Marshall Adult Education




TECH TIP:  Using Publisher to send HTML E-mail - Part 1

How can you spruce up your emails…make them attractive, add graphics and add links…and do it quite effortlessly and with minimum technical savvy?  Use the new E-mail feature in Publisher 2003. 


You can use earlier versions of Publisher to send HTML email and you can use Microsoft Word.  But Publisher 2003 has added some really neat E-mail templates to use and customize for just the right touch you may be looking for.  There are over 250 templates to choose from in several different categories.


If you’ve been wondering whether or not it is worth upgrading from Publisher 2002 to Publisher 2003, this may actually be a good reason.   There is not a lot of difference between those 2 versions, but this is a nice feature that may just make it worth it – if you are into HTML email.


Before we look into the nuts and bolts of HTML email in Publisher 2003, you should beware aware of what HTML email is and what are the ramifications.


What is HTML email? 

HTML email is email that has the look of a web page.  It may contain graphics and clip art, icons and dividers, links, and formatting that distinguishes it from plain text. 

The advantage of HTML email is that it looks cool.  The disadvantage of HTML email is some people don’t like it because there is the risk of getting a virus or other malware from it.  In fact, some people set their email program to not receive HTML email.  When someone sends them an HTML email, their email program converts it to text only eliminating all links and graphics.  Other people who do receive HTML email actually block the images so that you see only the text.  If they want to see the images, they click on the bar at the top of the email to view them. 


So, why do they block HTML email

Because, HTML emails can carry viruses.  The viruses can be embedded in the links that are in the body of the email.  The graphics in an HTML email can also be links.  Here’s an important tip:  If you receive HTML email, DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS in the email (including the graphics) unless you are sure you know who the email is from and are confident they wouldn’t be sending you a virus.  (You never have to worry about clicking on the links in our Announcements email – they contain no viruses).  


Good antivirus software will scan your email and look for viruses.  That’s good – but don’t rely on it – just don’t click on suspicious or unknown links in your emails.  And if you use Outlook or Outlook Express, be sure you are using the latest version and check for updates and patches regularly.


If you want to take yet another precaution, you can choose to not use the Preview Pane to preview your emails.  If you are using the Preview Pane, you essentially are “opening” your emails without having to double click on them to open them in a new window.   If you click on a link in the Preview Pane, you can then get a virus of other malware just as if you had opened the email and clicked on the link (or graphic).  So using the Preview Pane is risky.  Instead of using the Preview Pane, you can turn it off, and then look at the list of who the emails are from, and determine if you want to really open it.   If you do not recognize someone, just delete it.


In Outlook or Outlook Express, as well as other email clients, you can choose to not use the Preview Pane.  Click on the View Menu, then click on Layout, and de-select the Show Preview Pane. 


I might state here that it is generally accepted that you can get a virus using Outlook or Outlook Express by just opening an email or previewing it in the Preview Pane.  Once again, if you use the latest version and keep it patched, this is very unlikely to happen.


OK – did I sufficiently scare you away from sending and receiving HTML emails?  Well, you don’t have to be too alarmed – despite what some people say.  If you take precautions and if you are careful, you won’t ever be infected by unknown links in your emails. 


What do I do?

I receive and send HTML email and I have never been infected with any malware from them.  I do use the Preview Pane.  But I am careful not to click any links I do not know and I do keep my software patched.  I have never been infected through an email.  (I have been over the web – but that’s another story).


Next week we will discover how to send HTML emails with Publisher and Word.


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E-Mail:    Marshall Adult Education