Ask Mr. NoobieQUESTION: I get email replies from people that put their answers to my questions right below each question. How do they do that? – Michael R from Danville, California

ANSWER: One things that drives me crazy when I send an email to someone with 3 questions is when they reply with the answers to only 2 of them. I think it’s because they don’t know how to do what you are asking. Which means they are just hitting the reply button and typing their answers in paragraph form just like any other email reply. It looks something like this:

[note color=”#FFFFCC”]
Mark,

Lunch tomorrow sounds great! Let’s keep it simple and get a pepperoni pizza.

> On Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 9:25 AM, Mark wrote:

> Hey John, I had some questions I wanted to ask you:

> 1. Do you want to go out to lunch with me tomorrow?
> 2. What’s your favorite type of pizza?
> 3. You’re paying this time, right?
[/note]

Notice how John conveniently forgot to answer question #3?

The more efficient way is to answer each question right below the question which looks something like this:

[note color=”#FFFFCC”]
Mark,

See my answers below…

> On Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 9:25 AM, Mark wrote:

> Hey John, I had some questions I wanted to ask you:

> 1. Do you want to go out to lunch with me tomorrow?

Lunch tomorrow sounds great!

> 2. What’s your favorite type of pizza?

Let’s keep it simple and get a pepperoni pizza.

> 3. You’re paying this time, right?

You bet! You paid last time so it’s my turn.
[/note]

This is actually easier to do than you might think. When you click reply on an email, the original email is usually included below what you are typing. What most people don’t know is that the original email is just pasted into the email, meaning you can move your cursor anywhere you want in the original email to edit it.

So to add your answer to question #1, place your cursor at the end of the first question and hit Enter a few times on your keyboard. This will give you some space to enter your answer directly below question #1. Rinse and repeat for questions #2 and #3.

Some people will add a little flair to their reply to make it stand out even more by putting their inline reply in a bold typeface (like I did in the example above) or in a color that stands out, like red. How to do this depends on your email software. You’ll need to look for a style toolbar that lets you do this. If you can’t see it, you might not have it enabled and will have to search your email settings to enable it.

Once it is enabled, you can highlight your answer to each question with your mouse and then click the appropriate style button on the toolbar (ex: the bold button) the change the style of your reply.

Armed with this knowledge, never again will an email question go unanswered. Ok, I can dream can’t I?

Do you have a question for Mr. Noobie®? Submit your question here.

Patric Welch

Patric Welch founded Noobie, Inc. in 2006 to help others effectively choose and use technologies to enhance their work and lives. The catchy company name earned Welch the name of Mr. Noobie®, but, in reality, Welch is an experienced and professional techie. Unlike most techies, Welch evaluates emerging technologies from a noobie’s perspective and provides technology education for all skill levels in a friendly, non-threatening way.
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