E-mail Tips

| Monday, August 11, 2008
© Moreniche

Choosing a Password

When you create a password for your email account, you should choose something that you will remember easily but others will not guess. Do not use plain words or numbers (such as birthdays or phone numbers) for passwords. In general, a good password will have a mix of lower- and upper-case characters, numbers, and punctuation marks, and should be at least 6 characters long. Never give your password to anyone!


When you are finished reading or sending messages, it is important to log out of your account (look for a button or link with words like Log Out, Sign Off, or something similar). When you log out, access to your account is terminated, and the next person to use the computer will not be able to access it.

Subject Lines

When sending a message, be sure to give the message a brief but descriptive subject heading. Each message in the recipient’s inbox will be listed by the subject heading, alerting the recipient to the contents and importance of the message. For example, “Plans for the reunion” would be a more useful subject line than “Hey there”.

Fancy text and characters

Although your email software may allow you to create text that is bold, italicized, or in color, be aware that the recipient’s email software may not be capable of displaying that special formatting, and the message may appear in plain, black-and-white text. Likewise, any special characters you add,

such as accented vowels or characters from languages other than English (é, ö, ñ), may

be replaced by other characters that make the words seem like garbage (e.g.: “pâté de

foie gras” may be displayed as “p=E9t=E8 de foie gras”.

Emphasis and Emoticons

Emails are often very informal and are written in a conversational tone. Unfortunately, since the tone of voice is lost in the writing, it is easy to misinterpret the intent of what is written.

One way of giving slight emphasis to a particular word is to enclose it in asterisks:

E.g.: “*Please* try to be on time.”

Using capitalized words is considered the equivalent of shouting:

E.g.: “Please TRY TO BE ON TIME.”

Another way to convey emotion is through the use of groups of characters (viewed sideways), called emoticons:

:-) smiley face :-( frown

;-) wink :-p sticking out tongue


Attachments are separate computer files, such as digital photos, word-processed documents, or spreadsheets, that are included with email messages. Unfortunately attachments can also be used to spread computer viruses, so never open an attachment unless you are absolutely sure whom the message came from and what the attachment contains. If in doubt, do not open it! Instead, write the sender a message to confirm that they sent the attachment.