Email Faux Pas and other Tips and Tricks

image If you send me an email with the subject line of “Hi” and your email is in my junk folder, I won’t read it. Would you? Nine out of nine times that email is really junk. Junk email is becoming a real problem for most people who use the Internet as their primary email service. Title your emails so that they sound interesting enough to read.

I also recommend that you use the ‘white list’ method of sorting through junk. (Photo by Louis Trocciola)

Microsoft Hotmail: Exclusive

For example, in Microsoft’s Hotmail you have the option of choosing Exclusive for your junk e-mail filter; only messages from email addresses on your Contacts or Allowed senders lists appear in your Inbox. Messages from senders not on those lists are automatically sent to the Junk folder.

You should occasionally check your Junk folder to make sure that good messages are not sent to there by mistake. If you notice a message that was inadvertently put in the Junk folder, open the Junk folder, select the message, and then, on the Action bar, click Not junk. But by using this method of filtering your Inbox, you can greatly reduce the junk that you see everyday.

Manage your Contacts

To help you keep your contact list (Your contact list is where you keep information about people who are in your network on Windows Live or on your Windows Live Messenger list, such as their name, e-mail address, and phone number. When people share their details with you, you automatically get updated contact information from them. ) organized, you can import your contacts from other e-mail accounts, and merge or clean up duplicate contacts. When you create or import a name or e-mail address that contains the same or similar information as an existing contact, Windows Live prompts you to merge the contact with an existing contact or to add it as a new contact.

To use your contact list in other programs, you can export your contacts to a file that can be edited in a spreadsheet or a program that does mail-merges, such as Microsoft Office Word. You can then open the file in any text editor or word-processing program, or import it into a spreadsheet or into your e-mail program.

Merge duplicate contacts:

  1. Sign in to the Windows Live Hotmail website with your Windows Live ID ( The user name and password that you use to sign in to any Windows Live, MSN, or Office Live sites and services. If you have a Passport Network, Hotmail, or Messenger account, you can use it as your Windows Live ID. ) , and then click People.
  2. Select the check boxes next to the contacts that are for the same person.
  3. At the top of the page, click Manage.
  4. Click Merge.
  5. Check and, if necessary, edit the contact details.
  6. Click Save.

Clean up duplicate contacts: You may have people more than once in your contact list with different contact information. To tidy them up, do the following:

  1. Sign in to the Windows Live Hotmail website with your Windows Live ID ( The user name and password that you use to sign in to any Windows Live, MSN, or Office Live sites and services. If you have a Passport Network, Hotmail, or Messenger account, you can use it as your Windows Live ID. ) , and then click People.
  2. At the top of the page, click Manage.
  3. Click Clean up contacts.
  4. Click Clean up duplicate contacts.
  5. If you have duplicate contacts, they are listed with the number of matches found. Contacts that contain the same information are identified as Exact matches. Contacts that contain similar information, such as the same e-mail address or the same name are identified as Similar matches.
  6. From the list, select a name.
  7. To delete a duplicate contact, check the box next to it, and then click Delete.

    –or–

    To merge the information of duplicate contacts, click Merge.

  8. Click Save.
  9. Repeat these steps for each name on the list.

Import contacts from another e-mail program or service:

  1. Before you can import your contacts into Windows Live, you must first export them to a file from your other e-mail program or service. See the Help documentation for your other e-mail program or service for more information.
  2. Sign in to the Windows Live Hotmail website with your Windows Live ID ( The user name and password that you use to sign in to any Windows Live, MSN, or Office Live sites and services. If you have a Passport Network, Hotmail, or Messenger account, you can use it as your Windows Live ID. ) , and then click People.
  3. At the top of the page, click Manage.
  4. Click Import.
  5. Under Option 2: Import from a file, select the e-mail program or service that you want to import your contacts from.
  6. To find the file that you want to import, click Browse.
  7. Locate the file, and then click Open.
  8. Click Import contacts.

Export contacts to a CSV file:

  1. Sign in to the Windows Live Hotmail website with your Windows Live ID ( The user name and password that you use to sign in to any Windows Live, MSN, or Office Live sites and services. If you have a Passport Network, Hotmail, or Messenger account, you can use it as your Windows Live ID. ) , and then click People.
  2. At the top of the page, click Manage.
  3. Click Export, and then click Export contacts.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Select the location where you want to save the file on your computer, and then click Save.
  6. Your contacts are downloaded into a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file, in which the comma character (,) separates each field of text. To edit or use them, import the saved file into a spreadsheet, e-mail program, or word processing document.

I hope this short primer, taken from the Windows Live Hotmail help files, can move some of my friends from rookie to email zen master status. Well, maybe just to power user status.  ;O)

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About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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2 Responses to Email Faux Pas and other Tips and Tricks

  1. Maria says:

    Very helpful indeed, I rarely check my e-mail these days but even when I do it’s usually full of rubbish ;o)

  2. JaAG says:

    Some of us are really tied to our email inboxes. I do feel frustrated when some of my peeps don’t keep up though. I did feel like I accomplished a lot by getting my sister to check her email more than once a week! :O)

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