The computer helper: Master e-mail attachments
By Jay Dougherty Nov 13, 2006, 2:21 GMT
Washington - E-mail attachments are a part of life for most computer users today. Yet working with those attachments can be far from intuitive.
When you open an attachment, for example, can you edit it and save those changes in the attachment itself? Can a group of files and folders be sent as one attachment?
And can you click Reply All and include the attachment that was originally sent? Read on for some answers.
Q: I received a Word document as an e-mail attachment. I opened the document, edited it, and saved it. Then I closed Word. Now I can't find the document. It doesn't appear on Word's list of recently used files, and it's not in any directory that I can see. What happened?
A: The first thing you need to do before working with a document you receive as a file attachment is to save the file to a local disk, such as your hard drive. Then you can work on it, edit it, and save it.
If you open a document you receive as an attachment, edit it, and expect to see those changes reflected in the copy of the file stored in the e-mail message, you'll be disappointed. That's because Windows stores a copy of the attachment in a temporary Internet files directory on your hard drive, and any changes you make to the file without first saving it to a normal directory or folder will be stored in the copy of the file in that special directory.
You can see that temporary Internet files directory by opening the Windows Control Panel and double-clicking the Internet Options icon. In the resulting Internet Properties dialog box, locate the section labeled Temporary Internet Files, and click the Settings button. From the Settings dialog box, click the View Files button. A window called Temporary Internet Files will open, and there you'll see lots of files that are stored temporarily as you work with e-mail and the Internet.
You may be able to locate your edited copy of the e-mail attachment in that folder. In the future, however, saving the file first to a conventional folder on your hard drive will save you the headache of wondering what happened to your changes.
Q: How can I send a folder that contains other folders and files as one e-mail attachments?
A: The easiest way is to install and use a compression program that will zip up the folders and files and attach the resulting compressed file to an e-mail message with one click on your part.
Most compression programs today - including WinZip (http://www.winzip.com) and WinRAR (http://www.rarlab.com) - will install compression options on the right-click menu available from the Windows Explorer file manager. One of these options will be something along the lines of 'Compress and email.'
After you install the compression utility, just use Windows Explorer to navigate to the folder that contains the other folders and files you wish to e-mail, select the folder, and click your right mouse button. From the resulting pop-up menu, choose 'Compress and email.' You'll be prompted for a name for the compressed file - you can choose the default name - and perhaps a compression format. When you click OK, the program will compress the folders and files and launch an e-mail composition window with your compressed file attached. You just supply the e-mail address and click Send.
Your recipient will need a compression utility that can handle the compression format that you chose. Most Windows XP users - and many others - can handle the ubiquitous ZIP format, supported by both WinZip and WinRAR.
Q: Sometimes I receive an e-mail message that contains an attachment. When I click Reply or Reply All, the attachment becomes disconnected from the e-mail message. How do I reply while including the original attachment?
A: Instead of clicking Reply or Reply All, you need to click Forward. Forwarding an e-mail message will retain any files attached to it.
What you lose in forwarding, however, are all of the e-mail addresses that might have been in the To or CC line. So you'll have to go back to the original e-mail message and copy those e-mail addresses in order to paste them into the message that you're forwarding.
Alternatively, you could first save the attachment to your hard drive, click Reply or Reply all, and then re-attach the original file. Choose the method most appropriate to your situation.
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