With email, you both send and receive messages. When sending a new message, you have several ways to speed its creation. First, if someone has already sent you a message, you can reply to it. If the message was sent to a group, you have the option of replying to the sender or the entire group. Second, if you have a message that you want to share with someone else, you can forward it.
When you reply to a message, Outlook Express completes the address and subject lines for you and also includes the text of the original message, by default (you can change this). To complete the message, you just have to type your response. When you forward a message, the subject lines and the message are complete; you simply have to enter the address and add any message.
In addition to replying to messages, you can create new messages. The most difficult thing about creating new messages is typing the address. For this step, you can set up and use an address book; see the section on address books later in this part.
Replying to a Message
You can reply to messages others send you, and the reply you create can automatically includes address, subject, and relevant content. To reply to a message, follow these steps:
Display the message to which you want to reply.
To reply to just the sender, click the Reply button. To reply to the sender and all other recipients, click Reply All.
Type your message.
Click the Send button. The message is either sent or placed in your Outbox to be sent later.
If you are addressing your message to just the senderthat is, the entire list of recipients doesn't need to see your responsebe sure to click Reply, not Reply All. Reply All sends your message to everyone on the original list.
Figure 3.4 When you reply to the message, the address, subject line, and content are entered for you.
View Sent Messages
By default, Outlook Express saves a copy of all sent messages in the Sent Items folder. You can view this folder by clicking Sent Items in the Folders bar.
Forwarding a Message
You can pass along a message you receive to someone else. To forward a message:
Display the message that you want to forward.
Type the email address.
If you want to include your own message with the forwarded text, type that message.
Click the Send button. The message is placed in your Outbox and then sent.
Creating and Sending a New Mail Message
To create and send a new mail message, follow these steps:
In the Outlook Express window, click the Create Mail button. You see a blank email message.
Type the recipient's address. Addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org (for example, email@example.com). Press Tab.
If you want to send a carbon copy of the message to someone, type the address in the Cc field. To skip this, press Tab to move to the next field.
Type a subject in the Subject text box, and then press Tab.
Type your message.
Click the Send button.
Figure 3.5 In the new message window, complete the address (To field), subject, and message content.
Keep in mind these tips when sending messages:
You can also send a blind carbon copy (Bcc). For instance, you may want your boss to see a copy of a message, but you don't want the recipient to know that you included him. To send a blind cc, click View, All Headers. This displays the field for Bcc; you can then type an address in that field. Or you can use your address book to send a message as a blind carbon copy (see that section).
As mentioned, messages you send are either sent immediately or stored in your Outbox folder (listed in the Folders list). You can specify when mail is sent (as well as other options) by clicking Tools, Options. Click the Send tab. Then change any of the Send options. For instance, if you want to save messages in your Outbox, uncheck Send Messages Immediately. You can also specify whether message text is included when you reply to a message by using the Include Message In Reply check box.
If you have not yet sent a message, you can cancel it by opening the Outbox and deleting the message. If you send messages immediately, you cannot retrieve a sent message.
If your messages are stored in the Outbox, you can click the Send/Recv button in Outlook Express to send the messages. To send messages, you must be connected. If you are not connected, you are prompted to do so. Follow the logon procedure for your particular ISP.
You can check the spelling of your messages by clicking the Spelling button. Even with a spell check, though, you still should proofread your message. Also keep in mind that email messages cannot convey the tone of your voice, facial expressions, or body language. It can be easy to misconstrue a message. It's a good idea, especially if you are angry or upset, to let the message sit for some time before sending. Wait and then double-check any sensitive messages before sending them.
You can use stationery for your messages as well as format the text. To use stationery, click the down arrow next to the Create Mail button and select a stationery type. To format the text, select it and then use the toolbar in the message window to make any changes. Keep in mind that your recipients may be using a different program to read their mail. And because some mail programs may not be able to display your formatting choices, it's usually best to keep the message plain and simple.
If your message is not deliveredfor instance, you typed the address wrongyou usually get an email back saying the message was not delivered. You can try resending, double-checking the address.
If you want to be sure someone has received a message, you can request a receipt. (The recipient still has to OK sending the receipt, so this isn't a sure thing.) To request a receipt, click Tools and then Request Read Receipt when you are creating the message. You can set this as the default by using the Tool, Options command. Make any changes on the Receipts tab.
Figure 3.6 Use this tab to set options on how messages are sent.
You might set up Outlook so that it doesn't send messages immediately, but instead places them in the Outbox. You can then send them all at once. Using the Outbox also enables you to compose messages offline (when you are not connected). You can then get connected and send the messages.
Other Ways to Get Connected
In addition to email, you can use other ways to connect and communicate with others. These include instant messaging (IM), chats, newsgroups, and conferencing.
You can send instant messages to others that are online when you are. To set this up, you create a list of contacts. Then when any person on your list is online, you are alerted. You can then use an instant message program to type and send messageslike passing notes in class.
You can use a few different programs for instant messaging, including Windows Messenger, included with Windows XP. America Online also has a popular instant messaging program (abbreviated AIM). One difficulty with instant messaging is that if your "buddies" don't use the same program, you have to get them to sign up for your instant messenger program. You need to be logged in to the same type of IM program to talk to your friends. Some people use multiple IMs simultaneously, and you can find freeware programs that enable you to log into multiple IMs and use one tool for viewing messages, but you still need separate IDs.
In addition to instant messaging, you can also go online and chat online with others. To chat, go to a chosen website and enter the site's chatroom. Then you can type and read comments for others in the room. You can also invite others to private chatrooms so that your conversation is private. Even though it may seem private, you still need to protect your privacy. Consider any posting to a chat or newsgroup as a permanent archive that others may read in the future.
Finally, chats aren't used for casual conversations. Many online retailers have a chat feature to assist customers while placing an online order.
If you have children, make sure you set firm guidelines about online activity, especially chatting and instant messaging. They should not reveal any personal informationname, address, and so onand they should never agree to meet someone in person.
Yet another way to share your opinion with others is through a newsgroup (which has nothing to do with news, despite the name). A newsgroup is like an electronic bulletin board organized around a specific topic or interest. You can find newsgroups for different hobbies, interests, health concerns, jobs, and so on. Through posting and reading newsgroup messages, you can share in conversation with like-minded individuals. You can use Outlook Express to read and post messages; consult online help for additional information.
You can also use the Internet and your computer to make phone calls, although the quality won't be great. You can also attach a camera to your PC and send a video along during your conversation. For business, videoconferencing has become popular; you can use NetMeeting, a Windows feature, to schedule and manage online conferences.