Acoustic Mac

Reader Tips on Email

Beverly Woods - 2001.09.27 - Tip Jar

I've been having a hard time with the events of the last few weeks, but it's definitely time to pull myself together and write a column.

What was I talking about last time? Email. Now more than ever, email has proved useful, and many of us go to our computers eager for news and words from friends and family. Email groups have been busy, and many new members are joining. So, with help from some Acoustic Mac readers, here's some email tips. This first one is quoted (with permission) from one of the Low End Mac email lists:

Here's a hint for quoting parts of messages when using Eudora. I just learned it recently (somebody told me), so it's possible other Eudora users don't know it either. Select the part of the message you want to quote. Hold down the Shift key while replying (Command + R or "Reply" button). Only the selected text will be included in your reply. This use of the Shift key is pretty intuitive for Mac users, but, like I said, somebody had to teach me this trick, so it may be new to some.

Also, I always use the Option key when replying because I like to include the "At Star Date 3743 Mr. Sulu wrote:" line; but then you have to always check to be sure your cc: line doesn't include extra addresses, because, as you know, the Option key is the tool to "Reply to all".

The "Paste as Quotation" feature in Eudora is useful too. (I discovered this one all by myself!) It also adds the "Star Date" line automatically. Check it out.

Rodney Hoiseth (living in Hayama, Japan)

Thanks to Rodney for this tip. Quoting part of a message when replying saves time and space. I currently use Outlook Express, and in that program (and most email clients) all you have to do is highlight the text you want to include, and hit "Reply." The highlighted text automatically appears as a quote in your new email. You can also paste text into OE with added quoting marks: just copy, pick your insertion point, and choose "Paste As Quotation" from the Edit menu.

When there are too many quotation marks to make for easy reading on incoming mail, I often use the "Auto Text Cleanup" feature in Outlook. "Remove quoting" - "Rewrap paragraphs" - don't you wish someone had done that before they sent you something scattered all over the page with the earliest parts having 7 quote marks in front of each broken line? Be kind to the next person: Clean up that email before you send it on. What goes around comes around, especially in email.

For those of us who save lots of our email, Acoustic Mac reader Bob Kalbaugh wrote in:

Here's a tip I thought you might like to share with your readers.

Outlook Express allows you to have many Identities for logging into email accounts. This is great when there's more than one person using the same computer. You can easily switch identities from the File Menu or even log into them at program launch. Since I'm the only person using my computer, I take advantage of this feature for archiving my mail. Here's what I do:

At the end of each month I do a little maintenance. I delete any messages I don't want to keep and then compact and optimize the database with a fresh reboot of Outlook Express using the option key feature. Then I quit the program. Next I open the Identities folder and copy the current identity (the one that I've been using). I rename this copy according to the month that I'm archiving. Something like "01-07-July". So now I have a month's worth of mail that is an Identity! Now I can log back into my main identity and safely delete all of the messages. When I need to access the archive mail, I just switch to that identity in work offline mode. It's great! Currently I have my main identity, 7 monthly identities, and I'm gettin' ready to create my 8th. At the end of the year I'll burn the whole shebang to CD and start over. I like this method for a few reasons.

  1. It keeps current mail messages manageable
  2. It keeps the mail database small in size: 15 MB instead of 50 MB or more
  3. It keeps messages in the format that I like.

Please note that this method doesn't really compare to the benefits of putting messages into a full-fledged database program like FileMaker Pro, but it's a nice workaround for those who may not have access to an expensive database program. Kind of a poor man's archive.

Now that's the kind of ingenuity I think many LEM readers admire; I sure do. I haven't tried this yet, but I probably will soon.

Thanks, folks, and keep those email hints coming in; I'm sure there's room for more in future columns. LEM

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