There’s “standards” and there’s “standards”. The former is an agreed set of protocols or formats designed to assist information exchange. The latter is a ad-hoc adherence to a certain format or protocol because “everyone else is doing it” or “I’m too lazy to configure my email properly”.
Email users sometimes find that they receive email messages with a strange file attached, called winmail.dat. When they attempt to open this file, either it can’t be opened at all, or it contains garbage.
The situation causing this is that people are using several different email client programs to receive, read, and send email. Normally that’s fine and causes no problems. Microsoft Outlook does not “play nice” with the other email programs all the time unfortunately and this causes problems, not for the sender of the email, but the recipient, particularly when actual files are attached to messages.
If someone emails you to complain that they couldn’t read your attachments, or to ask what this “winmail.dat” file is that you sent them, chances are you sent this email using Microsoft Outlook 97/2000 (or, very remotely possibly, another product using Microsoft Exchange Server). Although you are not the one having the problem, you are the one who gets to fix the problem because, at the end of the day, YOU CAUSED THE PROBLEM by using a proprietary version of RTF which wrapped your attachment up. If you’d used plain text or even HTML it would be okay….
If you’re kinda selfish but the the recipient is in your address book and he complains a lot:
- Open up your Outlook Address Book, either by clicking on the Address Book icon or by choosing Tools->Address Book
- Select the recipient’s entry in your address book and open up their Properties, either by clicking on the Properties button or double- clicking on the recipient’s entry.
- Select the “Name” tab in the Properties dialog window.
- Check the box at the bottom of the window that says “Send email using plain text only”.
- Click the “OK” button.
If you enter the recipient’s address manually in the To: line of your email message and like the extra work:
EACH TIME you send a message to this person, you must:
- Create a new email message as you normally would, but before sending it,
- Choose Format->Plain Text from the menu bar.
- Now send your message.
If you want to change your default sending mode which proves you might be ready to be an internet citizen:
You may change your default sending mode in Outlook, thereby sending all email messages as plain text, by doing the following:
- Select Tools->Options from the Outlook menu bar.
- Select the “Mail Format” tab in the dialog window.
- In the first drop-down list, under the “Message Format” heading, select Plain Text
- Click the “OK” button.
Can you tell I spent half of this week working on Windows problems and the other half working on Mac OS 9 problems? That’s BOUND to annoy the nipples off anyone!