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This is a small world, and thanks to the wonder of e-mail, it seems to be shrinking every day. Once the domain of
rocket scientists, everyone from grannies to mere babes in arms seems to have e-mail accounts these days. All we need now is an easy, foolproof way of managing your mail. Enter Outlook Express 5.0, the freebie e-mail package that comes bundled with IE5. Never before has it been so simple to get communicating on-line, especially with our gamut of hints and pointers. You'll be in touch and on-line in no time. 1. Create a brand new account
These days more and more people have more than one e-mail account, usually keeping separate addresses for work and personal use. With Outlook Express 5 you can easily manage a number of different accounts from the same Inbox.
Find Accounts under the Tools menu and hit the Add button. Choose Mail and follow the on-screen wizard, adding your account name and password and the names of both your incoming and outgoing mail servers when asked. To create an extra account, simply repeat the procedure.
When you want to send and receive messages you can either check every account by choosing Tools, Send and Receive to select Send and Receive All, or just handle one account at a time by returning to Send and Receive and choosing the individual account name from the list.2. Find an interesting newsgroup to read
Go to Tools, Newsgroups and, unless you’ve already used newsgroups through Outlook Express, the program will search for all lists currently on-line. Be warned, these run into the tens of thousands so this may take some time. Once done, the Newsgroup Subscription window will open, enabling you to search for groups that match your interests. Type in a word describing what you want to talk about, such as ‘overclocking’, and Outlook Express will display those groups that contain those words in their title. Click on Subscribe and an icon will appear by the group’s name.
Now you will find those newsgroups you’ve subscribed to listed in the Folders window. To download the latest messages simply click on the group name. 3. Blocking unwanted mail
Someone annoyed you on a newsgroup? Never want to hear from them again? Simple. From your e-mail Inbox or Newsgroup window select a message from the offending sender. Under the Message menu, select Block Sender. That person’s e-mail address appears in the Address box and from here you set your required blocking option – whether you want to ignore any mail from them at all, or maybe just their news postings. This done, no further messages from the black-listed sender will appear in your Inbox.
If you have a change of heart, remove the person from the list by going to Message Rules under the Tools menu, clicking on Block Messages List. By highlighting the address in question and hitting Remove, the person is free to mail you once again.4. Group messages and replies together
When a large number of people start getting involved in e-mail or newsgroup conversations, replies to a certain message can be hard to spot. Outlook Express can sort replies so they appear under the original posting.
From within your Inbox or Newsgroup, pull down on the View menu until you reach Current View, then select Group Messages by Conversation. Now click the plus sign that appears to the left of the original message and the full list of replies will scroll down.
To view only replies to your own messages, select Show messages to my messages from the Current View options.5. Signing off
Signature files are a useful way of signing off e-mails, and enable you to automatically add a link to your Web site, list your contact details or even just print a favourite quote or phrase. The only trouble is that the signature you may include in messages to your friends may not necessarily be in the right tone for mails to your boss. Outlook Express enables you to set up multiple signatures geared towards different kinds of messages.
Pull down the Tools menu and select Options. Click the Signatures tab and select New. Type the text for your signature in the Edit Signature box or click on the File option to select a file from your hard drive that you want to send with every message. Repeat this for different signatures, selecting the one you’ll use most by hitting the Set as default button.
Tick the Add Signatures to all Outgoing messages box to do what it says, namely attach the default text to every mail you send, although you can add alternate signatures by going to Signatures in the Insert menu and picking the appropriate file.6. Add a little style
If you want your e-mails to stand out in your friend’s inbox (assuming they also use Outlook Express), why not use the program’s stationary to jazz up an otherwise dull message with background images or attractive sidebars?
Open a new message and select Format, Apply Stationary. Choose from the list of stationary offered or pick More Stationery for a wider selection. If you can’t find a theme that takes your fancy, hit Create New and follow the instructions to build your own templates, adding pictures and styles from your own collection. Once saved your own creations are stored in the main stationary folder.7. Check spelling
An e-mail riddled with spelling mistakes doesn’t exactly make the best impression. Go to Tools and pull down to Options before switching to the Spelling tab. Click on Always check spelling before sending and the next time you send a mail, Outlook Express will automatically cast a critical eye over your text suggesting alternative spellings for dubious words.
Make sure, however, that you highlight the Ignore the original text in reply or forward or you’ll waste time as the computer piles through the sender’s message as well as your reply. Also, check that the spellchecker is set to English (UK); otherwise Outlook Express will think you should be using Americanisms like ‘color’ and ‘honor’ in your e-mails.8. Forward messages en masse
If you have a number of saved messages that you want to send to a friend in one fell swoop, go to the folder containing all the messages you want to forward and, making sure you hold down the [Control] key, click on each and every one of them. Once they are all highlighted, hit the Forward button on the main toolbar and a New Message window will open, with all your chosen e-mail marked as attachments. Now, all you have to do is complete the message and send it on its way.9. Automatically check for e-mail
Unless you constantly remember to keep checking your Inbox, chances are you could miss that one vital e-mail. To prevent this, OE can act as your personal secretary, making sure your messages always get to you on time.
Choose Tools, Options and, from the General tab, pick Check for New Messages Every 0 minutes, changing the number of minutes to your chosen setting. Now every time you go on-line, Outlook Express will automatically check to see if you have any new messages at the allotted time and inform you accordingly.
10. Importing address books
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When you begin using Outlook Express there’s no need to start
your address book from scratch. You can import contact details
from any other Windows address file, Microsoft Exchange Personal
Address Book or text file. Under the File menu, scroll down
to Import and select Windows Address Book. Then simply browse
to find the WAB file on your computer and hit Open.
For non-Windows address books, point to Other Address Book under Import and find the file in the same way. If OE can’t see your address book, then just export it from the original program as either a CSV text file, or a LDAP Directory Interchange Format (LDIF) file, and import that into OE.11. Gone fishing
If you’re away for a long period of time, the last thing you want when you get home is a Inbox full of messages from folk increasingly angry that you haven’t replied. Let them know where you are by creating a message in your word processor and saving it as a text file. Next, go to the Tools menu in Outlook Express and select Message Tools, picking the Mail options. Under the Select conditions for your rule window pick For All Messages and highlight Reply with Message under the Select the Actions for your rule prompt. Under the Rule Description you will see a Message hyperlink. Click here and browse for the text file you saved earlier. Finally, when Outlook Express asks you for the name of the rule, call it ‘auto reply’ and hit OK.12. Use OE from your Web browser
Setting Outlook Express as your default e-mail program means that whenever you click an
e-mail or newsgroup link on a Web page it will open Outlook Express. Under Tools, go to Options and hit the General tab. When the Default Messaging Programs window appears, hit the Make Default button for both news and mail.13. Get organised
Do you like to keep all your messages saved just in case? That’s fine unless you keep them all in your Inbox, which makes things incredibly difficult to find. Avoid future confusion by going to the File menu, selecting Folder and then New Folder. Choose where you want the subfolder to be located and give it a name. The new folder will appear in the Folder window, so that you can drag messages to it from the Inbox.14. Export your address book
If you travel a lot and want to take your address book with you, but won’t necessarily be able to access the contact lists on another PC, don’t worry.
First open your Address Book and then select File, Export. Select Other Address Book and choose Text File (Comma Separated Values). You will be then asked to give the exported Address Book a name, and then tell Outlook Express exactly what fields you want to save in the new file, for example contact name and e-mail address. Click OK and the required information will be saved as a file that anyone with a text editor can open.15. Add contacts
When you receive an e-mail from someone you want to add to your Address Book, right-click the message and select Add sender to Address Book. Alternatively you can set Outlook Express to automatically update your Address Book whenever you reply to a message. Go to Tools, Options and on the Send tab tick Automatically put people I reply to in my Address Book.16. Here’s my card
Making sure that people have your full contact details is easy with Outlook Express. The Business Card takes all your own personal information from the Address Book and stores it in vCard format, which can be used with a variety of operating systems.
First of all, create an entry for yourself in the Address Book by choosing File, New, Contact. Once this is done, go back to File and pull down to Export before clicking Business Card (vCard). Choose a location to store the card and hit Save. The next time you create a new message, select My Business Card from the Insert menu to attach the card. 17. Send large messages with OE
To keep Internet traffic moving along quickly, a lot of mail servers slap a limit on the size of messages you can send or receive, usually making it impossible to send files larger than 1Mb. Outlook Express can break down larger messages into manageable chunks which are knitted back together when the message arrives in your contact’s Inbox.
Go to Accounts under the Tools menu and, from the Mail tab, click on Properties. Switch to the Advanced tab and tick the Break apart messages larger than x KB box, making sure you enter the maximum file size that your server will allow.18. Share contacts between your different identities
You may have more than one user using your PC, but want to share a common Address Book. No problem. Hit the Address button on the main toolbar to open the Address Book window and select the contact you need to share. Highlight the name and drag it into the Shared Contacts folder. Now whoever uses Outlook Express can see this contact by going to the Shared Contact folder in the Address Book window.
Remember that dragging the contact from your own Address Book to the Shared Contact folder will remove it from your original list. To keep the contact in your Address Book, make a copy of the contact details and then drag that into the Shared folder instead of the original.19. Read newsgroups off-line
To save yourself whopping great phone bills, set up Outlook Express to download newsgroup messages or headline for you to read off-line. In the Folders window, select the newsgroup and under the Tools menu choose Synchronise Newsgroup. This will give you the option to download All Messages when on-line, New Messages to choose postings that have appeared on the newsgroup since you last logged on, or Headers Only to select only the subject, author and message size.
If you choose the last option and spot a message that you want to read next time you go on-line, highlight the message title, right-click and select Download later. A blue arrow will appear by the posting to indicate that the full text will be downloaded when you next go on-line.20. Spring clean your newsgroups
When you’ve subscribed to a lively newsgroup your directory can soon become clogged up with unwanted messages, unwanted attachments or even corrupt postings that just take up valuable hard-drive space.
To tidy these up, go to the Tools menu and select Options. In the Options window, click on the Maintenance tab and select Clean Up Now. Make sure you have the newsgroup you want to sort highlighted in the File Information window and click Compact to get rid of any wasted space in the directory. You can also remove all message bodies with the Remove Messages button or wipe out all text and headers by hitting Delete.