feature of Outlook allows you to automatically break up documents larger than a certain size. You can set this feature to act only when the attachment exceeds a certain size. The only drawback is that these attachments can only be reassembled by Outlook, as Notes completely lacks this feature.

Toolbar

The toolbar for both Notes and Outlook allows one-click access to many features of these programs. These toolbars are very feature-rich so there is a large selection of extra features from which to choose. In addition, the toolbar can change depending upon the task, presenting a set of tools appropriate to that task. However, this very large set of features can be confusing, and the fact that they change from task to task can prevent you from learning what the icons mean. I find the constantly changing icons confusing, so I turned the “custom” feature off (this may have different terms, depending upon which program or version you use). I then selected a set of features that I regularly use, such as ‘Attach File’, ‘Spell Check’ and ‘Print’. (You may have others.) This allows quick access to the features I use most, without making me search among icons I do not use or recognize.

Conclusion

Setting up your e-mail program to assist you with various tasks can help to speed your handling of the increasing flood of e-mail, saving time and frustration. It takes just a few minutes, but the time spent today can save hours in the future.

Dan Davies is the application manager at Degussa Canada in bleaching & water chemicals. He can be reached at dan.davies@degussa.com.


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