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Avoid sending Word attachments: netiquette tip

Let’s say you’ve created a Word document and you want to send a copy to your coworker. Common practice is to compose a new email and simply attach the word document to it. But proper email etiquette suggests that you ask yourself, “Does the layout of this document matter?”

Casually attaching Word documents to your emails can cause problems for the receiver:

  1. Word documents are unnecessarily large for the information they contain. Compare the size of a word documents with a plain text email containing the same information and you’ll find that the Word document is much larger.
  2. Word documents are susceptible to a type of virus known as a “macro virus.” It’s harder for this type of virus to spread if you don’t email Word documents. Plain text emails cannot contain viruses.
  3. Opening Word attachments requires starting up the Word program. For slower machines this will affect performance.
  4. Word documents created with one version may not be readable by another, forcing others to upgrade or leaving them unable to open the attachment.

Before attaching that Word document, please ask yourself, “Is the information I am sending simply text? Does the layout really matter? Does the receiver need to review color, column width, font size or images? If the answer is no, copy and paste the text into a plain text email.

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