Email Program Configuration

Your email client needs to be correctly configured to work properly. Each email application has a Settings, Options, Preferences, or similar menu item under the Edit or Tools menu. The best advice for initial configuration of your email client is to follow the instructions of your Internet Service Provider, who will usually provide telephone help with setup of email settings for most common email clients.

After you are familiar with the options, you can feel comfortable in changing them to suit your needs. Common settings are described below in alphabetical order:

  • Attachment directory: Set this to the name of the folder where you wish attachments to be stored. You should create a folder called “Attachments” or “Download Files”, and store it on your desktop or somewhere easily accessible so that downloaded attachments don’t get buried where you won’t notice them.
  • Check for mail: Set to some reasonable interval for automatically checking if you have mail, such as 15 minutes.
  • Connection method: Often PPP, or network, modem, or offline. Historical: SLIP (late 1990’s).
  • Copies: Option may be “Keep copies”, “Retain copy”, “Copy to Out mailbox” or similar option. Make sure this is turned on so that you keep copies of all mail you send. You can check that this feature is working by looking to see that sent mail is in fact retained in your Out mailbox.
  • Encoding: The best method for encoding attachments is MIME. If the recipient can’t read the attachment, try BinHex, Uuencode, or AppleDouble for the Macintosh, in that order, but always change it back to MIME for everyone else.
  • Email notification: May also be called Email Alert or Email Alarm. Set to the type of alarm you desire: none, sound, or alert box. A sound is a good compromise — something you will notice, but unobtrusive if you are working on important work.
  • Finger: Your Internet provider’s domain name, such as “”.
  • Immediate send: Select this to make sure that email is sent when you send it.
  • Leave mail on server: Do not select this, and do select any option that lets you download the mail to your computer. Therefore, when you read your email you will actually get possession of it.
  • Name: Your name.
  • POP account: Your email address, in the form “”.
  • Quoted-Printable: Turn this option off. This option is needed by older programs to transmit special characters such as accented characters, but is not supported by many modern programs. If it is turned on, it will often end up putting a whole bunch of equal signs in the email, like th=is, mak=ing it ver=y hard to rea=d.
  • Return address: Your email address, in the form “”.
  • Return receipts. Enables you to set the return receipt option on or off for all outgoing emails. Some applications also include an option to ignore all incoming requests for receipts.
  • Save password: Saves your password in your email program the first time you enter it, so you don’t have to retype it every time you log on. This is the most convenient and safest option, unless you think someone could use your computer without your knowledge and might read your email. Most people turn this on.
  • SMTP server: The domain name of your email provider’s Simple Mail Transfer Protocol server, in the form “”.
  • Spell-Check: Always turn this on so you can do an automatic spell-check before sending.
  • Word wrap: When this option is selected, long lines of text are automatically cut into shorter lines, usually between 70 and 80 characters in length, by the insertion of return characters. This is performed for older email readers that can’t automatically word wrap a long paragraph of text. This option is not needed for most modern applications, and you should turn it off for most uses. (Also see ASCII Standard Text Format).