Message forwarding etiquette

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I know this may seem like a silly question, but what's the correct way to forward a message?

A. On its face, the act of forwarding a message is deceptively simple: Click the Forward button, slap on an address and click Send. That's the Classic NBA (No-Brainer Approach) used by millions of well-intentioned individuals. Unfortunately, it can and frequently does lead to problems and annoyances on the part of recipients. Follow these six rules and you will eliminate any of the myriad of headaches that can arise in conjunction with mail forwarding:

1. Remove all forwarding >>>> marks and previous recipient addresses. If you must forward anything, edit out the fat and just send the meat.

2. Include a short personal note to let recipients know why you're forwarding something. If you can't take the time to type a few words, is it REALLY that important to forward?

3. Investigate any message that might be alarming to a recipient. Don't rely on a message that states, “This is not a hoax.” Duh! Take the time to check it out for yourself on or any similar hoax-debunking site.

4. Never forward chain email. When you see the words, “Forward this to everyone you know,” reach for the DELete key.

5. If you forward to more than one person, put your email address in the TO: field and all other recipients in the BCC: field to hide their addresses. You do not have the right to publish other individuals' addresses.

6. Request permission to forward any message sent to you alone. Email, as is true with any original work, is automatically copyright protected by the author. It is simply common courtesy to request permission before forwarding any message intended for your eyes only.

Q. I need to print my Outlook Express address book, but I'm not sure how to do that -- or should I just give up on OE and move to something else?

A. OE is a bit past its prime -- something to which I can relate. It's fine to continue to use it for the foreseeable future, but like all older software, it having been replaced by Windows Mail, then Windows Live Mail, in time it will become increasingly problematic. For that reason, many former OE users have switched to the free Gmail service or Yahoo! Mail to be free of installed email software forever.

To print your address book, open it and with the addresses displayed, click File > Print. In the Print Style section, you can select Memo, Business Card or Phone List format.

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