Formatting Business E-Mail
Formatting Business E-Mail
Tim Burress (E-mail Etiquette and Organization Specialist) gives expert video advice on: What is the danger of using elaborate formatting in a business e-mail?; What are the advantages of using HTML formatting for business e-mail?; What are the disadvantages of rich text formatting for business e-mail? and more...
What is the danger of using elaborate formatting in a business e-mail?
There are many dangers in using elaborate formatting in business e-mails. I think some of the most foolish use of elaborate formatting of business e-mails we have seen is largely through the use of graphics and trying to create an impression in e-mail whilst forgetting about the business e-mail itself. But one of the craziest business e-mail format I saw was someone who put a blue background and typed in white. It looked great when they typed it, but when they sent it, it got converted to plain text with a white background. Now white text on a white background is nothing to the receiver, so this caused a lot of confusion until the receiver called the sender and said "you're sending me nothing", and the sender said "No! I'm sending you this blue background with white text!" Then they realised what was happening, so sometimes we don't often think about the receiver, we're just too busy thinking about ourselves in elaborately formatting business e-mails.
What is 'HTML' formatting?
Firstly, HTML is HyperText Markup Language - that's the basic language of the internet. Most computers on the internet operate in HTML and some of it is converted to plain-text and rich-text. So HTML formatting in business e-mails gives you the greatest functionality to use different things like colour, inserting hyperlinks, and a lot of the other functions that we use to communicate in business e-mail. Whereas rich and plain-text limit some of that functionality and you have less ability to use colour, bolding, inserting hyperlinks and so forth in your business e-mails.
What are the advantages of using HTML formatting for business e-mail?
Some of the advantages of using HTML formatting in your business e-mails within a company are great. Because, within a company, if everyone in the company is operating on HTML formatting in their business e-mails, the email will be transmitted with all of the HTML formatting features. If I typed up an email at a particular company and I sent it to a fellow colleague at the same company, it's going to have all the same bolding, the colours, the fonts, the hyperlink.
What are the disadvantages of using HTML formatting for business e-mail?
The disadvantages of using HTML formatting for business e-mails is that most companies convert all incoming e-mails from HTML to the basic language of the internet; into a plain text format. They do that for a couple of reasons. One, it shortens and shrinks the size of the business e-mail because we are often concerned about the size and the amount of e-mail that we are storing. Secondly it converts out a lot of the viruses and other things that can be found in some HTML hyperlinks where spammers are searching for e-mail addresses. So the pros of using HTML formatting in business e-mails are certainly only within an enterprise because you can use the same colour and bolding. The disadvantage of using HTML formatting for you business e-mails when communicating out of your company to another company is you loose that. So you really might type a great message with colours, bolding and fonts but when it goes from your company to another company, it's probably going to show up as plain text. Your business e-mail may actually look a little strange because the HTML formatting may fall off.
What is 'rich text' formatting?
Rich text formatting is a bit under what HTML formatting is. In other words, if HTML has all the functions within an business e-mail application, rich text has about seventy percent less. So, let's use something like being able to use bullet points in HTML formatting, when you convert to rich text you may not be able to use all of the bullet points that you like, or all of the fonts of bullet points in your business e-mail.
What are the advantages of rich text formatting for e-mail?
When using rich text formatting, you're getting more than what you would get in plain text in your business e-mail. You are getting a little more functionality with colours, bolding and highlighting particular aspects of a business e-mail. So those are some of the pros of using rich text formatting in your business e-mails over plain text.
What are the disadvantages of rich text formatting for business e-mail?
Some of the disadvantages of using rich text formatting in your business e-mails is that they don't always convert when they're sent outside of one company to another company. So, in other words, I'm in a particular company, where they're using rich text formatting, and they e-mail out to another company, that company is going to convert it into plain text, as most companies do. Therefore you'll lose some of the formatting of rich text in your business e-mail as you communicate with someone in another company. Within the company itself, most companies allow that sort of HTML to HTML, or rich to rich, or plain to plain, but it becomes difficult when e-mailing out of the company.
What is 'plain text' formatting?
Plain text formatting in your business e-mails is the bottom line. You're basically just typing in pure black and white text and there's no functionalities, colour, bullet points, highlighting, underlining or bolding. All of that is lost in plain text formatting for your business e-mails. However, the advantage of plain text is that the message is a lot smaller in terms of space, and that's why companies use plain text formatting, or why they convert from another company when you try to communicate into a particular company. They'll convert from HTML, to rich, to plain text formatting when receiving a business e-mail.
What does a 'built-in editor' do?
A built-in editor for business e-mail is like using something like Word or WordPerfect or HTML. You're editing a business e-mail using another application to enhance the editing function that you already have within your existing email exchange server, whether it be Outlook or Lotus Notes. So you're getting some other functions and features, such as maybe tracking changes, or a thesaurus. A built in editor gives you some other things that you find really fascinating and interesting in Word, and which you can now use in your business e-mail application.
What emoticons are appropriate in a business e-mail?
There really is no appropriate use of an emoticon in the business e-mail setting because it's hard to understand emoticons of this magnitude. I don't know if the smiley face is a true smiley face indicating you're happy, or if it's a sinister smiley face like 'I'm really not happy because of attitude'. And so it's tough to interpret emoticons in business e-mails and there really are no emotions. It's really depends on the receiver's disposition of whether they are happy that day or sad on how they interpret it, depending upon what emoticons you use in your business e-mail.