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Electronic Mail

Send Attachments in Different Messages

SUMMARY: Why it is beneficial to separate your e-mails from your e-mail attachments.

There may be times where you need to contact someone for the first time via e-mail and an attachment is needed with your message. This might be a .PDF or .DOC version of your resume, a legitimate job proposal, a portfolio of your images or design work, etc.

Most people would just send the e-mail as normal and include the attachment. However, there are several reasons why you should send your introductory message in one e-mail and notify the recipient that an attachment is coming, and then send the attachment in a follow-up message:

1. Knowingly (or unknowingly, depending on one's Internet Service Provider or employer's e-mail settings), some people have filters set up. This means that when you send a message, the automated filter may remove the attachment (since you are an unknown sender to them). Worse yet, and this can and does happen, the filter might remove the entire message! Thus your well-thought our text may never reach your intended recipient since it included an attachment. Your recipient may never know you tried to contact them.

2. Likewise, some users may be very concerned about spyware and computer viruses. When they see that their Inbox list contains a message from an unknown recipient with an e-mail attachment, they may just delete the message in fear or "file it away for later" (in other words, never read it).

3. Though less likely nowadays, if a user is on a dial-up account with Desktop-based e-mail software, they may only get a notification that an e-mail containing an attachment has arrived. They can then choose to download the e-mail or remove it. Some may choose to remove the message without bothering to read the text.

For really important e-mail, it may prove useful to follow-up a day or two later if you hear no response and politely ask if the recipient received the attachment. You would be surprised how many times attachments do not deliver correctly on the first (or second, third, or fourth) tries! Since you have sent an e-mail before the message containing the attachment, you will not seem as much of an unknown sender, and this may increase the chances of a response.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.