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Mailing Web Pages and Links

Sharing the fruits of our Internet surfing with friends and colleagues is something most of us have done at one time or another. For example, if you stumble across a site that catalogs big-eyed artwork or paintings of dogs playing poker, you probably wonít be able to sleep until you share your discoveries with others. Or perhaps youíve discovered that the e-mail forwarded to you by your Aunt Mindy warning that eating cumquats during the vernal equinox can cause depression, is a hoax.

After youíve researched it to confirm that itís a hoax, youíll probably want to send a link to the information you found so cumquat-loving -- though seasonally depressed -- Aunt Mindy can read about it first hand.

One way to send a Web site link is to copy the siteís URL (address) displayed in your browserís address bar and paste it in a new e-mail message. There is, however, a simpler way to e-mail Web pages and links using either Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator -- though the capability is a bit more limited with Netscape. Letís take a look at Internet Explorer first.

Associating an E-mail Program

Before you can send Web page and links to others, you will need to specify which program Internet Explorer should use to send e-mail. Whatever program is used is referred to as its default e-mail program.

During installation, Internet Explorer configures itself to use your systemís default e-mail program as its own default e-mail program, as well. However, you can easily change its associated e-mail program. For example, you may wish to configure Internet Explorer to use your personal Web-based e-mail program instead of the stand-alone e-mail program that you use for business communication. (For more information about associating programs in general, send read the "Filetypes" article here in the Mr. Modem Library.)

To specify which e-mail program Internet Explorer should use, choose Tools > Internet Options from Internet Explorerís menu bar to open the Internet Options dialog box.

Next, click the Programs tab. In the Internet Programs area, choose the e-mail program you would like to associate with Internet Explorer from the e-mail drop-down list. Once you have made your selection, click OK.

Keep in mind that Internet Explorer lists only the e-mail programs that it is able to recognize and utilize within the e-mail drop-down list. If the program you want to use isnít displayed in this list, then it probably isnít supported by Internet Explorerís e-mail functionality.

Sending Web Pages and Links

Now that youíve assigned an e-mail program to Internet Explorer, youíre ready to e-mail Web pages and links. To begin, using Internet Explorer, navigate to the Web page you would like to send a copy of or link to. For our example, weíll use Mr. Modemís Web site at, since youíll undoubtedly want to share Mr. Modem with the world.

To mail a link to this page, click the Mail button on the Standard Buttons tool bar, then choose Send A Link from the drop-down list. Or, to send a copy of the entire Web page, choose Send Page instead. As an alternative, choose Tools > Mail And News from the menu bar, and choose Send A Link or Send Page from the resulting sub-menu.

If the Mail button doesnít appear on Internet Explorerís standard toolbar, you may need to add it manually. To do this, choose View > Toolbars > Customize from the menu bar to open the Customize Toolbar dialog box.

Select the Mail icon in the Available Toolbar Buttons list box and then click Add.

Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to move the Mail button to a suitable location in the current toolbar buttons list, then click Close. As an alternative, you can reapply Internet Explorerís default toolbar settings by clicking Reset.

At this point, Internet Explorer launches the e-mail program you assigned to it and creates a new message. If you havenít yet configured the e-mail program you assigned to Internet Explorer to work with your Internet connection, or if youíve configured your e-mail program but you havenít logged into your account, youíll be prompted to do so. In addition, if this is the first time youíve used Internet Explorerís Send A Link or Send Page option, you may be prompted to install special plug-ins that enable these features to work with Internet Explorerís default e-mail program. If this occurs, click Yes to download and install the necessary plug-ins. For more information about plug-ins, read the "Plug-Ins" article here in the Mr. Modem Library.)

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The new message contains an attached file that consists of the link to or copy of the Web page currently displayed in your Internet Explorer browser. In addition, Internet Explorer inserts the attached fileís name to the new messageís Subject line. You can change the Subject line without affecting the file thatís attached to the message, if you wish.

Specify the recipientís address information as you normally would, and then as a courtesy, add a brief message describing the attachment youíre sending. When youíre finished, simply send the message as you normally would.

To view the Web page, all the recipient must do -- after scanning the attachment for viruses, of course -- is open the attachment. If youíve sent a link to the Web page, rather than a copy of the page itself, the recipient can simply click on the hyperlink that appears in the body of the message.

To Link or Not to Link

How do you decide when to send a link to a Web page and when to send a copy of the page itself? The answer depends on the likelihood that the pageís contents will be changed in the near future.

If the content on the Web page you would like to send is likely to change, itís a good idea to send it as a Web page rather than as a link. When you send a copy of a Web page, the attached pageís contents remain static and arenít affected when the actual site content is updated.

On the other hand, when you send a link to a Web page, youíre simply sending a routing instruction that tells the message recipientís browser or e-mail program where to find the page on the Web. If the pageís contents have been updated since you sent the link, the recipient will see the new content, which could differ dramatically from the content you intended to share.

E-mail Web Pages with Netscape

As I mentioned at the outset, Netscape Navigator also offers a similar capability, though more limited. Letís take a look at whatís possible with Netscape Navigator.

If youíre using Netscape Mail or you have configured Netscape Navigator to recognize your e-mail programs mail server, you can send a Web page link using Netscape Navigator. To do this, choose File > Send Page (or Send Frame, as applicable) from Navigatorís menu bar to open a new Netscape Mail message. As an alternative, right-click the Web page and choose Send Page from the resulting shortcut menu.

When you do, Netscape Navigator opens a new Netscape Messenger message and attaches a copy of the current Web page, including its URL. Add a brief description of the attached page for your recipient, then click the Send button.

If you encounter problems sending mail from Netscape Navigator, chances are your mail server preferences arenít set up correctly. To check or to change them, choose Edit > Preferences from Netscapeís menu bar, then expand the Mail & Newsgroups category.

First, click on the Identity sub-category and make sure your e-mail address is entered correctly in the E-mail Address text box.

Next, click on the Mail Servers sub-category. Verify that the information in the Incoming Mail Servers and Outgoing Mail Server fields are correct. If youíre not sure whether you have specified the correct server names, contact your e-mail provider or ISP.

Sending Web pages and links is a simple task -- so easy that you may wonder why you havenít tried it before. By integrating your browserís e-mail functions with the e-mail program of your choice, this technique can make it even easier and more convenient to share your Web finds with friends and family.

Happy surfing!

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