Windows Vista : Communicating with Windows Mail - Sending Messages (part 1) - Creating a Signature, Creating an Email Shortcut for a Recipient

8/30/2012 3:08:00 AM
Composing a basic message in Windows Mail is straightforward, and it isn’t all that much different from composing a letter or memo in WordPad. There are a number of ways to get started, not all of them well known. Here’s a summary:
  • In Windows Mail, select Message, New Message; press Ctrl+N; or click the Create Mail toolbar button.

  • In Internet Explorer, pull down the Page menu and then choose one of the following commands:

    Send Page by E-mailSelect this command to create a new message with the current web page as the content of the message.
    Send Link by E-mailSelect this command to create a new message with a URL shortcut file attached. This file is a shortcut for the current website that the recipient can click to load that site into Internet Explorer.

  • In a web page, click a mailto link. This creates a new message addressed to the recipient specified by the link.

  • In Windows Explorer, right-click a file and then click Send To, Mail Recipient. This creates a new message with the file attached.

From here, if you have multiple email accounts, use the From list to select the account from which you want to send the message. Use the To field to enter the address of the recipient; use the Cc field to enter the address of a recipient that you want to receive a copy of the message; use the Bcc field to enter the addresses of any recipients you want to receive blind copies of the message. (By default, Windows Mail does not display the Bcc field. To see it, select the View, All Headers command.) Note that in each field you can specify multiple recipients by separating the addresses with a semicolon (;).

Use the Subject field to enter a brief description of the message, and then use the box below the Subject field to enter your message. To send your message, you have two choices:

  • Select File, Send Message (or press Alt+S)— This tells Windows Mail to send the message out to the Internet right away.

  • Select File, Send Later— This command tells Windows Mail to store the message in the Outbox folder. If you choose this route, Windows Mail displays a dialog box telling you that your message is stored in the Outbox folder. Click OK. When you’re ready to send the message, select the Tools, Send and Receive, Send All command in the Windows Mail window.

Taking Control of Your Messages

Windows Mail offers many more options for composing messages than the simple steps outlined in the previous section. Here’s a summary of the other features and techniques you can use to modify your outgoing messages:

  • Choosing the message format— Pull down the Format menu and select either Rich Text (HTML) or Plain Text. If you select the HTML sending format, use any of the formatting options found on the Format menu or the Formatting toolbar. Remember, however, that not all systems will transfer the rich text formatting (although most will).

  • Setting the message prioritySelect Message, Set Priority, and then choose the level—High, Normal, or Low—from the submenu that appears. Alternatively, drop down the Set Priority toolbar list and then click the level you want.

  • Attaching a file— Select Insert, File Attachment, or click the Attach File to Message toolbar button, use the Open dialog box to select a file, and then click Open. Windows Mail adds an Attach box below the Subject line and displays the name and size of the file. To remove the attachment, click it in the Attach box and then press Delete.


    Another way to attach a file to a message is to drag the file from Windows Explorer and drop it in the body of the message.

  • Inserting a file into the message— Depending on the type of object you want to work with, Windows Mail gives you two methods of inserting objects (first click the position within the message where you want the file inserted):

    Inserting file textIf you have text in a separate file that you want to add to the message, select the Insert, Text from File command. In the Insert Text File dialog box that appears, select the file and click Open. Windows Mail adds the file’s contents to the message.
    Inserting an imageTo insert an image file into the message, select Insert, Picture. In the Picture dialog box that appears, select the image file and click Open. Windows Mail inserts the picture into the message.

  • Applying stationery— Email stationery is a predefined message format that includes a background image and text. This is essentially a web page to which you can also add your own text. You choose stationery by selecting the Format, Apply Stationery command, and then picking out the stationery you want from the submenu that appears. Note that you can also begin a message with specific stationery by selecting the Message, New Message Using command in Windows Mail and then selecting the stationery. (Alternatively, drop down the Create Mail toolbar list and click the stationery you want.)

    Working with Stationery

    To set default stationery, select Tools, Options and then display the Compose tab. In the Stationery group, activate the Mail check box and then click the Select button to the right of that check box. Use the Select Stationery dialog box to choose the default stationery and then click OK. Note that the stationery files are HTML files, so if you know how to create your own web pages, you can also create your own stationery. Be sure to store the web page file in the following folder:

    %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\Stationery

    Another way to create stationery is to click the Create New button in the Compose tab. (This button is also available in the Select Stationery dialog box.) This launches the Stationery Setup Wizard that takes you through the steps required to create custom stationery.

  • Inserting a signature— A signature is text that appears at the bottom of a message. Most people use a signature to provide their email and web addresses, their company contact information, and perhaps a snappy quote or epigram that reflects their personality. If you’ve defined a signature (see the next section), you can insert it into the body of the message at the current cursor position by selecting Insert, Signature. If you’ve defined multiple signatures, select the one you want from the submenu that appears.

  • Requesting a read receipt— To ask the recipient to send you a read receipt, select the Tools, Request Read Receipt command. Note that you can also set up Windows Mail to request a read receipt for all outgoing messages. In the Windows Mail window, select Tools, Options and then display the Receipts tab. Activate the Request a Read Receipt for All Sent Messages check box, and click OK. (Of course, asking for a read receipt is one thing, but actually receiving one is quite another. Unless the recipient’s email client is set up to automatically send read receipts when requested, the decision on whether to send a read receipt is up to the recipient, and most people opt not to send them.)

  • Digitally signing or encrypting a message.

Creating a Signature

A signature is a few lines of text that provide contact information and other data. Windows Mail enables you to define a signature and append it to the bottom of every outgoing message (you can also insert it by hand in individual messages). Follow these steps to define a signature:

In the main Windows Mail window, select Tools, Options to open the Options dialog box.

Display the Signatures tab.

Click New to add a new signature to the Signatures list.

The default name for each new signature (such as Signature #1) is not very informative. To define a new name, click the signature, click Rename, type the new name, and then press Enter.

You now have two choices:

  • Type the signature text by hand— Activate the Text option and type your signature in the box provided.

  • Get the signature from a text fileActivate the File option and enter the full path to the file in the box provided. (Alternatively, click Browse to choose the file from a dialog box.) In this case, note that if the file is in HTML format, the recipient might not see your signature correctly if their email client doesn’t support HTML or (more likely these days) the recipient has opted to view all messages in plain text.

If you want Windows Mail to add the signature to all of your messages, activate the Add Signatures to All Outgoing Messages check box.

If you’d rather use the signature only on original messages, leave the Don’t Add Signature to Replies and Forwards check box activated.

Windows Mail adds the default signature automatically if you activated the Add Signatures to All Outgoing Messages check box. To set a signature as the default, select it in the Signatures list and then click Set as Default.

To associate a signature with one or more accounts, select the signature in the Signatures list and then click Advanced. In the Advanced Signature Settings dialog box, activate the check box beside each account with which you want to associate the signature. Click OK.

Click OK to put the signature options into effect.

Creating an Email Shortcut for a Recipient

If you don’t leave Windows Mail open all day, when you want to send a message it can seem like a lot of work to start the program, compose the new message, send it, and then close Windows Mail. You can save yourself a couple of steps by creating an email shortcut for a particular recipient on your desktop or in a folder such as Quick Launch. When you open the shortcut, a new email message window appears, already addressed to the recipient. You fill in the rest of the message and send it, all without starting Windows Mail. Follow these steps to create an email shortcut:

Display the desktop or open the folder in which you want to create the shortcut.

Right-click the desktop or folder and then select New, Shortcut. The Create Shortcut dialog box appears.

In the text box, type the following (where address is the email address of the recipient; see the example in Figure 1):


Figure 1. Type mailto:address to create an email shortcut for an email recipient.

Click Next.

Type a title for the shortcut (such as the person’s name or email address).

Click Finish.
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