Getting Started: Composing/reading messages
See other getting started topics
This guide to composing/reading messages assumes you are up and running.
- To, CC, and BCC:
- These lines are for addresses (email@example.com, or just "someone" if you have users on the same network)
- CC means "Carbon copy." The "To" and "CC" recipients will see all of the other "To" and "CC" recipients. (unless your e-mail program supports a certain method of assigning group names, as does Eudora).
- BCC means "Blind carbon copy." The "BCC" recipients will see all of the "To" and "CC" recipients, but not the other "BCC" recipients, nor will any of the "To" or "CC" recipients see the "BCC" recipients.
- You can put multiple recipients in any or all of these three categories. You must have at least one valid address in at least one of the categories.
- Of course, most e-mail programs allow you to use "nicknames" or "aliases" so that you do not need to type entire addresses each time you write someone.
- From: You shouldn't need to set this each time. If your e-mail program supports multiple accounts, however, you can choose which return address the message should use.
- Subject: Please put in a subject, even if only "hello" or "misc." Although the message may be clear when reading it, when I look back over the last ten messages I received from someone, the subject helps me figure out which one to look at. Subjects should be descriptive, but not over one line.
- Body: The message goes here. Although not being written for a writing class, please remember to use sentences and esp. paragraphs!
- Signature: Most e-mail programs allow you to have a prewritten section at the end of messages, called a "signature." Usually people put their name, title of some sort, e-mail address, and an attempt at a witty quote. If your e-mail program does not insert it for you, you should make the first line of your signature a sigdash, which is "-- " (two dashes and a space, on a line of their own). If your program allows multiple signatures, you can pick which one when composing the message. (some programs, such as Eudora, allow you to specify a default signature to use with each account)
- Attachments: You can send attached files of various types with your message. Some programs also allow you to send photos within the message as opposed to as attachments. (They are still going as attachments, but the e-mail client at the receiving end might be able to display them inline.)
- When I first see a message, I see it as part of a mailbox list, and see the name of the sender, date, and subject (and a few other things such as priority, whether any attachments, and size).
- When I open a message, I see, in addition to some buttons in the e-mail program:
- Date: This is the date according to the sender's e-mail program. In other words, if I set my computer clock to 3 am or 1976, my outgoing messages will reflect this to the recipient.
- From: Name and e-mail address usually, sometimes just an e-mail address.
- Subject: whatever subject the sender used
- To: I'll see perhaps just my own e-mail address (and name, if included), but if there were other "To" recipients, I'll see them as well.
- CC: (only if there are cc's). If anybody was cc'd, they will appear here. You will appear here, instead of "To", if you were a "CC."
- BCC: you won't see a BCC line. You won't see who, if anyone, was BCC. Nor will you see your own name/address if you were a BCC recipient.
- You may see more headers depending on your e-mail program.
- Message body: you may see plain text, you may get styled text, HTML, images, etc.
- Attachments: always virus check first, keep anti-virus program updated, and only open if you trust the sender, are expecting an attachment, and have run the virus-checker.
- Additional headers: Although you may only see date, from, subject, and to, there are many more headers your e-mail program might hide for convenience. Most e-mail programs allow you to view all headers. Not needed often, but learn how to do this for when you do need it.
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