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Setting Outlook Express
for Email Discussion Groups

The computer is not an intelligent being, but it is good at simple repetitive tasks... Use it to make life easier by telling it exactly how to perform these tasks to suit you. The settings described are for Windows 95, but are similar or identical in later versions.

Plain text may not look so pretty as the results that you get with HTML, but it is quicker to transmit and it safer from abuse by some viruses and worms. I have heard some exclaim that they have bad eyesight and that HTML helps them to see the text more clearly. This is a "red herring" if you have bad eyesight, then you either need new spectacles or you need to set the "text size" of Outlook Express (View, Text size... The medium setting is default.) or use the high contrast option (Control Panel, Accessibility Options, Display, Settings for high contrast). Plain text settings are radio buttons at the bottom of (tools, options, send).

Reply settings... To include the previous message when replying... (tools, options, send then check "Include message in reply") Somebody once said "I do not know how to get those little arrows down the left hand side of replies"... Again (tools, options, send) click the "plain text settings" button and you can set arrows (greater than), bars or colons.

Signatures can be set up via (tools, options, signatures) Short and concise is the rule here, do not forget that it will be seen by everybody every time you send it... No matter how humorous a comment, it gets on your nerves after the "N"th time. Another note about signatures... Make subtle changes in them from time to time as there are some hackers out there that can "do" things with signatures.

Sorting into Folders (Message rules)
When I had a dial up connection, I had a set of folders within my  Inbox ... They acted as incoming "pigeon holes" for messages and I used them to store messages on that topic, that I wanted to keep for future reference.

To make a folder for a particular discussion group or mail from a particular person... Right click "Local Folders" left click "New Folder" and title it with something cryptic for your purpose. Select "Message", "Create Rule From Message", check "Where the subject contains specific words" or "where the From line contains people" (if that is your reason for the folder) ensure all other boxes are unchecked. Check "Move it to the specified folder" click "contains specific words". Type something that is significant for the group like [II-List] for instrumental insemination or "Fred Bloggs" if that is the person's name that will show in the "From" field on incoming mail... click on "Add" button to the right of your typing, click "OK". Click "specified" in the sentence that asks for the specified folder, you will be shown your list of folders, click your new folder, click "OK".

Repeat the process for other DGs or people and when you next receive mail it will go into the relevant folder, you can read it there and either delete, or leave it, if it is required for later use.

Some groups allow attachments... You should be wary of all of them and especially any with .exe files or very large .doc files. Do not open them, select "save to disk" and save them to your desktop... Right click on them, select "scan with (whatever your antivirus software is)".

Discussion Group Home Pages
These are underused by most, they usually have archives of previous messages, often these can be searched... You may well find that your question has already been answered by a previous post. You may find a list of members or files and pictures that have been uploaded by other group members. There may be "Online Chat" facilities. Take a few minutes to have a good look around such home pages, they are not there just for the moderators.

These instructions are given in good faith, however I accept no responsibility for any accidents or errors that may occur whilst they are being followed.

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Revised... 14 October 2001, Modified... 24 February 2003, New Domain... 04 November 2003,

computer favicon Coding Standard 2003 Issue 5