Tame your computer: Netiquette


In a new weekly series for Cambridge Network members, software training expert Karen Roem offers handy tips to help you 'Tame your computer'.

This week she looks at best practice when emailing a large group of people ...

Electronic communication has become as natural as breathing. But when it is so readily accessible we might forget about the etiquette practiced or advocated in email (known as 'netiquette'). The most important rule of email netiquette is: 'Think before you send'.

Really think before you post email messages to a large group of people (using Microsoft Outlook*). If you use the To: or the Cc: field you will send an email that has all its recipients listed.

Not only can it be really annoying having to scroll through screenfulls of names, but - more importantly - if the message falls into wrong hands (don't we all sometimes forward a message, that might get forwarded again, and again and again? You get the picture) the email addresses might be used for commercial mailing lists, adding to the epidemic of junk email. However,

Did you know ...

Using the Bcc: (Blind Carbon Copy) field enables you to hide the recipients' email addresses. If you want you can give a 'description' in the To: field that relates to the email subject.

Here's how:

1. Create a message as normal.

2. In the To: field enter the name you want recipients to see (for example 'email subscribers'), followed by your own email address in between brackets.

3. If the Bcc field is hidden, choose the View menu and click Bcc Field. (In Outlook 2003, this feature is available from the Options drop-down list.)

4. Enter the recipient email addresses in the Bcc box, separated by commas. Or select recipient names from your Contacts list by clicking on the Bcc button. Alternatively, enter the name of the distribution list in the Bcc field. (To create a distribution list select the File / New / Distribution List command.)

5. Compose and send the message as normal.

The email message will be sent with the sender's email address in the From: field, addressed to 'email subscribers' (or whatever name you specified in step 2).

Hiding your friends' and colleagues' email addresses in this way is common courtesy and good netiquette.

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2000. Most of what is covered however will also apply to earlier and later versions.

Roem logo13 January 2005

Karen Roem offers software training and support through her company Roem Ltd.

Contact her by email Karen@roem.co.uk or visit her website at www.roem.co.uk.


Karen Roem
Microsoft Office-ionado

Roem Ltd – software training and support