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Help with Internet E-mail
and Other Internet Postings

Sub-section on E-mail Costs

... (including Mailing List Caution and Privacy Caution).

Mail Box Table of Contents for this page:


Mail Box Preface

This page is similar to an informal discussion of some of the factors surrounding Internet e-mail costs, and how we might be guided in its use, especially early in the game.

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Mail Box Introduction

This is an informal response to the those who have been inquiring about costs for e-mail via the Internet. For those short on time, or less interested in background and philosophy, just go to "Bottom Line Summary," below now. For those who are interested, here is some background, etc.

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Mail Box Background, Philosophy and Procedures for Internet E-mail and Other Internet Postings:

Most current arrangements for Internet services are fixed-price arrangements which are independent of both traffic volume (number of characters sent or received) and time spent connected to the Internet Service Provider. The idea is to encourage communication and interaction free from constraints which come from worrying about associated costs (especially initial start-up costs). When volumes are at their higher levels, then unit costs will be approaching their lowest levels. Early in the game (1960s and 1970s) this might have actually been an economically unsound principle in that it substantially eliminated the need for justification of the costs. Now however, the traffic volumes are so high and network capacities are so large that there is not hardly any amount of individual e-mail traffic that amounts to as much as a hill of beans. A single graphics screen from the modest home page of one University I know about, for example, requires more network bandwidth (network capacity to move data) every time it is sent to a Web inquirer than all the e-mail a typical user could generate in a month (in-bound and outbound combined). Last I checked they were sending that page out thousands of times every day of the week. Even back in the mid-1990s network traffic in the U.S. alone was estimated at some 27 billion characters (900 million for Canada); and total traffic was somewhere near 16+ trillion characters world-wide (all in a single month). Now it is several orders of magnitude bigger, of course.

Most network links are deliberately implemented using leased lines and other traffic-independent mechanisms precisely in order to obtain the volumes which will result in the lowest unit costs. That has been achieved in spades here in North America, where costs per character are substantially zero today. And it is because of this idea that network interaction is "free" or close enough to "free" that you can properly think of using it cost-effectively for nearly any purpose.

Because of these very low costs, for example, we can easily justify using e-mail for any exchange of information with others who are connected to the network. The actual cost of a one-page fax, for example, is probably on the order of 20 to well over 100 times more expensive than the actual cost for an e-mail message containing the same information. And when was the last time you worried about the cost of a fax when compared to the value of the immediate communication?

From an economic theory standpoint, these differences in cost structure demonstrate very persuasively the profound disparities between the telephone company philosophy of rigorous pricing according to traffic volumes and pricing designed to obtain the lowest possible unit costs. Can you imagine where we would be if we had had to rely on measured volume pricing for this service from the beginning?

From an information exchange standpoint, the analyses of the U.S. military early in the DARPAnet days (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, the predecessor of the Internet) showed clearly that the increasing gains from increased interaction between researchers far outweighed the increasing costs of higher capacity lines. This finding was a milestone in U.S. military networking philosophy. One of the early examples involved a mailing list or newsgroup in which military researchers were exchanging their views on different wines (or something like that) over their DARPAnet facilities. Some of the rules-oriented guys were a little worried that the subject matter might be seen as a bit of a stretch for a military research network. What they learned from the studies was that the researchers were much better able to collaborate with their counterparts in other labs when they knew some things about them that related to their human side. When the network costs and the costs of time spent discussing these wines were taken into account, the benefits in terms of better cooperation, better teamwork, more intuitive understanding of their colleagues, more inclination to share, etc., were seen to clearly outweigh the minuscule costs. Today, with network unit costs virtually collapsing, nobody even bothers to evaluate those trade-offs any more. In terms of telephone etiquette, for example, it is somewhat akin to speaking for a few minutes at the beginning of a conversation about the weather, the latest fishing trip, or the grandchildren (don't get me started!). Even though toll charges are by the minute, we always take time to add these things to our conversations. It makes us more effective in our work with others; and we recognize and justify the extra costs routinely.

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Mail Box Procedural Items:

As you start to use Internet e-mail you need to keep a couple of items in mind. There are others, too, no doubt. I will add them as I learn them myself.
  1. Use narrow-length lines. Some e-mail handlers can only display about 60 characters in a line. Just keep the lines shorter than the full width when you write. You will learn those addresses where you need to be more careful of this for your reader's convenience.
  2. Use a "signature file" in every e-mail message. A signature file is a block of lines, like the example at the bottom of this page, that identify the sender a little more fully than just a name and an e-mail address. It contains the kind of information that would be shown on a letterhead, if such a thing were used with e-mail. I would not put home telephone numbers in there, probably; but there is not much harm in putting in a number that anybody can get from the telephone company information service provider, or from a public telephone book. It is also an opportunity to tell your reader a little something you might not add to the e-mail otherwise.
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Mail Box Bottom Line Summary:

The bottom line is that e-mail costs are substantially zero. The benefits, on the other hand, are considerable. It is much easier to exchange data via e-mail than via fax, for example. And the actual costs are somewhere near 1/20th to 1/100th of the costs of fax (very likely much less).

There are also benefits to knowing how to e-mail, developing an address book of e-mail addresses, subscribing to helpful mailing lists, etc. In my view it is about like the advantage of learning to dictate over against writing things out for somebody to type. You can say something ten to twenty times faster than you can write. I don't think there is anybody who disputes those economies any more.

My advice is to use the e-mail facility as often and as much as it makes sense, and to exploit its immediate and interactive advantage in everything you do. We have to become smarter in everything we do; and we have to keep getting smarter continuously in order to compete and survive. We need to take special advantage of these technologies where costs are dropping, even though sometimes it will look like more work initially (while we are learning). And we have to keep in touch with our colleagues and share the advantages of our (and their) best thinking continuously.

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* Mailing List Caution:

There are network services called "mailing lists" which use e-mail to circulate information to groups with common interests. It is a very powerful and effective means to keep in touch and share your professional and other interests. Be sure you are very conversant with e-mail and mailing list subtleties before you subscribe to a mailing list (140 Kb). See also our general help page for more detail on mailing lists (140 Kb).

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* E-mail and Other Internet Postings - Privacy Caution:

In addition to the overview immediately below, this E-mail and Other Internet Postings Privacy Caution section has the following topics: The plain fact is that there is very little privacy on the Internet that you can rely upon. And there are some fundamentally important differences between on-line messages and either traditional mail or telephone conversations. One of the easiest ways to think about e-mail messages is that they are more like postcards than mail, for example. Beyond that superficial notion are several significant others, however. The principal notion to keep in mind is that at every stop along the way (perhaps up to a dozen or so) the e-mail handling software makes at least two copies of your e-mail message: once into an input queue, and once into an output queue. If any peculiarities arise, several other copies are also made, no doubt. As a result of this copying alone, your e-mail and other Internet transmissions should be viewed as public documents from the moment you say "send." [Or from the moment you link up to a web page, to a weblog (or blog), a social networking site, and the like, or to an FTP or Gopher site, for that matter. These connections are all logged somewhere; and the content is copied in more places than you want to think about. See paragraph on "records" below; and see also the "Big Copying Hazard" section and the "by- the-way" note (that some messages are kept for a very long time) for additional insights and cautions.]

Keep in mind that whenever your message is seen, copied, queued, transmitted or received, it has your name, and your employer's name on it. The intent of the Internet is to provide equipment and systems for the free exchange of ideas with minimal security. In addition, if an e-mail message is undeliverable, for example, it is returned to the sender via lots of handlers, including some of the handlers which processed it on the way out. If it is returned here, for example, and it was your e-mail address that was somehow defective or garbled, then it will go to POSTMASTER for disposition. The entire message will be there; and sometimes we will need to see parts of the message to learn who it should be referred to for action. If the "To" address was wrong or was garbled, but it is a valid address, the system will deliver the message to that party. When it gets there it will have your name on it too. And if you inadvertently send it to a mailing list server (rather than to an individual--something that is surprisingly easy to do), the list server will dutifully transmit it to every one of the (perhaps hundreds or thousands) of subscribers to the mailing list. In such circumstances you will wish your message had been prepared with that eventuality in mind.

The Internet is implemented as a packet-switched store-and-forward message handling system. What this means is that your message is broken up into packets of text, and routed to the next station along the way. Not all the parts go via the same intermediate stops, either. There could be dozens of stations which handle parts or all of your message from the time you send it until it is received. In every case, the file is written to disk, queued and dispatched to the next handler. It is retained at each station until an acknowledgment is received from the next station that the message was received intact. Every one of these files is a plain text file that anybody can read anytime. That is the file type that all computers can handle; and it is also the file type that is easiest to read by humans. At any time, your message could be in lots of queues at backup time (or when a breakdown occurs), for example. And many people keep logs of their e-mail messages which are only purged infrequently. I found an old e-mail log file recently, for example, which contained messages from 1991. (!) That means it was backed up several hundred times in that interval, at a minimum. Who knows where all those tapes and diskettes, and whatever are or have been stored (or lost, misplaced or stolen)?

Some observers note that encrypting e-mail messages, by the way, keeps them private. My own view is that encryption merely alters the length of time it takes somebody to access the contents of your message. All these principles apply in substantially the same ways to encrypted and unencrypted messages.

Keep in mind that a number of people are "managing" all this on-line traffic. If your mailbox becomes full while you are away, if you move and an e-mail message is delivered to your old address, if there is any foul-up or breakdown in any of the systems where your message is coming or going or en-route, all these people will be concerned with handling these messages, getting them to the right destinations, saving them to temporary files while they do that, etc. Sometimes they may have to look at the contents of a message if it appears to be a part of some big foul up. Even if you take for granted the diligence and integrity of these people, they are subject to the requirements of their employers and the legal system. If you do something illegal (or somebody thinks you did), these people may be compelled to monitor or archive your messages. And this whole question is complicated by the fact that these mail administrators, who handle thousands of e-mail messages every day, and to whom it is abundantly clear there is no privacy whatsoever in e-mail, can easily forget that there are still people who believe that these messages are private (or who feel they ought to be private). The fact is that there are just about a zillion ways your messages are handled, most by persons other than the person you intend to receive them, and that privacy has almost nothing to do with their handling procedures.

Many mail handlers have filters or filtering systems which allow people receiving lots of e-mail to sort their messages into categories. This allows them to see their mail grouped by subject, sender, etc. In order to filter in-coming mail, a mail handler has to "read" it. These filters are usually fairly primitive, only looking at "From:" addresses or "Subject:" lines. Others read the entire text searching for keywords, etc. The point here is that fragments of your messages are also found in filter queues; and your messages can be handled (or re-directed) in part based on their contents. Furthermore, if you misspell a key word in your message (but it is still a proper word: just not the one you intended), then a filter could spot that word and re-direct your message to some file, folder, person or mailing list which is totally incompatible with what you intended. Virtually every mailing list server has filters which "read" the in-coming mail in order to weed out duplicate posts, messages from persons barred from posting to the list, spam messages, etc., and to bounce subscription/signoff requests to the list owner, etc.

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Privacy Caution - Copying Hazard

If all the above were not enough, e-mail messages (and any electronic documents, for that matter) are very susceptible to copying by individuals. Once these copies get to parties who are not familiar with you personally, they tend to be treated more as public documents than as products of an individual. If you write a particularly interesting message, somebody might post it to a newsgroup or mailing list without asking if you would like to rewrite it for public consumption first. Worse, if you write something that is not very well thought out, somebody might quote from it and hold it (and you, and perhaps your employer) up to ridicule, sometimes in forums you know nothing about and which can be very widespread, and that you will never even have the opportunity to rebut. Furthermore, most mailing lists have an archive in which your words will be immortalized forever. And there are independent archives routinely created and maintained by subscribers and others which are completely outside the care, custody and control of the list owner or any other subscriber, some of which are not widely known. And your boss (spouse, ex-spouse, mother-in-law, friend, foe, adversary, reporter, stalker, or ???) can subscribe to the same mailing lists you subscribe to, and track your every post. The point is that fragments of your messages could be scattered around in lots of places, some of them very permanent, and some of them not of your doing. Furthermore, of course, there are always a few people who like to snoop around.

The privacy implications of the long expected lifetimes of messages contained in archives are significant. What if you are looking for a new job, for example, and your prospective employer decides to collect the file of all the posts you have made to mailing lists, newsgroups and other on-line forums? Would it help you?

In addition to the electronic copies, of course, are paper copies which can be made by anybody anytime they see your message. When they print these copies, they can easily print them with fonts and layouts that make them appear much more formal than you intended when you composed them. And they can also revise them for their own purposes, of course. You need to have these and other eventualities in mind whenever you use electronic messaging of any sort. See also the "Big Copying Hazard" section for additional insight and caution concerning the exchange of humor, particularly when using e-mail or other facilities provided by your employer.

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Privacy Caution - Records (may be required by judicial process)

Records: Finally, I am no lawyer, but transmission and receipt of e-mail messages and other Internet postings (and any request to see a web page) results in the generation and logging of what the legal system calls a "record." These records are subject to rules of discovery and may be required by the judicial process in the event of a crime (whether it involves you directly or not). Your employer and/or your Internet service provider (or, presumably any Internet handler along the way, in whose jurisdiction the judicial process has the right of access to these "records," even if it does not in your jurisdiction) who has logs of these "records" may be compelled to archive them and to provide them to the judicial process at any time. Think about this: it is not much of a stretch to contemplate a court case (even one in which you are only incidentally involved, or one in which somebody thinks you are involved) which has profound implications for your future. What if, for example, the zealous prosecutor hires some hack to seek out every e-mail message you ever wrote, every post to a mailing list or newsgroup, chat room, social networking site or blog, and every website you ever visited? Today, for example, it would be as easy as falling down stairs to find that information for the past few weeks. Most mailing lists have "forever" archives in which your posts are catalogued indefinitely. Remember, there is virtually no way to recall a posting; and there are organizations who make it their business to catalog and sell the names, comments and e-mail addresses of persons who post to newsgroups and mailing lists. Many websites have software in place now which catalogs the names, e-mail addresses, software, equipment and Internet Service Providers of persons who visit their websites, which pages they visited, and how long they displayed each page. This information is used internally for marketing studies; but selling it would not be beyond the expected activities of many. In the future it is very likely that this kind of information will be freely available to anybody who wants to collect it. Any control mechanisms which are applied will need to be applied in all jurisdictions to be effective; and it is very easy to envision how long that will be in coming. Keep in mind the people who have been harassed or even convicted on the basis of personal journal or diary entries they thought would always be private. Some of them have been wrongly convicted when their written statements were misconstrued or used in a way totally outside their intent. Think about what it will mean when anybody is able to access your every post to a newsgroup, mailing list or other Internet forum over a long period of time on subjects where you have expressed many views. Think what a lawyer could do with that.

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Privacy Caution - Impending World-wide Privacy Crisis

Impending privacy crisis: There is no doubt we are on the road to a major privacy crisis, world-wide. Related to the privacy issues are issues of ownership. Once these records have been replicated and distributed widely, ownership of the fragments becomes very murky. When international boundaries have been crossed, murky ownership issues become substantially more complex. Until these issues are addressed and corrected, however, the only effective control lies in making those records very carefully in the first instance, or in not making them at all (and then, incidentally, in hoping somebody does not forge your identity when they create them). The flip side of all this is that there are so many e-mail messages and other Internet postings floating around, that the vast majority get where they are going with nobody seeing any parts of them. Nevertheless, in my view you should use e-mail for those messages which anybody could read any time, with which you would be pleased to have your name associated, and which could appear in the evening paper or in a court case at any time. A small midwestern town is reported to have an e-mail policy that says: "Don't send e-mail or make other Internet postings that you wouldn't want to be read by your mother, your boss, your worst enemy, or your least favorite reporter." And finally, as some sage has said: "your e-mail and other Internet postings will come back to haunt you. The only question is how embarrassed you will be."

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Privacy Caution - Cookies (and some of the reasons to avoid them)

Cookies are seen as an intrusion of privacy by some on-line users and an unnecessary risk. Since they often serve the purposes of marketers at the expense of individuals, and since they are easy to exclude, many experienced users set the options in their browsers to exclude them.
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Privacy Caution - See Also Section

See also: a Code of Fair Information Practices which was proposed in the U.S. as recently as the early 1970's, a paper "Privacy and Individual Empowerment in the Interactive Age" which was posted by the Center for Democracy and Technology {}, a Washington, DC non-profit focusing on privacy issues in the Information Age, and the Canadian Standards Association's Ten Fair Information Principles, which represent a consensus of stakeholders from the private sector, consumer and other public interest organizations and some Canadian government bodies.

See also: The Center For Democracy and Technology's Health Information Privacy Issues page provides interesting ideas about privacy concerns in health-related record keeping. The Center for Democracy and Technology is a non-profit public interest organization based in Washington, DC. CDT's mission is to develop and advocate public policies that advance constitutional civil liberties and democratic values in new computer and communications technologies.

See also: The page posted by The Municipal Research and Services Center (a Washington State non-profit) entitled "Municipal Policies on Internet Usage and E-mail Document Retention." The paper is reprinted there with permission of author Isabel R. Safora, Senior Port Counsel, Port of Seattle, from Legal Notes, MRSC Information Bulletin No. 497, April 1997. It deals with liabilities and other contingencies which municipal administrators need to be thinking about concerning their e-mail policies for employees and elected officials.

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Mail BoxSample Signature File

Dorothy and Chet Meek      Voice:  780+4nn-mmmm
E-mail Address:        
World Wide Web: 
A Signature file provides, as an integral part of your message, the information a person needs to reach you if the "Reply To:" function fails for some reason, or if the "From:" address is not included. Believe it or not, some e-mail systems do not include the "From:" address when a message is forwarded. Thus, if the person who receives the forwarded message wants to reply to you as the original sender, and you left your signature block off the message, they can't reach you without going to the person who forwarded the message and asking them for your e-mail address! By also giving your correspondents your web address, you provide another means for them to find out more about you (such as a related mailing address, or other contact information if they need it later, for example). Four or five lines is about the maximum for a signature file; but it can be longer or shorter. The mail handler just looks for the file by name, and attaches it to your out-going e-mail messages as an option.
The section below provides detailed instructions for creating your own signature file using this one as a template. And it also indicates how to have it included in all your out-bound messages once it has been created and filed.
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Mail Box Creating a Signature File

Here are the detailed steps to create a signature file. These steps assume you have access to the Internet Explorer web browser and the WORD text processor. We will also provide some alternate suggestions for the general case, though they may not be complete. These steps also assume you are not familiar with creation of plain text files.

 In these steps, we will copy the sample signature file above, and use it as a template for your new signature file.

  1. Start with this page displayed in Internet Explorer.
  2. Position the screen so you can see the sample signature file immediately above. (You can click on the underscored words "sample signature file" to cause the browser to position the file to that point.)
  3. With the mouse, highlight the sample signature file above. To do this, position the pointer at the upper left of the block of words (immediately to the left and slightly above the "---" at the left of the first line). Then, while holding down the left mouse button, drag the pointer to the lower right of the block (immediately to the right of "~cmeek/"). As you do that, the block is highlighted in a dark color. Release the left mouse button (the block of text remains highlighted).
  4. Position the mouse pointer to the "Edit" menu in the top left corner of the screen. Click once.
  5. The Edit menu drops down.
  6. Move the mouse pointer down the list until the line "Copy -- Ctrl+C" is highlighted.
  7. Click once. This copies the block of text to the windows clipboard.
Follow the steps immediately below if you want to create a signature file as a plain text file for the general case. If you are using Exchange, skip to the section for Exchange users below.
  1. Next, start up the WORD text processor.
  2. Select a new document by clicking once on the blank sheet of paper in the upper left corner.
  3. That creates a new document which is blank, and which has the cursor positioned at the upper left corner.
  4. Move the mouse pointer to the "Edit" menu in the top left corner of the screen. Click once.
  5. The Edit menu drops down.
  6. Move the mouse pointer down the list until the line "Paste -- Ins" is highlighted.
  7. Click once. This copies the block of text from the windows clip board to your new document.
  8. The font of the block of text will be your default font for new documents. We need to change it to a fixed-width font, such as Courier New.
  9. Highlight the entire block of text in the new WORD document, either by using the procedures in step 3 above, or by positioning the mouse pointer slightly beyond the left margin of the block (until the pointer turns into an arrow pointing upward to the right) and clicking three times. Either way, the block is highlighted.
  10. Move the mouse pointer to the "Format" menu in the top middle of the screen. Click once.
  11. The Format menu drops down.
  12. Move the mouse pointer down the list until the line "Font" is highlighted (it is usually right at the top). Click once.
  13. The Font window appears.
  14. Select the "Font" folder tab in the Font window.
  15. Set the Font to "Courier New." It has two overlapping upper case T's to the left. The "Courier" font is similar; but the True Type fonts are a little more convenient in some contexts.
  16. Set the Font Style to "Regular."
  17. Set the Font Size to 10 point.
  18. Set Underline to "(none)."
  19. Set Color to "Auto."
  20. Clear any "Effects" boxes which are not empty by clicking on the box once.
  21. Select the "Character Spacing" folder tab in the Font window.
  22. Make sure the "Spacing:" and "Position:" boxes both indicate "normal."
  23. Clock "OK" to close the Font window.
  24. That puts you back in the new document with the text block highlighted and with the font displayed as Courier New in 10 point.
  25. Clear the highlight by hitting the up-arrow key once. That will also position the cursor at the upper left of the block of text.
  26. Save this file to the network by moving the mouse pointer to the "File" menu in the upper left corner of the screen.
  27. The File menu drops down.
  28. Move the mouse pointer down the list until the line "Save As ..." is highlighted. Click once.
  29. That opens the Save As window, with a file name of doc2.doc (or some such), and your default directory and drive. It also indicates "Save File as Type" set to "word document."
  30. Set the file name to sig.txt
  31. Set the Drive: to C:\
  32. Set the Save File As Type: to Text Only. This is very important. If you save it as a word document, the mail handler will not be able to figure it out at all. If you did that by mistake, just edit it again, and save it as a Text Only file.
  33. Click on OK to save the file.
  34. Save the file on your C:\ drive with the name sig.txt. That means its pathname will be C:\sig.txt. Later, when we indicate the location of the signature file to the mail handler, remember that pathname. It matters not where you save the signature file. You just have to remember its pathname so you can tell the mail handler where to look for it.
  35. Modify the text block by inserting your own name, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address, etc., and making whatever other adjustments you would like. There is some value in making the line lengths all the same, and about 50 characters (as in the present one).
  36. Save the file as you go along, print it to verify it prints as you expect, and save the final product.
  37. The steps up to here have created your signature file as a plain text file and stored it where you (and the mail handler) can find it. Anytime you want to change it, just edit it in the text processor, and store the result back where it was. The next time the mail handler picks it up, it will pick up the new version.
  38. Now you need to tell the mailer that you want a signature file appended to all your out-going messages, and where to find it.
  39. In your mailer look for an option to specify the pathname for your signature file. Insert the pathname where you just stored your signature file. The mailer will append it at the bottom of your out-going mail.
For Exchange users, it is not necessary to have a plain text file stored somewhere on your hard drive or on the network. Exchange keeps the file itself. The steps below will indicate how to insert the signature file you copied onto the clipboard above into the right place in Exchange.
  1. Start up Exchange.
  2. Move the mouse pointer to the "Tools" menu at the top of the screen. Click once.
  3. The Tools menu drops down.
  4. Move the mouse pointer down the list until the line "AutoSignature ..." is highlighted.
  5. Click once. That brings up the AutoSignature window.
  6. In the "Name:" box, type a name for your signature file, such as "Sig_1." Any name will do. Exchange allows you to have several signature files. One might be best for formal business messages, another for informal notes to well known associates or peers, for example. By naming them differently, you are able to specify which one you want for each message. One of the signature files will be the default. It will be used unless you indicate you want a different one.
  7. After you have typed a name, hit the tab key to move the cursor into the "Contents:" box.
  8. Hold down the Ctrl key. While holding the Ctrl key down, hit the "V" key; and release both keys.
  9. This copies the block of text from the windows clipboard into the "Contents:" window.
  10. The font of the block of text will be some default font. You probably want to change it to a fixed-width font, such as Courier New. If you do, highlight the entire block of text in the "Contents:" box by using the procedures in step 3 in the first section above. The block is highlighted.
  11. Move the mouse pointer to the "Font" box (to the right). Click once.
  12. The Font window appears.
  13. Set the Font to "Courier New." It has two overlapping upper case T's to the left. The "Courier" font is similar; but the True Type fonts are a little more convenient in some contexts.
  14. Set the Font Style to "Regular."
  15. Set the Font Size to 10 point.
  16. Clear any "Effects" boxes which are not empty by clicking on the box once.
  17. Set Color to "Auto." If you have already selected a color for text in your replies, that color will be displayed. You can leave it alone, if you wish.
  18. Set Script to "Western."
  19. Click "OK" to apply the new font, and close the window.
  20. Modify the text block by inserting your own name, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address, etc., and making whatever other adjustments you would like. There is some value in making the line lengths all the same, and about 50 characters (as in the present one). Make adjustments until the signature block looks the way you want it.
  21. Click "Set as Default." This action makes your new signature file the current default. When you add others later, you can set one of them as the default if you want.
  22. Select "Add The Default Selection To The End Of Outgoing Messages." That puts a check mark in the box to the left, indicating that you want the new signature file (which has just been set as the default) to be added to all of your out-going messages.
  23. There is another box: "Don't add selection to Replies or Forwards," which you can also check, if you want. My preference is to leave it un-checked. By leaving it unchecked, it means that you want the signature file also to be appended to your replies and to messages you are forwarding. That is a good practice, I think, for all the same reasons you want it on other messages.
  24. Choose "Close."
  25. For additional information, and for procedures to create and insert additional AutoSignatures, select "Help" in Exchange, and then "Microsoft Exchange Help Topics."
  26. In the Help Topics window, select the "Index" folder tab, and type "Signature."
  27. In the "Topics Found" window select "Creating and Deleting an AutoSignature."
  28. Hit the display button. The help panel covers the steps above, and those required for additional AutoSignatures.
  29. You are in business. When you are finished your next message, hit < enter> following your last line, and then send the message. Your signature file is appended at the bottom (in the line below the blank line where the cursor was).
  30. Send yourself a message to test its appearance. Adjust the AutoSignature file as needed (using the Edit button in the AutoSignature window from step 5 above), and test again.
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Title: The Meek Family Website - Help with E-mail: Sub-section on Costs; Cautions Concerning Mailing Lists and Privacy; Sample Signature File.
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Page last updated: 30 March 2012 (N4.8, w/SC). Page created: 10 June 1995.