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E-Mail Message Body

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While other parts like headers and trailers have their purpose, the "meat" of an e-mail message is in its body; that's where the actual message goes. This section discusses the format of the body section of an e-mail message.

  • HTML vs. Plain Text -- Should your message use HTML tags for formatting, or just "keep it simple, stupid" with plain text?

  • Half-Assed HTML -- AOL's mail program encourages the use of some HTML tags in otherwise plain-text messages. Does this make any sense?

  • Line Length -- How long should the lines of your message be? What problems will result if they're too long?

  • Character Sets -- Do you need to use foreign-language characters or mathematical symbols in your messages? Do incoming messages sometimes have weird characters that don't show correctly for you? Here's what the standards have to say about this.

  • Emoticons -- What are all those "smileys" and "frownies" you see in messages? Are they a good :-) or bad :-( idea?

Next: Many people like to add a signature block to the end of their messages. Many mail servers tack on other things, like ads and disclaimers. Here is some information about message trailers, and what the traditions of netiquette have to say about them.

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This page was first created 11 May 2003, and was last modified 29 May 2003.
Copyright © 2003-2011 by Daniel R. Tobias. All rights reserved.

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