Attached files are files which are either sent included with, or attached to an ordinary Email message. For example when sending an Email to someone requesting a job I can attach my resume if I have it on my system as a word processing document. I can also attach graphics (photos, etc.) to Email. You can take a photo, scan it in the computer with a scanner and send it to all your relatives as a Christmas Card. The photo or resume would be "attached" to the normal Email message, and the person at the other end would "open" your Email message, and then "open" or "view" the attached graphic or other file.
Normal Email is written in a code called ASCII. You can add other files to these Email files, but mail servers are set up to work in ASCII. Some files such as Graphics are binary files. If you've ever tried to send a binary file via Internet e-mail--or received what you expected to be a binary file, but ended up with a bunch of weird-looking ASCII characters instead--you know that Internet e-mail doesn't support binary code. Most word processing files, e.g. Microsoft Word and Word Perfect, etc. use binary files.
To get around the problem, you can encode binary files--turning them into ASCII data-- at one end and then decode them at the other end. Several years ago this required special software like Wincode.zip. Currently most Email software, i.e. Pegasus Mail, Eudora, and the mail programs that come with Internet Explorer and Netscape versions 3 and beyond, do this for you automatically, so you need not worry. Some Email providers do not allow attached files, or only allow very small ones, especially the free Email companies. If your Email software and or your Email post office do not allow attached files I suggest you either change Email software, get wincode.zip, or get a new Email company, as required!
Attaching Email Files to Outgoing Email
First you must of course find or create the file you wish attached to your Email. Suppose I want to send a copy of my resume. If it is not written I must write it, name it, and save it with my Word Processing Software. If it is already created I must find the location and name of the file, e.g. c:\docs\myresume.doc Next I must start the Email program, write my Email as I normally do, and then look for a command "attach file". At that point I must type in or navigate to the file I want attached, e.g. c:\docs\myresume.doc. My Email program will normally take care of any encoding necessary beyond this stage. Now when I press send in my Email program it will send my Email message and a copy of the file (leaving the original where it was).
Some Email software and/or Free Email providers prohibit or severely limit the number and/or size of files you can attach. Both hotmail and yahoo allow up to 3 attached files but limit the size to the megabyte range.
To attach files you start an Email, put in the send to address, and subject, and any message, then look for an "attach files" link or button outside the message box. Then you usually have to browse the PC to find the file, and click on attach, wait till the file is uploaded to your Email server, then click send to send the message!
Dealing with Incoming Attached Files
The ways to deal with incoming attached files vary with the Email program you use, but normally you must first open the Email message with the attached file like you do any Email message. Then some programs have an additional file which is the attached file which you must now open. Others will show an icon of the attached file and you just double click it and either view it (look at it) or save the attached file to a folder on your local PC. Then you must open it with a program that understands that type of file. Sometimes you can tell by the extension (characters after the period) what type of file it is. For example if someone sent you a file called horse.jpg, this is a jpg graphic file and you would have to open it with a file which shows this type of graphic. If someone sent you a file called myletter.doc, this is probably a MS Word document and you would have to have MSWord or some other program which can read MS Word files in order to open it! Unfortunately some PCs do not show you extensions! In these cases if your PC does not know what to do you may have a problem.
To Open an Attached file with Windows Explorer
Once you have saved the file from your Email program, find the file with Windows 96 Explorer or some other means (Windows 95 start, find, ...). Then double click the file. Windows 95 will open the appropriate file and software to view it. If not you may not have the correct software to view it. Sometimes people have sent a zip file which may contain several files, and you must unzip them with WinZip or some other unzip program before you can use them or view them.