A graphic solution to e-mail's pesky X's


April 01, 2004|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

I am running Windows XP and use Microsoft Outlook for e-mail. When I open messages that include photos and other graphics, a box with a red X in the upper-left corner is all that appears. Is there a way to view the photo by adjusting a setting?

I've been getting a large number of questions from folks unhappy about the red X that appears rather than an actual image when opening messages, and there are different answers for the issue with Microsoft Outlook and with the trimmed-down Outlook Express e-mail software.

In Microsoft Outlook, it's easy to convert those empty boxes into proper graphics on a case-by-case basis. Or you can reset Outlook to blithely accept pictures and animations - and heaven knows what else that might be embedded in e-mails from heaven knows whom.

To order the display of graphical elements that are withheld for security considerations, you need to move the mouse arrow onto the red X box and right-click. This brings a pop-up menu that includes a command to download those images from the server where the message is sitting.

Outlook can be adjusted to automatically download graphics, along with the rest of e-mail messages, and it also can be fine-tuned to accept image downloads in messages from trusted sources:

Click on Tools and Options in Outlook, then click the Security tab and then open the Change Automatic Download Settings bar. (However, blocking automatic downloads substantially speeds up e-mail receiving time as well as providing security.)

Users of Outlook Express and many other e-mail programs can set or remove this same downloading feature by using commands built in to Microsoft Internet Explorer to enhance security. Open Internet Explorer and click Tools and Options. Next, open the Advanced tab and scroll down most of the way to the bottom, where you will find a check box to toggle automatic downloading of images.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Contact James Coates at jcoates@tribune.com.

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