Issue #73 December 7, 2004

1. Keeping PPT updated

Recently, I have had a few questions from subscribers asking if PowerPoint has particular bugs that don't allow certain graphics, audio, or video to play properly. These questions happen on a regular basis and my advice is always to first see if you have all the latest updates for PowerPoint. This fixes most of the problems that people have. Unlike Windows, Microsoft Office (and, therefore, PowerPoint) does not automatically check for updates. This means that unless you manually check for updates, you may miss a critical update that solves a problem that occurs in PowerPoint. I had a situation earlier this year where a client was having problems seeing a graphic I had created for them and I couldn't understand what the problem was. That was until I asked them to send me a screen print of what they were seeing. Only then did I realize that what they were describing was completely different than what I was seeing. I checked the Microsoft Support Knowledgebase and discovered that the problem had been fixed in one of the updates to PowerPoint. To make sure that you have the latest updates, go to the http://office.microsoft.com web site and click on the Check for Updates link in the upper right corner of the page. When you follow the instructions, it will automatically download a small application that will check to see which updates are required. It will then walk you through downloading the updates and installing them. If you have problems with a graphic, audio, or video and haven't updated your copy of Office lately, see if updating will solve the problem.

2. Problems with Word as Your Email editor

In Outlook, you can choose to use Word as your e-mail editor if you have Word installed on your computer. Many people select this option because they are already familiar with Word and it makes writing e-mails easier, especially HTML formatted e-mails where you can use different fonts, bold and color. But I have two cautions for you to consider. First, many spam filters look for a high percentage of HTML tags in an e-mail and flag it based on this statistic. Unfortunately, Word uses a large number of tags and simply by using Word as your e-mail editor you are assuring that less of your e-mails will get through. Second, for those e-mails that do get through, many ISPs now disable much of the formatting styles embedded in e-mails because they can contain viruses or other nasty code. The process is sometimes called defanging because it takes the bite out of these e-mails. What this means to you is that the recipient will not see your e- mail as it was intended to be seen, which can cause problems for you. My suggestion is to use HTML formatted e-mails, but use the default editor in Outlook to format them. This built-in editor still allows you to use fonts, color and font effects such as bold, but it creates much cleaner HTML code that is not flagged by filters.

3. Email Etiquette

Recently I did a presentation on using common office technology for improving sales effectiveness. One area the client wanted covered was proper e-mail etiquette. As I researched references for them, I came across one of the best sites on the topic and know that many of you will want to check it out. It lists 32 rules that we need to keep in mind in order to not annoy or even offend those we are sending e-mail to. It is also a good site for you to send to others who are making these mistakes. Check it out at: http://www.emailreplies.com.