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Computer Literacy for Windows
Illustration by Neil Webb

Composing new email messages


From:

Computer Literacy for Windows

with Garrick Chow

Video: Composing new email messages

There are basically three ways to compose a new email message. You can create one from scratch, you can reply to an email you've received, or you can forward a message you've received to another recipient. Let's start by taking a look at creating an email from scratch. In just about all email clients, you'll find a button or menu item labeled something like New Message or Compose or New. Here in Windows Live Mail, I just click the New button and this opens a New Message window. Now you can fill out these fields in any order, but let's work way down from the top. In the To field, you'll enter the email address of the person or people you want to send this email message to.
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  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the assessment files
      1m 2s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 9m 53s
    1. What's a computer?
      1m 48s
    2. What's inside a computer?
      2m 46s
    3. Laptop vs. desktop computers
      1m 52s
    4. Special considerations when using a laptop
      3m 27s
  3. 17m 29s
    1. Understanding the operating system
      3m 3s
    2. Understanding files, folders, and directories
      4m 38s
    3. Understanding your Home (User) folder
      3m 9s
    4. Using your desktop
      2m 46s
    5. Taking out the trash (recycle bin)
      1m 45s
    6. The right click
      2m 8s
  4. 25m 38s
    1. Understanding applications
      4m 36s
    2. Opening and saving files
      4m 3s
    3. Choosing the right tool
      4m 37s
    4. How to learn any application
      4m 53s
    5. Five things that work in all applications
      7m 29s
  5. 35m 26s
    1. Understanding computer ports
      2m 33s
    2. Setting up a printer
      3m 36s
    3. Printing your documents
      3m 52s
    4. Setting up a scanner
      2m 8s
    5. Scanning a document
      5m 59s
    6. Setting up a projector or a second monitor
      6m 17s
    7. Using a projector
      3m 43s
    8. Portable storage devices
      3m 55s
    9. Pairing with Bluetooth devices
      3m 23s
  6. 20m 46s
    1. Understanding networks and internet access
      2m 58s
    2. Connecting to wired networks
      2m 47s
    3. Connecting to wireless networks
      5m 0s
    4. Working in a networked environment
      5m 49s
    5. Staying protected from viruses
      4m 12s
  7. 23m 24s
    1. Understanding email servers and clients
      2m 11s
    2. Setting up your email application
      4m 15s
    3. Receiving and reading email
      3m 50s
    4. Composing new email messages
      7m 4s
    5. Reply vs. Reply All
      2m 12s
    6. Dealing with spam
      3m 52s
  8. 8m 22s
    1. Understanding search engines
      1m 24s
    2. Conducting basic searches
      3m 44s
    3. Conducting advanced searches
      3m 14s
  9. 27m 15s
    1. Introduction to word processors
      4m 46s
    2. Formatting text
      7m 57s
    3. Introduction to spreadsheets
      4m 0s
    4. Creating a simple data table
      8m 13s
    5. Formatting a data table
      2m 19s
  10. 28m 52s
    1. Importing images from a digital camera
      7m 57s
    2. Storing and organizing digital images
      4m 28s
    3. Basic image manipulation
      9m 17s
    4. Tagging images
      4m 56s
    5. Sharing images
      2m 14s
  11. 12m 46s
    1. Common obstacles in sharing files
      1m 37s
    2. Creating PDFs for document sharing
      6m 4s
    3. Compressing files
      5m 5s
  12. 1m 4s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 4s

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Computer Literacy for Windows
3h 33m Beginner Aug 06, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Computer Literacy for Windows, author Garrick Chow walks through the skills necessary to use computers comfortably, while improving learning, productivity, and performance. This course focuses on the Microsoft Windows operating system and offers a thorough introduction to computers, networks, and computer peripherals such as printers, digital cameras, and more. In addition, basic procedures with software applications, the Internet, and email are covered. Exercise files accompany the course.

This course also includes chapter-level assessments for use as instructional aides. To download the assessments, click the following link: Computer Literacy Assessments. The file contains an assessment movie, chapter-level assessments, and answer keys.

Topics include:
  • Working with a laptop versus a desktop computer
  • Understanding an operating system
  • Understanding five traits almost all applications share
  • Printing
  • Setting up a scanner
  • Connecting to a wired or wireless network
  • Sending and receiving email
  • Searching the Internet
  • Importing and editing images from a digital camera
  • Sharing documents and images
Subjects:
Business Operating Systems Computer Skills (Windows)
Software:
Windows
Author:
Garrick Chow

Composing new email messages

There are basically three ways to compose a new email message. You can create one from scratch, you can reply to an email you've received, or you can forward a message you've received to another recipient. Let's start by taking a look at creating an email from scratch. In just about all email clients, you'll find a button or menu item labeled something like New Message or Compose or New. Here in Windows Live Mail, I just click the New button and this opens a New Message window. Now you can fill out these fields in any order, but let's work way down from the top. In the To field, you'll enter the email address of the person or people you want to send this email message to.

Your email can have any number of recipients in the To field. In all email clients, you separate the email addresses with a comma. Now I've just typed a comma and a space, but here in Windows Live Mail, it changes into a semicolon. I'll continue typing with another address, and one more. Now, as a general rule of etiquette, you should only use the To field for people for whom the message is directly addressing. For example, if you're sending out say an invitation to a party, you can just put all of your guests in the To field. But realize that each recipient of your email will be able to see the addresses of the other people you've sent the email to.

I'll tell you how to prevent this in a moment. If you want to send an email to multiple people, but you're only sending the email to one or more of the recipients as kind of an FYI, you should put the main recipient's address in the To field and the secondary recipient's address in the CC field. Now here in mail, you need to click Show Cc & Bcc, which reveals those fields. So, in some email clients the Cc and more often the Bcc fields are not visible by default, so you might have to hunt around for the button or menu item that turns those fields on for the message you're composing.

Okay, so Cc stands for carbon copy. Imagine, you're sending an email to answer a customer's question and you want to make sure your supervisor sees that you've sent the email. You would put the customer's address in the To field and your supervisor's address in the CC field. Note that the customer would also then see that you've sent a copy of this email to your supervisor. Now if you don't want your recipients to know who else received the copy of the email you're sending, put their addresses in the Bcc or blind carbon copy field. So for example, if I was sending my email mostly to this first address, but I didn't want philfry@lynda.com to know I'm sending a copy to pfarnsworth@lynda.com, I'll just delete that, I would type the pfarnsworth address in the Bcc field.

That way both of these recipients will receive the email, but only the person in the Bcc would know that it was also sent to philfry@lynda.com. The Bcc field is also useful when you need to send an email to a large number of recipients. Maybe you have several dozen customers on a mailing list. And it's considered very poor email etiquette to reveal the email addresses of strangers to each other. So if you wanted to let the people on your mailing list know about a new product of your service, you can put all of your addresses in the Bcc field. Now with some email clients, you may still have to put an address in the To field, in which case you can just place your own address in here.

So when someone receives an email in which they've been Bcc'ed on, they'll only see your address as the sender and the addresses of any other recipients of the email won't be visible to them as long as all of your other recipients are in the Bcc field. All right, once you've filled out the addresses, next we have our Subject field. Now many people tend to leave the Subject field blank, but it's always a good idea to sum up the point of your email with a short phrase. First of all, it lets your recipients know what you're emailing them about right off the bat. And secondly, if they go to search for your email later on, they'll have a better chance of finding it if you've used a good descriptive subject line.

After that, it's just a matter of composing your email. Just click in the body of the message window and type all of your message. Now in most cases, you'll just be typing plain text with no kind of formatting like bold or italics or underlines or colors or anything like that. And while many email clients, like Windows Mail here, will let you format your emails almost like a word processing document, I recommend sticking with plain text if you can. Because there are so many different email clients and no guarantees that your email will look the same on your recipient's computer as you intended, I don't think it's worth the time and effort to send a formatted email, also known as HTML email in most cases.

Now, if you're running a business and need to include product images and such, then yes, HTML email is probably a good way to go, but personal email messages, that don't really need that kind of laying out or design most of the time, you probably don't need to format them. And I will just stick with plain text. Once you're done typing your message, make sure you read it through to check for typos and make sure you've said everything you need to say. Now if you need to attach any files like photos, PDF documents, or short audio and video clips, look for and click the Attach button, which will let you browse for the file you want to attach. I don't really need to attach anything right now, so I'm just going to cancel that.

Also be aware that many email service providers limit the size of files you can send and receive over email. So if the file you attached is too large for either your or your recipient's email server, your email might get sent back to you. But if everything looks good, just click Send. And that's all there is to composing an email from scratch. Now another way to create a new message is to reply to an email. You reply when someone has sent you an email and you want to respond directly to him or her with the message related to one they've sent you. So for example, I have a message here, Thursday Meeting. Can everyone meet after work on Thursday to go over the presentation? So I would want to reply to that letting this Mr.

Richard Grayson person know that I can in fact attend this meeting. So to reply, I just click the Reply button. In most cases, this opens a new message that includes a copy of the email you receive for reference, so I can see the copy appears right here. And everything else here is the same, except you don't need to fill in the To field, because you're replying to a message and the email client will automatically fill out this field with the address of the person or people you're replying to. If necessary, you can add addresses to the Cc or Bcc fields when replying to an email.

You generally don't change the Subject field when replying to message. Reply emails usually have subject lines starting with Re, referencing,in this case the Thursday Meeting. You basically want to leave that there, so your recipients can see that you're replying to the message that they've sent you. So then just type your message and then send it off by clicking Send. Now, the third way to create a new message is to forward a message you've received from someone else. With the message selected, just click Forward.

This is similar to replying to a message and then a copy of the message is included in the body of your new email, but note the To field is blank and that the Subject field begins with Fw, sometimes as Fwd for forward. Forwarding an email is basically passing a message onto another person for them to read. You can type your own messages in the email as well, and as a general rule, you type your message in the forwarded email at the top, above the forwarded email itself. Then just make sure your recipient's email address is in the To filed and then send the message.

There you have the basics of composing email messages.

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