Byte Me Article 86 – Creating efficiency in emails

-Creating efficiency in emails

18 August, 2012

Compared to the humble letter through the post, emails have been around for a relatively short space of time – first appearing around 1973 but not really being used in mass until the 80’s.  If you had said to the average person back then – ‘I’ll email you’ it probably would have been taken as a physical threat.  Unfortunately like nearly any new technology people have found ways to misuse it for either personal gain or just for nuisance value.  Hence we have the modern day appearance of ‘spam’ emails that either take up our time until we recognise and delete them as well as the emails which sometimes carry a file attachment with an associated virus or Trojan to wreak havoc on our PC.

However, no one can dismiss how useful (if not vital) emails have become.  What we are interested in conveying here are some tips to help you utilise the email system even more effectively.  The first tip is having a PDF writer (a small software program) installed on your computer.  We suggest using ‘CutePDF Writer’ which is available as a free download from the Internet.  What CutePDF will do is appear as a printer on your system.  So basically whatever you have on your screen (a word document, excel spread sheet, bank transfer receipt or even a picture) can be printed to CutePDF as a file which can then easily be emailed.  The common PDF reader (Adobe Acrobat Reader) is also a free download and can then display this file on the recipients screen as well as allowing the recipient to be able to print out the file (with the same formatting / colours) as the original.

2012-08-18 Byte Me Article 86 - CutePDF

What this means is that without the email recipient having to have the same original software package (Word, excel etc.) they can still view and print the document in its original form.  The extras here are a that the PDF file that was created is often much smaller in size than the original (Lending itself to emailing easily) and it can’t be changed at the other end or tampered with – again lending itself to the likes of quotes and invoices.

Another email tip that we suggest is having a ‘signature’ at the end of each email with at least your phone number, as it is often after getting an email that you need to talk to the sender directly and it is always a frustrating task to then have to hunt around for a phone number when it could be right in front of you.  You will also find that for a project or occasion that many people are involved in the ‘Reply To All’ button provided in email packages is a great way of keeping everyone ‘in the loop’.

Modern computers have enormous hard drive space for emails and especially the later versions of Microsoft Outlook can store thousands of emails.  As a result of this we never suggest keeping an important email separately in your documents folder by using the ‘Save As’ feature but rather keeping it in your email package and making sure that you backup your actual email files.  This will not slow down a modern PC and allows you to search and find an important email even if it is years old.  As an example – my own ‘Sent Items’ folder has 25,000 emails dating back 13 years – which I can search in a split second. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 07 49 222 400.

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