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Don Edrington

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Sharing Photos via Email

Why a Red "X" Instead of a Picture?

If you want to send photos to friends and family via email there are different ways to do it. Some email programs, such as Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and AOL Mail, let you "attach" them to a message or "insert" them into a the body of a message. However, whether the photos arrive attached or inserted depends largely on the email program used by the recipient. Outlook Express and Windows Mail users normally receive pictures inside the message, while most Web-based programs display them as attachments.

My favorite way of sending a photo is to first locate it (usually in the Pictures or My Pictures folder), right-click it and choose Send To>Mail Recipient. This causes my default email program to open with the photo already attached. Multiple photos can be attached by holding down Ctrl, left-clicking the pictures, and then right-clicking anywhere in the selected group to display Send To>Mail Recipient.

Bear in mind, however, that attaching multiple photos may exceed the file size limits set by different ISPs. Attach only one picture per message if you have any doubts, since large attachments may be dropped along the way, causing recipients to see the dreaded red X in a white box instead of a picture.

Another thing that can bring up the red X is a filter that blocks incoming pictures automatically, since images can carry a virus or be part of an identity-theft "phishing" scam.

Outlook Express users can defeat this filter by clicking Tools>Options>Security, and unchecking "Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus." They also need to deselect "Block images and other external content in HTML email." In Windows Live Mail these optons are found under Tools>Safety Options>Security.

Having done this, however, users are admonished to be very, very careful about downloading or opening any attachment they are not expecting or did not ask for.

Back to sending holiday pictures, those with smaller file sizes are more likely to arrive intact than those with large file sizes. There are three ways to reduce file sizes: (1) Reduce the physical size of the picture, (2) Crop the picture, (3) Change the picture's display resolution.

I use Irfanview (free from www.irfanview.com) to handle these chores.

To make a photo physically smaller, open it in Irfanview, click Image>Resize/Resample, and type in the smaller dimensions you want. Alternatively, many email programs ask if you want to send pictures at full size or at a smaller size.

To crop a picture in Irfanview (eliminate extraneous scenery around the main subject) draw a box around the subject with your left mouse button depressed, do Edit>Cut, and then Edit>Paste, whereupon the selected area will replace the original picture.

To change the display resolution click Image>Resize/Resample and type in the DPI (dots per inch) of your choice. If you send a picture with the idea of the recipient outputting it on paper, you should choose at least 300 DPI for a satisfactory print-out. If the picture is intended to be simply viewed on a computer monitor, 72 or 96 DPI will be adequate.

© — Donald Ray Edrington — All Rights Reserved

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