Sending file types other than pictures through email can be one of the most useful abilities that the Internet offers.
Picture this: You're working on a file at the office, and it's a Word or Excel document. A colleague in another part of town or another office needs to see the file. Some people still take the time to print out and physically deliver or fax the document to their colleague, not realizing that the email system can be used to deliver any kind of file right to another computer.
Attach the file in an email message to your colleague just as you would if you were sending a picture. As long as your colleague has the same software that you used to create it, he or she should be able to save it to his or her hard drive or open it just like any other file. Then your colleague can print the document if he or she wants or handle it as needed.
It is however, the sender's responsibility to make sure that the recipients will likely be able to open the file before it is sent. Nothing is more frustrating than getting an email message marked "Here's the file you wanted" only to find that the file is in some obscure format that you've never heard of and your computer can't open it.
For instance, if you're planning to send a Word document, find out what word processor the recipient uses. Even if he is also using Word, he may be using an older version of Word than you are which could cause a problem if he tries to open a file that was created in a newer version. A quick peek in the "Help" menu and clicking the "about" option will tell you what version your word processor is. Have your friend or coworker check his version also, and then try to save your document in whatever version he is using.
If you click "Save As" and look at the "File Type" or "Format" pull-down menu on the "Save As" box that pops up, you'll see you have the ability to save your document in many different formats. This puts the control of the file type in your hands.
The same thing applies when you are trying to send a picture. Make sure that it's a file that is saved in a format that your intended recipient can open. Usually a .jpg (jpeg) is a safe bet.
Some people's familiarity with email attachments ends with the occasional picture, but once the idea of transferring files that way becomes clear, a lot of possibilities present themselves. Here are the steps for sending a file.
First, you need to know where the file you want to send is located on your computer, and exactly what it's called. So, if you have a document you want to send, pay attention to the file name and the name of the folder that it's saved in.
Then, when you have your email program open, click "New Message" and begin to compose your message. Enter the recipient's e-mail address, a comment in the subject field and then click the "Attach" button (which is usually represented by a paperclip icon).
Next, your computer will give you some options. Click the appropriate button and then navigate to the location on your hard drive where the file that you want to send resides. (Look in the same folder where you saved it in, and then click on the name of the file to select it.) Click "OK," and the file name will be listed as an attachment.
You can even send multiple files by repeating the procedure. But remember that large files do not always do well so you want to keep the attachments small in size. Although it is possible to send files that are several megabytes in size, a good rule of thumb is 100 kilobytes and smaller for most e-mail - remember, there are some people out there that are still on dialup, downloading a large, several megabyte file can tie up the recipients email for hours if they're still on dialup.
This should cover most office documents such as Word files, but size can be a problem with a file that is rich with graphics. To check a file's size when you go to attach it, right-click it and then click "Properties." The next window that opens should tell you how large the file is.
Sean McCarthy fixes computers. He can be reached at (888) 752-9049 or help@ComputeThisOnline.com (no hyphens).