Attaching a file to an e-mail

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Do you remember the address of Mr. John Smith in London? (See Opening a file.) Suppose I mailed that letter to Mr. Smith from USA. To deliver that letter to Mr. Smith the postal department people have to read the address from bottom to top. They first need to know the name of the country where that letter is going to, then the name of the city, then the neighborhood, then the street name and number, then apartment number, lastly the person's name. Don't you think while addressing a letter we should begin with the country's name and end with the recipient's name?

Well, computer addresses (sometimes called path) are written in a more logical manner, and they look something like this:

(It begins with the letter code of the drive, followed by a colon and a backslash.Then the name of the folder, backslash, then the name of the file. If there are more than one folder involved, their names are written in a sequence beginning with the outermost folder. The folder names are all separated by a backslash. The name of the file is written last, with a backslash preceding it.)
To continue with the example of my Rolex watch's location, as described in the section Opening a file, the path (or address) of the watch, when written in computer language, will look like this:
Master Bedroom:\My Dresser\Third Drawer\Jewelry Box\rolex_watch

When I tell the computer to attach a file with my e-mail, I have to give the computer the complete address of the file (or its path) so that the computer can locate it and attach it with my e-mail. In the above example in red, I am telling the computer that my daughter's photo (file name "happy_mimi.jpg") is to be found in the following way:
a. Go to drive "C".
b. Within drive "C", find the folder called "Pagemgr".
c. Within "Pagemgr" look for a folder called "Work".
d. Within "Work" look for a folder called "Annodb".
e. Within "Annodb" look for the file called "happy_mimi.jpg".

If this address is correct, the computer will locate the file at lightning speed and will, like an obedient servant, attach it with my e-mail.

So, here is the step by step method of attaching a file with an e-mail:

1. Open your e-mail program.
2. Address and compose a message.
3. In AOL, look for "Attachments" button on bottom left of the e-mail form. This varies with different e-mail programs. You just have to look. In Eudora, on the top of the form click on Message, then click on Attach File to New Message.
4. In AOL, when you click on Attachments button, you come to the following form:

AOL's Attachments form
AOL's Attachments form.

5. Click on Attach.
6. At this stage, in all e-mail programs, the familiar form will appear where you will select the file to be attached by specifying the "Look in" folder, selecting the "Files of type", then clicking on the name of the file you want to attach. The screen shot below shows that I have selected a photo file named "shoban".

A file named 'shoban' has been selected
A file named "shoban" has been selected.
(An AOL screen shot).

7. Now click on Open. In Eudora, the path of the file will get written above the message box of the e-mail form. In the example given above, the path will be

AOL displays an Attachments confirmation window. This window also provides for more attachments. AOL automatically compresses multiple attachments for faster transmission and automatically decompresses the files once they are downloaded by the recipient. The AOL attachment confirmation window looks like this:

AOL's attachment confirmation window
AOL's attachment confirmation window.

8. If you want to send more attachments, click on the Attach button again and repeat steps 6 and 7. If not, in AOL, click on OK. You will return to your original e-mail form, with the attachment details given on the bottom. See screen shot below.

Your e-mail with attachment ready to be sent
Your e-mail with attachment ready to be sent.
(An AOL screen shot).

9. At this stage, in any e-mail program, when you have received the attachment confirmation message (the path of the file to be attached has been shown) you can hit the Send button to send your e-mail. (Note: Notice in the above screen shot the "Send Now" button is dimmed. So I have to hit the "Send Later" button. This has happened because I was working "offline" while I was creating the screen shots of how to attach a file to an e-mail :-)

Some tips:

If you are sending an attachment with your e-mail for the first time in your life, it is a good idea to send a copy to yourself to make sure that you did everything right.

Opening an attachment usually does not take anything more than a double click on the attachment. In AOL, you click on "Download Now" button. The file(s) will automatically download in a special Download folder located inside the AOL folder (unless you select a different location) and AOL will even ask you if you want to see the downloaded file(s) now. You just have to say "Yes" to see the downloaded file(s) immediately.

It is a good idea to scan the downloaded files with your anti-virus program immediately (before opening them) as attachments coming with e-mails are one of the commonest source of virus infection.

When you send an attachment with your e-mail, the original file remains in your computer. Only a copy of the file is sent as an attachment.

If you need help using the Internet, check out the companion site:
Internet Basics For Seniors
If you need help with Windows XP, check out the companion site:
Help with Windows XP (New)
If you are an absolute beginner in computing, check out:

ABC's of Computing


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