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 ALL ABOUT OFFICE

WORD

CREATING HTML E-MAILS

If you want to send a fancy HTML e-mail from Microsoft Outlook then it is normally easiest to create the e-mail as a Word document and use Word's File -> Send To facility to send the e-mail.

HTML e-mails are useful when you want to include features such as pictures and tables in an e-mail but you should note that there are certain facilities you may use in a Word document which will not display correctly in HTML, these include:

Columns
Tab stops
Rotated text

It may be a good idea to send your e-mail to yourself to check that everything displays as expected before sending it to anyone else.

When creating an HTML e-mail you can use facilities such as Word's Format -> Background option to add a coloured or textured background to your message.

The example above shows a table with merged cells being used to lay out an HTML e-mail.  As Word's AutoCorrect facility is set to automatically convert web addresses to hyperlinks the web site and e-mail addresses are changed to hyperlinks as soon as they are typed (or you can highlight text and press CTRL + K to create a hyperlink manually).

To make an HTML e-mail truly interactive it is also possible to add other HTML elements like form components, to do this you will need to use the Web Tools Toolbar.

We could use the Scrolling Text icon to make the title of the newsletter scroll across the page:

As soon as you add a form component such as a text box or radio button you will see a Top of Form and Bottom of Form marker appear at the top and bottom of your document.  This is equivalent to the HTML <form> and </form> tags and you can create form components in the same way as you would in a web page.  We are going to create a group of radio buttons to ask people how often they visit the site.  The radio button icon can be clicked to place each button where it is required but then the properties for each button must be set using the Properties icon so that the form will give the correct results when it is used.

When creating a group of radio buttons, each button must be given the same name so that they can be recognised as being a group, the browser will then allow only one button of the group to be selected at any time.  We are going to call our group Frequency and give each button the value of Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Less so we know which one has been selected.

Make sure the HTMLName is the same for each button in the group and set the Value to whatever you want returned when that button is selected, you should not have to change the other properties for the button unless you want to use the Checked property to set which button should be selected when the form first appears.

Here are the properties for the text area:

We have given the text area the name Comments and have set the initial value to Please type whatever you like here, the user can delete this text and replace it with their own comments and that information will be sent to us.

Finally, a form will not function unless there is a Submit button to send it.  We can either use a plain grey submit button or one with an image on it.

You set the actions of the form on the Submit button, we have used mailto:webmaster@allaboutoffice.co.uk to e-mail the results, the method has also been changed to Post.  The results of your form will arrive as an attached file with the extension .ATT which can be opened in a text editor such as WordPad or Notepad.

If you are going to send e-mail regularly from Word then you may like to create a signature so that you can automatically at the closing information to your e-mails.  To set up a signature, click on Tools -> Options and then click on the General section and click the E-Mail Options button at the bottom of the window.

Type a name for your signature and then use the box at the bottom of the window to create your signature.  You can use the icons above the signature box to format the font, insert pictures, change text colour and alignment and add hyperlinks.

When you have created a signature, click OK to exit the Options window and then click on Insert -> AutoText -> E-Mail Signature -> Signature Name to insert your e-mail sigature.

To send your e-mail, click on the E-mail icon or click on File -> Send To -> Mail Recipient (do not choose the (as attachment) option).  The top of the message will change to allow you to enter the recipient information and e-mail subject and you can then click the Send a Copy button to send your e-mail.  After you have sent the message your document will be returned to a normal Word document and can be saved in normal Word format so you can use it again in future.