1. Technology

Email Etiquette Tips, Tricks and Secrets

There are no hard rules, but there are many hints and guidelines that can help you email efficiently (and creatively) without serious email etiquette faux-pas.
  1. Email Signature Etiquette
  2. How to Forward Emails (34)
  3. Make & Mail a Screenshot (3)

Email Etiquette Rules to Follow
The rules of email etiquette are not "rules" in the sense that I will come after you if you don't follow them. They are guidelines that help avoid mistakes (like offending someone when you don't mean to) and misunderstandings (like being offended when you're not meant to). These core rules of email etiquette help us communicate better via email.

Email Workshop: 5 Days of Email Etiquette
Learn how to use email without offending anybody, how to format your messages, the right way to reply and forward, and a lot more in lessons coming to you comfortably — via email.

"Re:" is for Replies
"Re:" means "Reply:" and should only be used in replies.

Agree About the Format Before Sending an Attachment
Make sure recipients can open the attachments you send them by agreeing on their format beforehand.

Always Check the Recipient of a Reply to a List Message
Don't send personal messages to millions. Double-check where you send your email, especially when you reply to a mailing list message.

Ask Before You Send Huge Attachments
Don't clog email systems without permission.

Avoid "Me Too" Messages
"Me too" is not enough content, but too much annoyance.

Avoid Date Misinterpretations in Emails
I'll see you 020301, right? Here's how to avoid confusion about dates in emails.

Avoid Embarrassing Emails
Avoid embarrassing emails by sending them to yourself only (by default).

Be Careful with Irony in Emails
No, really! I mean it. Honestly!

Be Careful with Punctuation Around URLs
Make sure the links in your emails work. Punctuation around URLs can interfere with that.

Be Sparing of Exclamation Marks
One exclamation mark is certainly enough!! This cannot be stressed enough.

Check Other Replies Before Replying on a Mailing List
New ideas are better ideas. If you read all replies to a particular message on a mailing list before replying yourself, you can avoid repeating something that's already been said.

Clean Up Emails Before Forwarding Them
Forwarding emails is a great way of sharing ideas, but make sure the original idea is not hidden in obfuscation.

Do Away with Titles and Names in Emails
Dear Ms., Mrs. and Mr. Reader... fortunately, emails can often do without titles and names.

Do Let People Know Their Mail Has Been Received
Did the spam filter eat my message? Spare others this nagging question and let them know you got their email.

Do Not Default to "Reply All"
"Reply" is good. "Reply to All" is better. Right?

Don't Forward Hoaxes
Email hoaxes often contain stories that are intriguing, and sure to irritate. Here's how to spot and stop urban legends.

Don't Reply to Spam on a Mailing List
You don't want to be a spammer, do you? Replying to spam that appears on a mailing list may make you look like one, though.

Email Leaves a Permanent Record
Everything you mail will be used against you.

How to Forward Emails as Attachments Intelligently
Share emails by forwarding them in a smart and efficient manner.

How to Forward Emails as Attachments Without Revealing Addresses
Share the full message and the full contents in a clean way, but don't disclose other recipient's email addresses.

How to Catch Typos by Printing Your Emails
You can often find typos or misplaced commas neither your spelling checker nor you yourself catch when proofreading on the screen.

How to Insert any International or Special Character in Mac OS X
If you need to type characters nowhere to be found on your keyboard, Mac OS X provides comfortable ways to find and insert them in your emails.

How to Insert any International or Special Character in Windows
Do you want to include some French in your emails, spell a name or place properly or discuss old Chinese writings maybe? Here's how to include foreign language characters in your messages using Windows.

How to Prevent Annoying Thank-You Notices
End email conversations without unnecessary "Thank You" and "You're welcome" notes that are more annoying than nice.

How to Quote Original Messages Properly in Replies
Make your email replies easy to read and understand by quoting in a smart and useful manner.

How to Separate Multiple Recipients Correctly
Message for you, you, you, and you. If you send an email to multiple recipients, make sure you enter them correctly.

How to Set Your System Clock Right
Make sure you don't send messages from 1981.

How to Use Current Antivirus Software, Keep it Up to Date and Scan for Free
Make sure you're not spreading worms and viruses via email or act as a vehicle for spreading spam. All this can be caused by malicious emails. Fortunately, there's protection.

How to Use Markdown to Send Emails That Look Good in Plain Text and Formatting
Hint at formatting smartly in the plain text email you write and have it rendered as rich text in supporting email programs while the message still looks good to everyone else. Here's how to employ Markdown formatting in your emails.

How to Write a Good Email Subject
Do you make these mistakes in your email subjects? (The key to getting your messages read is not to be clever.)

Keep Emails Short
Do not intimidate recipients with too much text.

Keep Your Email Signature to 5 Lines of Text
"Signature" is a synonym for brief and unobtrusive — or at least it should be, because overly long signatures in emails are an annoyance.

No Need for Street Addresses in Email Signatures
Come visit me, everybody! Unless you want everybody and the whole world to know where you live, don't include your street address in your email signature.

Properly Formatted Email Replies for the Lazy
Do you think quoting original text in your email replies perfectly is a lot of work? Don't let the '>' intimidate you! Here's a very comfortable, relaxed, quick and still clean and compatible way to reply properly.

Punctuation Matters; in Emails Too
Comma, colon, hyphen and semicolon — all exist for a reason: they make it easier to understand the intended meaning of a sentence. Don't make life more difficult and possibly less interesting for the recipients of your emails. Pay some — though not too pedantically much — attention to punctuation.

Remove All Email Addresses When You Forward a Message
Share the message, not email addresses when forwarding an email.

Repeat Important Subject Information in the Body
The Subject line of your emails is important, but you shouldn't rely on it being read or paid attention.

Request Return Receipts Sparingly
Let recipients reply when (ever) they want.

Resize Pictures to Handy Proportions Before Inserting Them in Emails
When your photos look good in your email, you look good, too! Here's how to make sure your images are not larger than screens and mailboxes by resizing them in style — online and for free.

Respect Mailing List Customs
What is okay here may be an affront there. Customs differ from mailing list to mailing list, and you should respect each.

Send Email Etiquette Hints Privately
You made a mistake, if I'm not mistaken. Pointing out email etiquette mistakes in public is not very polite and a bit annoying — an email etiquette faux pas, so to speak.

Smileys Should Ring an Alarm
Don't use smileys to say something you should not (and don't intend to) say in emails.

Take Another Look Before You Send a Message
Don't send anything you don't want to send.

Talk About One Subject per Email Message Only
Help make the world less confusing. Try to talk about one subject per message only. For another subject, start a new email.

The Problem with Using Dialect, Slang and Jargon in Emails
Waach prablym? (The problem that you are so difficult to read.)

Use "OT" in the Subject to Indicate Off-Topic Messages
It's never off-topic to state when your message is.

Use Acronyms Sparingly in Email
DYK? Not everybody knows every acronym, and they don't save that much time anyway.

Use Bold Face in Plain Text Email Messages
Put a bold face onto your plain text. Here's how to make simple text stand out among its peers by mimicking bold face in plain text emails.

Use Bullet Points for Readability in Emails
Bullet points make your emails *easier to read and *easier to reply to.

Use Email the Way You Can Want Everybody to Use It
You have the future, and the present of humankind in your hands — even when you just write an email.

Use Italics in Plain Text Email Messages
Emphasize text the Italian way in your emails by italicizing passages and words, even when you write using plain text only.

Use Lots of White Space in Your Email Messages
Messageswithhardlyanywhitespacearedifficulttodecipher.

Use Only Lower Case Characters in Your Email Address
Choose wisely when creating a new email address and help avoid email address case confusion.

Use the Standard Email Signature Delimiter
Sign your signature correctly by employing the standard signature delimiter in your emails.

Visibly Delete Text in Emails
Do you often (want to) say something without quite saying it? Say something just to be able to take it back? Here's a handy shortcut for doing that in emails, and a way to communicate Freudian slippers, too.

What Can be Misunderstood Will be Misunderstood
The problem that whatever can be misinterpreted will indeed be misunderstood is not unique to email, but with email it is uniquely severe.

When in Doubt, End Emails with "Thanks"
If you don't know how to say good-bye at the end of an email, there's one thing that will almost always be appropriate. Thanks.

When in Doubt, Send Plain Text Email, Not Fancy HTML
Not everybody can receive your fancily formatted emails. Some may even react furiously. To be safe rather than sorry, send plain text emails only when in doubt.

Where to Put Your Signature
Without a line sub-scripted "sign here", how do you decide where to place your email signature? Look here.

Why You Should Compress Files Before Sending Them via Email
Smaller is more beautiful, at least when it comes to email attachments. So make files smaller before your send them via email.

Wondering "How to Put That in Writing", Write "That"
Tell it like it is. Have you noticed how people who you understand perfectly well when you listen to them become cryptic when they start writing?

Wrap Lines at About 65 Characters in Emails
Make your messages a joy to read by ensuring your lines are short and sweet.

Writing in All Caps is Like Shouting
Don't shout in your emails (and all caps is so difficult to read).

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.