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Tips from Tonna for your PC
How do I use colors and fonts in my email messages?
by Tonna Kutner

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Q: I’ve gotten email where people have typed with different colors and fonts and used textures or colors for background.  How can I do that with my email to make my messages more distinctive?

A: You’re right, more and more people are sending out email that is far from plain.  There are many ways to do this, but the simplest is to set up what is called “stationery” in your email program.  Using stationery, you can change the font, font size, color, and sometimes use different graphics or colors for the background.

Of course, it’s a little different depending on the email program you are using (some don’t offer this feature).  I’ll go over the steps for Outlook, Outlook Express and Eudora.  If you have another email program, try looking up “stationery” in the help file.

Stationery is an opportunity to make your email more interesting, expressive and easier to read, however, it can also be annoying.  Choose colors and fonts that are easy on the eyes.  Keep in mind that some people cannot receive stationery because it is coded in HTML.  For others, it takes a long time for the stationery messages to load.  Know your audience; try sending to a few friends as a test and get their feedback.

In Outlook, click Tools, Options and then click the Mail Format tab.  In the “Send in this message format” box, click HTML.  Click the Stationery Picker button, and then click New and enter a name for your stationery.  Choose “start from scratch”. Then click on next.

This page gives you options of choosing different existing stationery, which you can see at the bottom of the window.  Select existing backgrounds, or you can choose colors (they’re all pretty bright, no subtlety here), or choose no background at all.   At the top of the window you can select your font, font size, and color.  You can also type words in the area at the bottom to add your signature or even write a whole letter.  When you’ve made your choices, click ok. 

You can design as many kinds of stationery as you want. The stationery used will be the one selected in Tools, Options, Mail Format tab under “use this stationery by default”.

To copy stationery from an email you have received, select the message, and then click on File, Save as Stationery.

Outlook Express is very similar.   Choose Tools, Options, Compose.  Then click on Create New.  The wizard steps you through all the available options.  

Eudora is a little different in concept.  There are no fancy background choices, but it is very easy to type in lots of information including CC: and BCC: information.  The font formatting is similar to word processing.  Stationery in Eudora is designed more for form letters that can be picked from a list and modified before they are sent. 

To create stationery, click on Tools, Stationery, then right click on the small stationery window and click on New.  When you have finished with your typing and choices, click on File, Save as Stationery.   The stationery can be brought up at any time by clicking on the stationery tab on the left of the screen and then selecting your choice.

You can also make stationery that has your font colors and choices and even a signature and load it as your default.  To make stationery your default, click on Tools, Options and then click on the Composing Mail icon.  Choose your default stationery in the box at the top, then click on OK.

If you have a computer question you would like answered in this space, send it to tonna@computer-lynx.com.

For past columns of Tips from Tonna, check out the web site: www.computer-lynx.com.

Tonna Kutner, Computer LYNX, works with companies to list and develop their web sites.  Phone (206) 575-3979 or email tonna@computer-lynx.com. Visit Tonna’s website at www.computer-lynx.com.

Printed in "Verve" -  July & August  2002.  Copyright Tonna Kutner

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