ANSI - American National Standards Institute

E-mail Etiquette

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Check the address: Double-check the recipient’s e-mail address; you don’t want to send your e-mail to the wrong person, especially if you are sending important, private or sensitive e-mails.

Fill in the subject box: E-mails without a subject heading are often ignored as unimportant or deleted as junk mail.

Use the BCC function: When you are sending information to a large number of people, use the BCC function. It sends the e-mail out to each recipient individually. The only other e-mail address that will appear in the recipient’s mailbox is that of the sender.

Do you need to send an attachment?: An enormous amount of time and energy is wasted by people struggling with incompatible formats, files that never arrived, and attachments that got garbled or stripped off the message. Consider copying the text of the attached file into the body of the e-mail message.

Pause before clicking “Reply To All”: When responding to e-mails, decide if everyone on the original list should receive, or would welcome, your feedback. If you can make a useful contribution to a discussion, then do, otherwise, do not get involved.

Your response should be first: If you respond to an e-mail and want to include text from the original e-mail, make sure that your response is at the top of the e-mail being sent.

Consider file size: Large files take longer to download, use up space on e-mail servers and are sometimes undeliverable. Consider whether images are needed, and if large files can be compressed.

Plain text and HTML do not mix: It is best to respond to an e-mail in the format in which it was received as this ensures that the recipient will be able to read it. If you respond to a plain text message by using HTML then the message will be, at best, difficult to read and often unreadable.

Do not use CAPITAL LETTERS: If possible, avoid using capital letters, not only are capital letters difficult to read but they are associated with shouting and considered rude.

Some messages should be delivered in person: Tragic news or an emotional reaction such as anger is handled best in person and not through e-mail. The problem is that with an e-mail the words are separated from the physical emotion in your voice and face — even your body language can speak volumes.

Pause before you hit the send button: If an e-mail was written in anger, it is best to calm down and think before sending it. A problem is best solved with a clear and calm frame of mind.

Personal stationary should be used for personal e-mail: When sending or responding to business e-mail it is best not to use personal stationary and graphics.

Do not forward chain e-mail: Chain e-mail is not only tacky, but it is banned from many corporate networks. Inboxes are already inundated with chain letters and junk mail, and you can stop the procession by deleting it upon receipt. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have some method of identifying and blocking junk e-mail.

Microsoft Outlook users:
To add someone to the Junk Senders list in Outlook, please take the following steps:

Open Outlook. In the Inbox, click a message from the sender whose e-mails you want to automatically delete. On the Actions menu, highlight Junk e-mail, click Add to Junk Senders List.


The tips and guidelines shown above are based on an April 19, 2004, article by PC Magazine

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