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You can use either of the following two editors to read or send email messages:

  • The built-in Outlook editor, which is used in the standard Message form. The Outlook editor is fast and probably has all the features you need (Figure 6.45).

  • Figure 6.45Figure 6.45 Using the Outlook editor to compose a message.

  • The figures presented so far in this chapter have shown the Word editor and the advanced Message form. Although it's slower starting, it provides many sophisticated features not available in the Outlook editor—for example, alternative document views; formatting styles; automatic insertion, correction, and formatting of text; and checking of spelling as you type.

Whichever editor you employ, you can use any of the following basic formats for the new email messages you create:

  • Plain text doesn't let you format text or add graphics, but it can be read by virtually any recipient. If you use this format, the formatting and graphics commands in the Message form are disabled. Deceptively, in Word you can use the formatting or graphics commands, but formatting and graphics are removed when you save or send the message.

  • Rich Text lets you format text—change fonts, italicize, indent paragraphs, and so on—and insert graphics. Many recipients, however, won't be able to view the formatting. With this format, you can use the formatting commands described in the section "Formatting Text" in Chapter 3.

  • HTML (hypertext markup language, the format used for Web pages), lets you format text, insert pictures, assign styles to text (such as Heading 1 or Bulleted List), apply a background picture or color to the message, insert horizontal dividing lines, and get a head start in creating attractive messages by using predesigned stationery. Many recipients, however, won't be able to view these HTML features. Figure 6.46 shows some of the additional commands available in the Message form with the HTML format.

  • Figure 6.46Figure 6.46 Commands available in the Message form only when you use the HTML format. Not shown are the Insert menu commands for inserting a horizontal line, a picture, or a hyperlink.


When you reply to or forward an email message, Outlook matches the format of the incoming message.

If a recipient's email service or program doesn't transmit or display Rich Text or HTML, a plain text version of the message will generally be displayed. But you can avoid wasted effort by not sending formatted or graphical messages to such users.

To change your email editor or format:

  1. Choose Tools > Options and open the Mail Format tab in the Options dialog box (Figure 6.47).

  2. Figure 6.47Figure 6.47 The Mail Format tab of the Options dialog box.

  3. Select options as desired:

    • Choose the email format you wish to use in the Compose in This Message Format list box.

    • If you want to use Word as your email editor, check Use Microsoft Word to Edit E-Mail Messages. In this case, none of the options described in the remainder of this list will be available. You'll have to select the desired options within Word itself.

    • To select the default fonts used in your messages, click the Fonts button and select options in the Fonts dialog box.

    • If you selected the HTML format, you can choose default stationery to be used for your new messages in the Use This Stationery by Default list box. Or you can click the Stationery Picker button to preview each type of stationery in the Stationery Picker dialog box (Figure 6.48) and select the one you want. Using stationery to create a message adds a background picture and initial text to give you a head start in creating an attractive message for a particular purpose (such as a party invitation, formal announcement, or holiday card).

    • Figure 6.48Figure 6.48 The Stationery picker dialog box.

    • You can have Outlook automatically insert a signature at the end of the email messages you create for each account. Select the account desired from the Select the Signatures to Use with the Following Account list box (Figure 6.49). Choose the signature from the Signature for New Messages and/or Signature for Replies and Forwards list box. A signature is a block of text that usually contains your name, profession, address, Web page, or other information. If you haven't yet created a signature, you'll need to click the Signatures button and then click the New button in the Create Signature dialog box (Figure 6.50) to compose a signature.

    • Figure 6.49Figure 6.49 Selecting an account to assign a signature.

      Figure 6.50Figure 6.50 The Create Signature dialog box lets you view, edit, or create a signature.

  4. Click the OK button.


You can create a new message using any email format, overriding the default, by choosing Actions > New Mail Message Using and then choosing a format on the submenu (Figure 6.51).

Figure 6.51Figure 6.51 Creating a new email message with a specific format, overriding the default format.

If you're using the Outlook editor by default, you can create a single message in Word—using the current default email format—by choosing Actions > New Mail Message Using > Microsoft Word (Format), where Format is the name of the current default email format (Plain Text, Rich Text, or HTML).

If the recipient's email program does not support or accept HTML messages, the background does not appear in the message but (depending on the program) will be attached to the message as a file.

To transmit messages from your Outbox:

  • To transmit all messages in your Outbox, without receiving email, choose Tools > Send/Receive > Send All.

  • To transmit all messages in your Outbox and to receive email from all enabled accounts or email information services, click the Send/Receive button on the Standard toolbar, or choose Tools > Send/Receive > Send/Receive All, or press F9. (For instructions on enabling specific accounts or information services for receiving email, see the earlier section "To receive email messages manually."

  • To transmit only messages that are to be sent using a particular account or information service and to receive messages from that account or information service only, choose Tools > Send/Receive and then choose the account or information service name from the submenu (Figure 6.52).

  • Outlook will transmit each message using the appropriate mail account or information service.

  • Figure 6.52Figure 6.52 Sending and receiving messages using a specific email account.


If you want to resend a message— perhaps as a friendly reminder if the recipient hasn't yet replied—open the message (it will normally be stored in your Sent Items folder) and in the form choose Actions > Resend This Message.

You can send a fax message using a fax modem. To send an outgoing fax from Outlook, you must add the Fax Transport service to your profile (choose Tools > E-mail Accounts, click Add a New Email Account, Next, Additional Server Types) or use a third-party fax service. You can also print a document to the Fax Printer, which Windows adds automatically when you add a fax modem. However, faxing is not covered in this book.

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