A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
How To Add Attachments To Your E-Mail Messages July 6th, 2000
Reader Glen Meide wrote with a good question this week. Glen is a new iMac user who wants to be able to send photo attachments with his e-mail, but he doesn't know where to start.
There are going to be differences for each user depending on their particular e-mail service, but there are also some generic aspects that I hope will be helpful.
Glen has a scanner so he doesn't have to depend on anyone else to scan his photos. If you don't have a scanner you will have to arrange for your photos to be scanned at a commercial establishment or through a friend. (By the way, I got a really good deal on a scanner from eBay so it might be worth your while checking if you want one.)
The first step to this process is to scan and save the photos in the proper universal format. By that I mean, a format that can opened and read by any type computer, anywhere. Both GIF and JPEG (.gif or .jpg) fit this category. The only difference in the two seems to be that .gif is more suited to sending line art while .jpg lends itself more readily to photographs. However, in my experience you can interchange them without much problem and sometimes that matters because your scanner may not offer you both choices. I don't know why that is so, but it has happened to me enough that I know it is real. Actually, this is much more of a problem for me when using a scanner at work with my PC than when using my beloved iMac. There are other formats you could use to save photos, but out of consideration for the recipients I suggest that you stay with the formats that are most familiar to the most people.
Sometimes when you scan you may find that neither option is available. So what do you do then? I have learned from trial and error to save the document to my desktop in whatever format the scanner allows. It may be a .tiff or some other format that doesn't mean much to you. Then you can try saving it again (from your desktop) as a GIF or JPEG with whatever graphics application you prefer. I am personally very fond of GraphicConverter.
You also can try manipulating your scanner to get the item saved as you want. For instance the scanner I use at work allows me to save documents as either a whole page, or as selected parts which I accomplish by placing the cursor at the top left hand corner and pulling down until I have enclosed just the part I want to save in a selection box. I have found that while the "whole page" option may not allow the choice of GIF or JPEG, the selection box option does. Each product will be different so you can either experiment (my favorite choice) or be practical and try and read the manual.
So, you have successfully saved your items in a GIF or JPEG format - now what?
If Your E-mail Program Is Outlook Express
Outlook Express has an option at the top that has a paper clip icon and the words Add Attachments. Click on that and an option box labeled Choose Object will open that allows you to choose the item(s) you want to save. Assuming you have saved your document to your desktop, make sure the pulldown menu at the top of the Choose Object box is on Desktop. Then just scroll down to the item you want to attach and select Choose. Your item will be "attached" and will go out when you send your e-mail. You will not be able to see the item itself, but right below the subject line at the top of your screen is the word Attachment. Once you have successfully completed the attachment it will be listed there and you will have verification that you have done it correctly. That is all there is to it. Just select Send and the message, with attachment, is on its way.
Alternately, you can also just simply drag the icon of the file you want to attach to the e-mail that you are sending out. This too will properly attach a file and is easier for many users.
You can attach as many items to your e-mail as you want but it is important to remember that the more you have attached, the longer it will take to open. As a general rule, I make it a habit to limit my attachments to 3 per message, but that is a personal choice.
If your E-mail is an Internet Service Such as Yahoo or AltaVista
Some e-mail systems will impose a 3 message limit. As an example Yahoo does this. When sending an e-mail using Yahoo you will find the Attachment option at the bottom, below the message section. To the right of the word Attachment is a box and following that are the words Edit Attachments. Edit Attachments is a link and you simply complete the three steps of selecting the item to be attached and indicating you are "Done." With Yahoo you can select more than one attachment at a time by repeating the steps.
To send an attachment using Alta Vista the first step is to select Attachments from the top of the e-mail composition page. Selecting that will send you to a new page that has a simple 3 step process for adding attachments.
But Mine Is Something Else
As I said at the start of this, there are lots and lots of e-mail programs out there, but I hope these general hints will help anyone figure out how to use their e-mail service to achieve their goals. Many of the e-mail programs on the market follow the same general ideas, and most allow you to drag the file directly to the e-mail as I described in the Outlook Express section.
Welcome To New Readers
Last week my first submission to MacHome Hot Tips was published and some new readers have been kind enough to write and express their pleasure about finding The Mac Observer. I would like to personally welcome everyone and to encourage new readers to write with questions.
If you have any tips, suggestions, or other comments about this, or any other Mac topics, send them to me so that I can share them with other readers.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color,
covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.