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Ask The Pro: What types of files can I send as email attachments?

By Keith Klein | Ask the Pro

Apr 01

While email attachments make sharing files convenient, viruses and file sizes are major concerns. Nobody wants to wait hours to download a huge attachment, or have a virus sneak in and wreck havoc on his or her computer. By using a few simple tips, email attachments can be courteously and safely sent across the Internet.

Files with a “.exe” extension and Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, etc.) make up 99% of all viruses on the Internet. Even with a virus scanning program, brand new viruses might get into an “.exe” file, so users are recommended to never open them. If you receive a Microsoft office file, make sure it is from a trusted source. Never open any type of attachment if you do not know who or where it came from!

Always scan your attachments before opening and sending them. If you have a virus scanner, be sure to stay up to date on your updates. Set your anti-virus program to “automatic live updates” on at least a weekly, preferably daily, basis. Always scan attachments before sending. While a virus scanner is a good tool to prevent virus infection, it’s not perfect. If a new virus pops up before you get the latest update, you could, unwittingly, get a virus and send it out with your attachments.

When sending images as attachments, it’s important to crop and compress the files so they don’t take a long time to download for the recipient. Programs such as Adobe Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements), geared towards amateur photographers) can be used to edit photos. Cropping removes unnecessary parts of the photo. Compression will take an original image and remove colors that the human eye is unable to distinguish between. Both of these methods result in smaller images that can then be sent.

The recommended way to compress a file is to use “.jpg” compression. To do this, when you save an image, select the File: Save As… option. Then find the Format listbox and select JPG or JPEG from the dropdown list. You may be presented with another option of a quality setting. If you are, using trial and error, select a level that suits your taste. Typically, 7-9 will compress the file significantly without resulting in a noticeable quality loss. If you have a file that you’d like to compress already saved on your hard drive, simple open the file and follow these instructions as if it were a new file.

If the file is still too big to be sent after cropping and compression, or you have many images to send, it might be better to upload those images to the web, then send a link to the page of images instead of the actual files. There are many websites with gallery services available, including our own theBubbler.com Photo Gallery.

When sending any kind of large file, you might want to compress it. To do this, both the sender and recipient will need to have a program that can read the compressed file, like WinZip. To compress a file, simply drag the files into WinZip and save the resulting compressed file before sending it. The recipient will then be able to use WinZip to open the file.

What would you like to ask the pro? Email your questions to askthepro@OnYourMark.com!

Links Mentioned in this Article:

– www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/
– www.adobe.com/products/photoshopel/
– www.winzip.com
– www.theBubbler.com

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