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|Problems with email attachments|
Problem: Someone has sent me a document as an email attachment, but I can't open it, or when I do, it's all gobbledygook.
The reasons and the cure:
Microsoft Word® only: you have an earlier version of Word than the document you've received was created in. Read the simple but annoying solution
How do I know what's happened? What can I do about it? Read on...:
1. A program you don't have on
What you see when you try and open a file which was created using a program which you don't have on your computer.
What to do:
a) Don't always believe your computer. Sometimes Windows gets forgetful. A file extension it has known about for years (i.e. *.doc) will suddenly show up as . All you need to do is scroll down the list of programs in the list above until you find Microsoft Word, select it, and press OK. If you think Windows is just being stupid (e.g. it ought to know that *.doc files open with Word) select "Always use this program to open these files".
b) Give up, go to your computer shop/internet and buy/download the program you need. The clue to what program has been used to create the file is in the file extension. Scroll down the file extensions page to see a table of common file extensions and the programs which are used to create them.
c) Email the person who sent the file, and ask
them if they can send the file in an alternative format.
Example: someone sends you a Word document (dissertation.doc). Somehow (don't ask me how), your computer or email program has read this as dissertation.html, so instead of the Word icon (the big W) you get the Internet Explorer icon (the big E), since *.html is computer-speak for "please open this file with Internet Explorer".
How do you know? You don't, but if someone sends you a normal file which you reckon you should be able to open but you can't, you can try tricking your computer into reading the file properly, by changing the file extension into what you think it should be. Once you realise how crusty Windows can be at times, you'll see that this isn't high-tech nerdy stuff, it's day-to-day problem-solving.
What to do.
2. Retype the name, but put a different file extension, e.g
2. a) The file selected: (the green icon is the symbol for a Macromedia Dreamweaver file)
2. b)The file after pressing F2/rename: note how a box has appeared around the file name, and a cursor appears, waiting for your input
2. c) The file now I have changed the extension to *.doc. Note that the icon has automatically changed to a Word icon.
When you double-click on this icon, you may well find that what appeared to be a corrupt or unrecognised file actually opens quite normally.
This can happen
In both cases, you need to add the file extension to the filename yourself, having guessed what sort of file it was that your friend sent you. Trial and error doesn't hurt - you can always rename it back again. Follow the instructions in (2) above.
This is frequently the most logical explanation for (2) above.
If it's that simple, why doesn't that dialog box say "sorry,
either Windows has screwed up, or you need to go and buy program x, because
this computer doesn't have the right software to open this file? Have
you thought of renaming the file?
I don't know. Thousands of people all around the world have to write
pages like this one, to make up for deficient information, unhelpful menus
and poor progam design from Microsoft.
|Updated Sunday November 11, 2001 4:29 PM|
© Jonathan Still 2001 You may quote from these pages, but if your selection includes a reference I have made to someone else's work, please make sure that the attribution is clear. By not doing so, you may implicate me in plagiarism.