Helpline

HELPLINE

October 21, 2004|By JAMES COATES

Q: My mother has macular degeneration, and I like to show her e-mails from family to read. I use Microsoft Outlook as my e-mail program, and I can't figure out a way to increase the size of the type on an e-mail that I have received. On my old iMac, with Outlook Express, it was very easy to do, and she could read the e-mails with little difficulty. Do you know a way around this problem (other than asking the senders to increase the size before sending)?

A: There are ways to enlarge e-mail text both onscreen and as printouts.

First, try it on the screen because that seems more efficient. There is a tool called the Magnifier that is built into Windows XP; when you activate this feature, a box appears at the top of the screen with stark, large black letters on a white background. The display shows the text wherever the mouse is located, and it is very easy to just move the mouse slowly down the page while reading the e-mail text in the magnification area.

Click on Start, then Programs and then Accessibility. There you will find the Magnifier icon. Click it and you can set it to enlarge letters by several factors. You can also set it to magnify whatever is being typed on the keyboard to let her answer those notes.

You can get Outlook to send a version of e-mail messages to the printer with larger type by using the View/Text Size commands. Click View, and in Text size choose Largest. When you print a message, the type is much larger.

Q: My current e-mail account has three identities. This helps to segregate my personal messages from my business messages. I would like to convert my e-mail from Outlook Express to Outlook, but I cannot find a means to "switch" between my e-mail identities to maintain the separation of incoming and outgoing mail (sent items, inbox, address lists). Can this be done in Outlook? I am using Windows XP Home Edition and Office 2003 Professional.

A: It's a bit of a chore, but you can set up multiple profiles in business-strength Outlook much as it is done in the simpler Outlook Express. The problem with e-mail profiles is that Outlook can deal with only one of them at a time.

If you set up multiple profiles, you need to set Outlook so that it gives a prompt on startup letting you decide which profile to use. To switch from one identity to another you must shut down Outlook and restart the software.

To find the setup area, click on Start and go to the Control Panel for Mail. Click Mail open and look for the Show Profiles button at the bottom of the menu box.

This brings up a software routine asking you to add a name for a new identity or remove one.

If you pick Add, you will be required to go through the same e-mail account setup process that one does when starting Outlook for the first time.

After the e-mail account is set up, you need to reopen the Mail Control Panel and click Show Profiles again.

This time, the display will include Outlook and the name you picked for the alternate profile. You can either use this box to select your alternate identity or check a choice that makes Outlook prompt you at each start asking which profile you want to use. It's easier to set the prompt than to keep going back to the Mail Control Panel for each desired switch.

May I add that if you can get by with just keeping a separate e-mail account without giving it a customized address book, send folder, etc., it is far easier to just set up a new e-mail account in Outlook by clicking on Tools and then Options and Accounts. This lets you input the same information as you do to set up a profile.

The inbox icon for this account will be added to the Outlook folders list. With that in place, you can use an Outlook tool called Distribution Lists to earmark your personal contacts for a special list. Click on Action and New Distribution List. This brings up a list of your contacts. You simply pick the ones you want for the personal list.

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