TIPS for sending well-formatted emails

Andy Gianniotis hiandy at
Mon May 14 09:19:25 MDT 2001

Dear all hard-working email news forwarders,

Please spend that little extra time formatting emails so we can all save
that little extra time for class struggle and not extra eye-strain, extra
cut&paste keystrokes, extra
I'll-just-ignore-that-too-bad-it-looked-interesting fits of frustration and
all the other ways we deal with the tyranny of laddered emails.

This is a little TIPS article I wrote not long ago for all comrades in my
organisation who, not meaning to, bug the hell out of their fellow
hard-working comrades by sending badly formatted emails. I hope its useful.
Its for all those using PCs and Micr$soft buggedware.

How to re-format text from the Internet

TIP 1: write a Microsoft Word macro that will straighten out others emails
that are formatted all over the place for quick forwarding. See below for a
step-by-step guide to do this. You need to do this anyway for anything that
you get from the internet that you just cut-and-paste. The problem is the
line breaks and paragraph breaks. When you then paste into an email message,
the programs are not smart enough to recognise where you want the line
breaks and where you don't want them.

TIP 2: when cutting and pasting from Microsoft Word, first paste into
Notepad, Select all, then Cut and paste into your email message. This
eliminates the (very) annoying habit of Microsoft trying to second guess
your formatting wishes. I.e. if you don't have paragraph formatting set (and
use a blank line to separate paragraphs like all sane people), if you paste
straight into Outlook Express, bingo, you get paragraph spacing whether you
like it or not. (obviously if you want formatting, this doesn't work but
then again you should attach files when you want to keep formatting). For
Window 98 uses, keep a notepad icon in the quick launch toolbar (the toolbar
next to the Start button) or in the Start menu so this process is a painless
operation. To do this, drag the Notepad icon from Start/Programs/Accessories
menu, to the beginning menu, or down to the quick launch toolbar. Believe
me, the world will be a better (and less stressful) place without emails
that ladder all over the place.

Word Macro:  (this may look difficult but I've made it as "user friendly" as
possible - give it a go !!!) - this should be the same for Word97 and

1) Select Tools/Macro/Record New Macro.     - Enter a name in the 'Macro
Name' field - give it a name comrades might recognise like
"Convert_Internet_Text", and I recommend assigning it to a keyboard shortcut
(press the 'Keyboard' icon) - I use ALT Q  (stick a sign above above the
computer so others know) - after entering your preferred keyboard shortcut
press 'Assign', then 'Close'  - an icon then appears which has two buttons -
a stop button and a pause button. Until you click the stop button, the macro
will record everything you do. As soon as you press the stop button, your
macro is ready to be used. Don't do this until the end (step 4).

2) Make the following Find and Replaces in the following order - press  CTRL
H  to bring up the Find & Replace dialog box, and for each 'replace' press
ALT A  to replace all ...
 a) FIND WHAT:   ^l      REPLACE WITH:    ^p      (the first symbol can be
found by pressing SHIFT 6 - now you're really sucking eggs !! - the letter
is a lower case L - this replace converts all line breaks with paragraph
marks - when getting stuff from the internet, the text is usually formatted
with a mixture of the two) - don't forget to press ALT A after each "Find &
Replace" and you don't have to close the Find & Replace dialog box after
each replace.
 b) FIND WHAT:   ^p   (but put a space before the '^' symbol)      REPLACE
WITH:   ^p   (with no space)  - this is necessary for a step below
 c) FIND WHAT:   ^p   (but put a space after the '^' symbol)      REPLACE
WITH:   ^p   (with no space)  - again this is necessary for a step below -
you probably won't find anything to replace - don't worry.
 d) FIND WHAT:   ^p^p      REPLACE WITH:   $%$        - this finds all
existing paragraph sections and stores this information with a character
combination that no internet article should contain - if, by a million to
one chance, the character combination '$%$' DOES appear then simply use
another combination.
 e) FIND WHAT:   ^p          REPLACE WITH:   (one space - ie press spacebar
once in Replace field)  - this finds all unwanted line breaks and converts
them into a space
 f) FIND WHAT:   $%$        REPLACE WITH:   ^p^p       - this puts the
paragraph marks back into the document
 g) FIND WHAT:   (two spaces - ie press spacebar twice in the 'Find' field)
REPLACE WITH:   (one space - ie press spacebar once in Replace field)  -
this finds all instances of double spacing and converts them into a single
space - may not be necessary but it doesn't hurt to include in the macro

3) Now press ESC (or) press CANCEL to close the Find & Replace dialog box

4) Now press the stop button we discussed above  - if you hover the mouse
pointer over the button it should say "stop recording".

5) that's it !!! you can now use the macro.  - Woo Hoo !!

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