Phantom Outlook attachments

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Q. When I get mail from my daughter, who uses Outlook, there is always a file called winmail.dat that's attached to it. She says she is not sending any attachments. I've tried everything I can think of, but I can't open it. Any idea what's going on or where that file is coming from?

A. Your daughter is sending email in Outlook's RTF (Rich Text Format) instead of plain text. The RTF format lets Outlook users send mail so it retains formatting such as special fonts, colors, etc. when received by other Outlook users. Unfortunately, it's meaningless to the rest of the non-Outlook world so it's best avoided because it results in the file attachment you're receiving.

To turn off Rich Text Formatting when sending messages in Outlook, your daughter can click Tools > Options > Mail Format tab. In the "Send in this Message Format" list, select Plain Text, then click OK.

Making that change will set the default sending method to plain text, which is the lowest common denominator to use for email. Everyone, no matter what email program they use, can receive plain text mail without any difficulty.

Q. I received a Word file that was typed in ALL CAPS and it's driving me crazy because it's so difficult to read. How can I change between upper and lower case lettering in Word?

A. Word makes it very easy to change between UPPER and lower cases or to capitalize the first letters of words. All you have to do is select (highlight) the word, sentence, or paragraph you would like to change, then press the SHIFT + F3 toggle.

Press SHIFT + F3 one time to change a lower-case word to first-letter capitalization, also called an initial cap, or what we in the biz know as a "nish cap." Press SHIFT + F3 again to change the words to ALL CAPS. Press it one more time to change the text to lower case. Since this is a three-step toggle, if you press it once more, you'll start the process again.

Alternatively, you can use the Word toolbar and after selecting the text, click the Format > Change Case menu command. This will display the Change Case dialog box where you can then choose specific combinations of upper- and lower-case letters for your text.

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