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#07-Using HTML Editor in E-Mail Client

July 02, 2002

Overview

An increasing number of e-mail message are beginning to fill up my mailbox that contain images, contain a colored background, include different kinds of font faces and have bullets or numbered lists along with bold, italicized and underlined lettering and a variety of different size fonts.  How is this done and is it worth while to learn more about how to do it without resorting to any kind of extensive study of some computer language? 

Credits

Charles J. Ansorge
Professor
University of Nebraska-Lincoln / Teachers College
cansorge@unl.edu

 

The good news is that the process of adding all of the features noted above is not that complex assuming that one of the e-mail clients that support this functionality is installed on the computer that is used to create e-mail message and read them. There are a number of such e-mail clients that exist for which there is either no charge for the product (free download), or it comes free with the operating system, or it can be acquired for a modest price. The products are available for use either in the Windows world or with computers using the Macintosh OS.

In order to add the formatting described above, the e-mail client must be able to create an HTML document for sending or it needs to be able to “read” an HTML document and interpret it as it would by a browser like Internet Explorer or Netscape. I use a Macintosh and have as my e-mail client, Entourage.  It satisfies these requirements. Most of the e-mail clients that come with various versions of the Windows operating systems also are able to create and interpret html based e-mail messages. But the reader should be aware that not all e-mail clients have this functionality. For example, some clients may be able to generate colors or different sized fonts, etc., but only when the message is interpreted by someone who is using the same e-mail client. Some versions of Eudora are like that as are versions of Lotus Notes.

There does seem to be a place for using the special formatting features of an e-mail client that will be described as an LTA.

LTA Outcomes

By working with this LTA, the user will be able to create an e-mail message that is filled with color, includes different kinds of font faces and has bullets or numbered lists along with bold and italicized lettering and a variety of different size fonts.

The special formatting features may be useful in responding to an e-mail message from a student who has a question regarding a class. The use of various colors for emphasis and the ability to use specialized fonts or font sizes may facilitate the communication process.

Skills Required to Complete this LTA

Users should have an e-mail client that is capable of creating and interpreting html. It is NOT a requirement that the user of the e-mail client be able to code in hyper-text mark-up language (HTML). The editor will do this.

Software and Hardware Required to Complete this LTA

There are a number of e-mail clients that are capable of producing messages in html format and are available for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. For the Macintosh OS two examples of e-mail systems are Outlook Express and Entourage. For the Windows OS, the built-in e-mail system should have this capability.

Procedure–Summary

The procedure for adding formatting features in an html format is quite simple. If the e-mail client offers the option of creating html messages, there will usually be icons on the screen that will permit the creation of the special effects described above. Once the message is created according to the user’s preferences, the message is sent. It should be understood that the individual who receives the e-mail message must also have an e-mail client that will make it possible to view the message in the form it was prepared. That is, it must have html capabilities. If the client does not have this capability none of the formatting will be able to be viewed, but the text of the message should be displayed.

Below is an example of an e-mail message that was created with an e-mail client that was able to create html code.

Example e-mail message

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