Posted by admin on 28th April 2010


You know what email is – you probably use it every day! It’s a really useful way of sending messages between computer users that has been around even longer than web-pages! Here’s a quick look at the behind the scenes way that it works.

  1. A user (let’s call her Liz) types an email on her computer and sends it to her friend Tom.
  2. She hits send and it goes to the server at her ISP or email provider.
  3. The server looks for the person that the email is addressed to. After the @ is the server that the recipient belongs to, so it sends the email on to that server (or keeps it if it’s the same one).
  4. Tom’s server puts the email in the inbox.
  5. When Tom logs in to his server, he downloads the email that’s waiting for him onto his computer.

Email is really useful for international business as you can send an email without the person you’re sending it to being available. Unlike a phone call or an MSN (or other IM) conversation, Liz can send that email to Tom when he’s asleep or away or busy or anything. Also, sending atachments means that documents or files can go with the email, which allows people to work together and share ideas easily.

When you send an email there are lots of boxes to fill in. The first one is “To” – it’s the place you fill in the address of the person you’re sending the email to. Most email programs will let you choose the email from your Address Book to save time and make sure it’s correct

“CC:” is short for “Carbon Copy” – when notes in an office used to be typed, carbon paper was used to make a second copy. Somehow that word stayed on for email too – it’s also there in “BCC:” – Blind Carbon Copy. Addresses in the CC field can be seen by everyone who gets the email. Addresses in the BCC field cannot be seen by anyone getting the email – they get a copy but no-one can see.

The “Subject” field is where you put a short title of what the email is about.

“Attachments” are files that can be sent with the email – clicking on the paperclip allows you to choose what file(s) you want to send.

The exam questions love to make you think about advantages and disadvantages of communicating by email rather than face to face or over the phone. Why not write a list now?!

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