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Control how you send and see mail messages

Control how you send and see messages
This course will give you the information you need to choose and control message formats in Microsoft® Office Outlook® 2003 both for e-mail messages you send and for those you receive.

About this course

This course includes:

  • Two self-paced lessons and two practice sessions for hands-on experience.
  • A short test at the end of each lesson; tests are not scored.
  • A Quick Reference Card you can take away from the course.


After completing this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the differences between HTML, Rich Text, and Plain Text e-mail message formats.
  • Choose the right format for your audience and avoid sending "gobbledygook" or a winmail.dat attachment.
  • Understand which format causes attachments to appear inline and which ones show them in the message header.
  • Know how to change the default format for all messages you send (and even set a different default for messages that go to specific people).
  • Control the format used to view messages that are sent to you and understand why some types of pictures and attachments are blocked.

Before you begin

Before you can send and see messages, Outlook must be configured correctly. Here’s a great place to go to start that process:

Outlook Overview: Setting up e-mail accounts in Outlook

For training specifically about attachments, see Send and receive photos and attachments with confidence.

There are many good reasons to pay attention to the formatting of your e-mail messages:

Message format dictates how text and images are displayed. If the person on the receiving end of your message is using an e-mail system that can't decode your formatting, it may not make any sense to them.

Formatting also affects the size of your messages. If your message recipient is using a slow connection, those fancy touches may not be entirely welcome. Pictures and extra formatting may make the message bigger, which means it could take a long time to download.

Finally, the messages you receive can also be more or less effective, depending on the way you view them. Take this course and learn how Outlook lets you control how you send and see messages.

To learn more about this course, read the overview in the center of this page or the table of contents in the left column.

When you're done reading this page, click Next to start the first lesson.

In some corporations, message format is set when Outlook is installed. If this applies to you, only parts of this course may be useful for you.

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