Thursday, April 12, 2007

Time-saving E-mail Tip

You can save time and create more effective e-mails with a few settings available in your e-mail system.

First, if you haven't already done so, set your e-mail package to automatically spell check your message before it goes out.

And, set it to suggest replacements for misspelled words.

Doing so allows you to take advantage of the full capability of this software feature.

But that's not the best part!

Now that you have these features set, you no longer need to correct your spelling in the editing or proofreading stages.

Correcting your spelling while creating, editing or proofreading your e-mail actually slows you down and could distract you.

Here's where the magic comes in.

The magic assumes two things.

First, we have to assume you actually read your e-mails before you send them.

Reading and sometimes editing your e-mails before you send them is both common sense and common courtesy.

As you proofread it for content, tone, and grammar, forget about correcting misspelled words at this point

As you proofread, you may see misspelled words. DON'T correct them while you're proofreading.

The only words you should correct before hitting the "Send" button are obvious mistakes your spell checker would not recognize.

For example, for some strange reason, every time I try to type the word "from" it comes out "form."

To the spell checker, the word is spelled correctly. Unfortunately, that's not the word I want.

Or, watch out for "your" and "you're."

Also, double check "their," they're," and "there."

Your spell check cannot read your mind.

So this is where you need to be careful.

After you have completed your proofreading stage and spotted the obvious spelling errors and the ones the spell check needs your help on, hit "Send."

Because you have already set your system to suggest spellings, any time the spell checker comes to a misspelled word, it will stop and ask you which spelling you want.

Select the spelling you want and hit okay.

Rather than taking the time to correct it in the writing and proofing stages, you let the computer do the work.

Now for a final word of caution.

I did tell you to proofread your e-mail before hitting the "Send" button. You, not your spell checker, are still responsible for your correct spellings.

I call it "The Porogram Principle."

I once thought I spelled the word "program" correctly in my word processor.

Actually, I spelled the word, "porogram."

Because I had placed the cursor after the word "porogram," the spell checker did not catch the mistake.

When I printed the document, I noticed the misspelling.

I then repeated my original mistake of not placing the cursor in the correct position and again, the spell checker accepted "porogram."

Frustrated by this, I decided to "Google" the word "porogram."

To my amazement, I discovered that Google listed 47,200 listings that contained the word, "porogram."

I checked a half dozen of the listings trying to uncover the mysterious definition of the word.

All I discovered was that 47,200 other people had misspelled the word in their documents and those documents made their way out into the world wide web.

So what does all of this mean?

1. Set your e-mail package to automatically spell check your message before it goes out.

2. Set it to suggest replacements for misspelled words

3. Select the correct spelling of the word when prompted by the spell checker rather than typing the correct word.

If you are a speed typist, this tip may not prove to save you time.

If you type as slowly as I do, you should save time.

And possibly, you could become more effective because you are concentrating on your message, rather than your spelling.

Let me know what you think.

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