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Creating an E-Mail Message in Outlook

In many ways, electronic mail is better than regular paper mail (also known to Email aficionados as snail mail). Email is delivered much faster than paper mail — almost instantaneously. (Speedy delivery is really handy for last-minute birthday greetings, if you're inclined miss an important date now and then.) Email is also incredibly cheap; in fact, it's free most of the time.

The quick and dirty way to create a message

Creating a new message is insanely easy. You can probably figure it out without any help, but here's a hint: Start Outlook, click the New button, enter an address in the To box, a subject in the Subject box, a message in the message box, and click Send. (Nailed that one, didn't you? Was that easy or what?)

The slow, complete way to create a message

You may prefer a more detailed approach to creating an Email message. If you have a yen for fancy Email — especially if you want to take advantage of every bell and whistle Outlook can add to your message — follow these steps:

1. Click the Mail button in the Navigation Pane (or press Ctrl+1).

The Email Inbox appears.

2. Choose File—>New—>Mail Message (or press Ctrl+N).

The New Message form appears.

3. Click the To text box and type the Email address of the person to whom you're sending your message.

You can also click the To button itself, find the name of the person to whom you're sending the message in the Address Book, and then click OK.

4. Click the Cc text box and type the Email addresses of the people to whom you want to send a copy of your message.

If you're sending messages to multiple people, separate their addresses; you can use either commas or semicolons.

5. Type the subject of the message in the Subject box.

Your subject can be quite long, but keep it brief. A snappy, relevant subject line makes someone want to read your message; a long or weird subject line doesn't. (Well, you never know with a weird subject line — but don't send weird Email at the office unless everybody does.)

6. Type the text of your message in the text box.

If you use Microsoft Word as your word processor, you can also set up Outlook to use Word as your Email editor. You can include formatting, graphics, tables, and all the tricks available in Word to make your Email more attractive.

When you use Word as an Email editor, you don't do anything different — you just see the Word toolbars in the Outlook Email form when you're creating Email. You can use all the tools you see to add formatting to your Email. If you're completely at home with Microsoft Word, you can just create messages in Word and send them right out without even opening Outlook. Simply type a message in Word by choosing File—>Send To—>Mail Recipient, type an address and subject, and then click Send.

Be careful how you format Email to send to people on the Internet. Not all Email systems can handle graphics or formatted text, such as boldface or italics, so the masterpiece of correspondence art that you send to your client on the Internet may arrive as gibberish. If you don't know what the other person has on his or her computer, go light on the graphics. When you're sending Email to your colleagues in the same office, or if you're sure the person you're sending to also has Outlook, the formatting and graphics should look fine.

7. Click the Send button.

Your mail is sent to the Outbox. If you're on an office network, your mail automatically goes from your Outbox to the Inbox of the person to whom you're sending the message. If you're using an online service such as MSN or CompuServe, press F5 to send the Email message along.

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