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Mail text becomes attachment

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Q. We continue to get complaints from PC users that we send email to using Apple’s Mail application. They get the message as an attachment and don’t see that the attached files. Often they end up running the wrong file in our ad because they miss the instructions in our e-mail. How can we avoid this?

A. E-mail messages are encoded so they can survive transport over the Internet. The messages are also segmented automatically, so that the servers and mail clients that handle them can determine what makes up the message. Generally email consists of “plain text” and/or “html text” as well as attached files. As a rule file attachments should also always have a “file extension” in the filename.

Some email clients such as Outlook and Outlook Express have trouble deciphering the elements of a mail message – especially if they originate from Apple’s Mail. So some receivers may get a partial message or a blank message with the content for the message as attachments. The safest way to send email is in “plain text” with files properly encoded and attached.

In Apple Mail choose “Attachments” from the “Edit” menu, before you create a message and make sure the following are checked:
“Always Send Windows-Friendly Attachments”
“Always Insert Attachments at the End of the Message.”
Otherwise the parts of the message may get misinterpreted but receiver’s email client application.

Also get in the habit of pressing the “Attachment” icon. If you Drag and Drop the attachment goes in the mail message – inline – with the text. If you use the set up mentioned above – attachments should drop to the end of the email and appear as attached by receiver.

When sending files to a publication you should always use a “zip” archive. Like a Stuffit “.sit” archive, it should contain the required ad elements. You can create a ZIP in the Finder by selecting files or folders and choosing Compress “Folder-name” from the contextual menu (Right-click or Control-Click on the item). The Finder will create an “Archive.zip” file – which you can rename.

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On February 9, 2009
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