Learning Resources

E-mail components includes address signature attachments

Various compnents of e-mail

Addresses: Consist of: username@domain. At OSU, the username is the person's last name followed by a period and a number. The domain is always osu.edu (staff/faculty) OR buckeyemail.osu.edu (students).

Messages: First, set up your mail program. When you receive mail, it is downloaded into your Inbox. Send messages and copy to others (use CC: and BCC: fields). Reply to messages you receive, or forward them to others.

Attaching Files: When sending other files as attachments to messages, be aware of what file formats your reader can open. Try to use cross-platform formats that can be read on a PC or a Macintosh. Also be aware that attachments may carry computer viruses.

Managing Your E-mail: Use folders (or mailboxes) to store and organize mail you wish to keep. Use filters (or message rules) to route certain messages to mailboxes automatically. If you have several e-mail accounts, set up one program to retrieve mail from all of them.

Signatures and Style: Signatures are small text files that contain contact or other information and can be added automatically to your messages. Observe rules of online courtesy and style (netiquette) when sending e-mail.

Understanding Internet Email Addresses

An email address on the Internet usually has the form:


The local-address part is often the user's log-in name, the name you give to get in touch with your Internet server. That's followed by the character @, called the at sign. To its right is the domain name of the computer system that handles the email for the user. Sometimes the domain-name portion is the name of a specific computer such as oregano.mwc.edu. It could be more general, such as mwc.edu, and in this case the systems at the site mwc.edu handle delivering mail to the appropriate computer. The portions or fields making up the domain name are separated by periods (the periods are called dots).

Here are two examples:


If you were going to tell someone the address, you would say ernie at oregano dot mwc dot edu. (Ernie and oregano are pronounced as a word, but mwc [em double-u see] and edu [e dee you] are pronounced as individual letters.)


When you know someone's email address, you have an idea of their log-in name and the name of the Internet site they use. You should be able to send email to postmaster at any Internet site. That's the address to use if you have questions about email to or from a specific host or site or general questions about a site. However, you may not get a quick response, since the person designated as postmaster usually has lots of other duties.

Dissecting Email-Headers, Message Body, Signature

One piece of email has three main parts:

  1. Headers
  2. Message body
  3. Signature

The headers are pieces of information that tell you and the email system several important things about a piece of email. Each header has a specific name and a specific purpose. You'll see some, but not necessarily all the headers each time you read a piece of email. They're all generated and put in the proper form by the email program you use, some with information from you, such as the address of the recipient, and some done automatically, such as the date.

When you read an email message, you're likely to see these headers. Here is a list of the most common headers.

  • Subject: The subject of the email
  • Date: When the email was sent
  • From: The email address of the sender
  • To: The email address of the recipient

The message body is the content of the email - what you send and what you receive. When you're sending email to a computer system where your message will be interpreted by a computer program, you'll be given instructions to use specific words or phrases in the message body. One time you might have to follow instructions like this when you subscribe to a discussion group. Here's an example:

TO SUBSCRIBE (UNSUBSCRIBE): Send email message to:
The body of the message should read: Subscribe (unsubscribe) test-listproc your name

The signature, which is optional, isn't a signed name but a sequence of lines, usually giving some information about the person who sent the email. It is made up of anything the user wants to include. Usually a signature has the full name of the sender and some information about how to contact the person by email, phone, or fax. Some signatures also contain a favorite quotation or some graphics created by typing characters from the keyboard. Make sure it's not too long. The longer it is, the more bytes or characters have to be sent, and so the more traffic to be carried on the Internet. It's fun to be creative and come up with a clever signature, but try to limit it to five lines.

An example signature file

Information Department URL https://www.vskills.in
Vskills Vskills College
India VOICE +91 - 011 - 473 44 723
info@vskills.in FAX   +91 - 011 - 473 44 723

You don't have to type in the signature each time. Email programs will automatically append the contents of a specified file to each outgoing message. The name of the file depends on the program you're using for email. Some common names are signature, sig, or signature.txt on computers that use Microsoft Windows as the operating system. On Unix systems the name .sig or .signature is often used. Most email programs allow you to specify what file to use as a signature, but you should check with a local expert about the precise name of the signature file. With Netscape, you set the name and location of the signature file by clicking on Edit in the menu bar, selecting Preferences, and then clicking on Mail & Groups, and then selecting Identity.