1. Receipt notification If you have a really important message and need to know if it’s been received, use a feature called Read Receipt in Outlook Express. This feature is available on most e-mail clients and requests the recipient to confirm that he has received the message by a return e-mail. To do this while composing a mail in Outlook Express, click on Tools > Request Read Receipt in your message window. If you desire, you can have all your outgoing messages sent with the Read Receipt notification. For this, go to Tools > Options, click on the Receipts tab and tick ‘Request a read receipt for all sent messages’. Remember, the read receipt confirmation is dependent on the e-mail client the recipient is using and also whether he wants to send the confirmation. 2. Adding signatures to your e-mail If you send a lot of mail each day, then a repetitive task like signing your name at the end of each mail can be quite tedious. It’s easier to create a signature and attach it automatically to every mail that’s sent. To do this in Outlook Express, go to Tools > Options > Signatures. Then go to New and add the contents of the signature in the Edit Text field. Also select the option of sending the signature automatically with all outgoing messages. In case you don’t want to send this with replies or forwards, enable the option, ‘Don’t add signatures to Replies and Forward’. For creative signatures, use the option to append a file that contains the signature you have created. If you happen to have multiple e-mail accounts, select the account with which you want to send the signature. To do this, go to Tools > Options > Signatures and click on the Advanced button near the Edit Signature tab. A new box will appear saying ‘Advanced Signature Settings’ where you can select the account with which the signature should be automatically added.
3. Auto-respond facility Won’t be checking mail for some time? Activate a feature called ‘vacation reply’ (if you are using a Web-based service). Most e-mail services such as Indiatimes provide this feature which can be activated through the options menu. You can type a short message which will be sent to all who e-mail you while you are away. In Outlook Express, you can do this from Tools > Message Rules > Mail and clicking on the New Rule option. Select the ‘For all Messages’ options from the condition for your rule field and in the Action select Reply with a message. You will have to select a message that you have already created and saved.
4. Keep a copy of the message If you are on a trip and want to access your e-mail from another machine, keep a copy of your messages on the server of your e-mail service provider. Go to Tools > Accounts and select the account (if you have multiple accounts), then go to Properties > Advanced. Check ‘Leave a copy on server’. This has one more advantage: if you’ve formatted your machine without taking a backup of your mail, you can retrieve the mail as a stored copy.
5. Disable MSN Messenger from auto-starting Whenever one opens Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook XP, MSN Messenger loads automatically. To disable it, go to Tools > Options in Outlook Express and uncheck ‘Automatically log on to MSN Messenger Service’. Then go to View > Layout and uncheck the option of Contacts. In Microsoft Outlook XP, go to Tools > Options > Other and uncheck ‘Enable MSN Messenger’. The over-eager Messenger won’t be so eager now!
6. Optimising your Inbox A three-step process to ensure that your Inbox never looks cluttered. 1. Organising: Outlook Express allows you to create folders within which mail can be organised. To create a new folder in Outlook Express, go to File > Folder > New. This will display the directory tree of your Inbox. Just select the location (say Inbox) where you want to create a folder and enter the Folder Name. Or, you could use the shortcut [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [E] and enter the Folder Name. You can also drag and drop folders to change their location. Folders can be quite useful, especially if you have multiple accounts configured on the same identity or to sort out e-mail messages on the basis of sender, subject, etc. 2. Filtering: Message Rules can automatically sort your mail into the appropriate folder as soon as it is downloaded. Specify the folders where you want the messages to be downloaded based on names in the From address, names in the To address, certain words in the Subject line or in the message body. Go to Message > Create Rule From Message. Create a rule selecting the appropriate options offered, and the next time you download your mail, it will be sorted according to the rules created. You can also sort your existing messages based on the message rules created. In Outlook Express, go to Tools > Message Rules and click on Mail. You will get a list of the message rules you have created. Click on ‘Apply Now...’, select the rules to apply, and click on Apply to filter your existing folder. 3. Grouping: Outlook Express allows you to group e-mail messages on the basis of the conversation carried. To enable this, go to View > Current View and click ‘Group Messages by Conversation’ (In Outlook, this option is available from View > Current View > Conversation Topic). With this feature, all e-mail messages are sorted on the basis of the subject line and the messages that are a reply to that particular subject are grouped together. A ‘+’ sign next to a message indicates responses based on that subject. 7. Download Mail to your PC If you use a Web-based e-mail service, such as those run by Yahoo! and MSN, download a copy of your mail directly to your browser. This is much quicker than using the bandwidth-hungry Web interface and also allows you to access your mail without having to be connected to the Internet. To do this first add a new account by going to Tools > Accounts > Add and select the Mail option. You will be prompted for personal details and account information. Select the POP3 server option in the screen that asks you for your e-mail server information and enter the appropriate POP3 server address for incoming mail. 8. Browsing offline Quite often you may want to refer to a page that you have visited at some point in time. While finding the link in your browser’s History is not too difficult, you can view the site without actually logging on to the Internet by going to File > Work Offline. Then just click on a link in your History folder to view the complete page from your hard disk.
9. PC-to-PC calls Buddy Phone, Yahoo! and MSN Messenger allow users to make phone calls from one computer to another, provided both computers are online. If you would like to use this facility in MSN Messenger, select your friend’s name from the list and go to Actions > Start a voice conversation. This can also be done by right-clicking on the person’s name and selecting the option of ‘Start a Voice Conversation’. After the opposite person has accepted your request, you can start talking into the microphone.
10. Split files Splitting files can increase download speeds tremendously in FlashGet. Usually, splitting the file in three or five segments is sufficient. However, if you are downloading a particularly large file which is available from several servers, you could get better speeds by increasing the number of segments being downloaded simultaneously. The number of segments that you want the file in can be set in the option box that pops up when a download begins. Just set the option for the number of segments that you want the file to be split into.