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Using e-mail

e-mail stands for 'electronic mail', it provides a method of communicating with other people over the internet.  Before you can create an e-mail you need the e-mail address of the person you are sending the e-mail to - the 'recipient', you also need to have your e-mail account set up properly on Outlook.

An typical e-mail address will look like the one at the bottom of this screen - webmaster@allaboutoffice.co.uk.  The right-hand part of the e-mail address (after the @ sign) is the 'domain', there will be several users at the domain, for a small company it may only be 10 people but for a large internet provider it may well be millions.

The left-hand side of the e-mail address (to the left of the @) is the mailbox name, there may be millions of mailboxes for a popular e-mail service.  A popular e-mail service is hotmail, if you try to set up a hotmail account you will probably find the name you want is already taken as there are millions of users.  It is very important that you get the e-mail address correct as, when e-mailing someone who uses a popular Internet Service Provider (ISP) is it likely that your e-mail will end up with the wrong person if you get the address even 1 letter wrong.

Many people try to tell you that there are capital (uppercase) letters in their e-mail address, THIS IS NOT THE CASE.  All e-mail addresses are converted into lower case text when they are transported, even if you type them in uppercase when you create the e-mail.  Do not waste time typing uppercase letters in your e-mail addresses, they are not needed.  Watch out for extra characters such as full stops (periods or dots), underscores (_) and dashes (-) in e-mail addresses, these are often used to separate the parts of a user's name, e.g. their first name and surname, to make the address more readable.  Check that you have used the correct characters or your e-mail may not arrive at the correct recipient.

Because of the risk of an e-mail arriving at the wrong place most companies place disclaimers somewhere in their e-mail to warn people that if they are not the intended recipient they should destroy the e-mail, if you are sending business e-mail then it is a good idea to ensure that such a disclaimer is added to all communications in case anyone broadcasts material they should not have had access to.  You should always remember that e-mail is not generally 100% secure so you should not send information such as passwords, bank details, etc by e-mail.

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