E-mail should have a ‘reply but check’ button
Over the years, we've come across several tips and tricks that just about any computer user would find handy. While some of these get incorporated into new versions of software, there are some niceties that just never make it into the marketplace. We'll share a couple of these today, and more in the future.
First off, e-mail. Most everyone has received a message that just rubs you the wrong way. Many times, our first response is to fire off an emotional, sometimes expletive- laden response that serves no good purpose. Any time you find yourself in this situation, consider composing your response in your word processor, saving it, re-reading it a few minutes later, and then cutting and pasting that response into the e-mail reply message. This will give you time to cool down, reflect, and decide if you really want to send that response, tone it down a bit, or just not send it at all.
Another method that we sometimes employ in the same situation goes like this: After you hit the reply button, delete or cut the addressee's name out of the "To" box. You can then compose your reply, review and edit it, all without the danger of accidentally replying too early or by mistake. After all, if you click "send" without an addressee, it can't go anywhere.
Wouldn't it be great if some enterprising software vendor added a "reply but check" or similar button to their e-mail software? This feature would allow you to compose your reply normally, but prevent you from actually sending the message without double checking.
Another thing that drives us nuts is reviewing documents that don't have page numbers. Honestly, if your document goes more than 2 pages, it needs numbers. How many times have you read a document with page numbers and thought, "Boy, these page numbers are really unnecessary" Contrast that with the number of times you've read a document without page numbers and thought, "What stinking page are we on?"
Of course, there isn't a word processor on the market that adds page numbers to documents by default. But if you use Microsoft Word, an easy way to do this is to edit your default template, usually named normal.dot, and add page numbers to it.
Microsoft's Help Feature actually explains how to modify normal.dot pretty well. Just hit F1 and search for "modify normal.dot." It should be the first entry in your results list.
If you have any other tips that you'd like to share with the world, just send an e-mail to the address listed below. But make sure you've got the message right before clicking "send."
is president of ISDI Technologies Inc., a Honolulu-based IT consultancy. Call him at 944-8742 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org