Using style formatting to unlock your emails

While original emails were plain text only, you can use things like bold and colour to get your message across.

There are several ways to format the text in e-mails that can dramatically improve them.
 
Before considering formatting, it is important to recognize that some people (very few) only get e-mail
in a basic format (known as plain text). This means that they don't see any colors, bold text, italics, active hyperlinks or images. But they are few and far between. 

Almost everyone can now receive "HTML" e-mail. This allows all sorts of formatting to be used. Some people abuse this, and put in icons, flashing text, photos and all sorts. This can just make messages look childish.

However, when use correctly, there are various formatting techniques that can help get your message
across. This is especially useful when you're send a large amount of text, but want to highlight the key points for people skim reading it.
 
Bold should be used to highlight the key points of your message. Use the Under 10 Rule for bold
(no more than 10% of your total text should be in bold, and no more than 10 words in a row). So, don't put full paragraphs in bold.

Italics should be used to explain how to speak the text (which words to emphasize - e.g. "Do you really want me to do that?") and can also be used for the names of things, such as books.

Avoid underlining text, because it gets confused with hyperlinks.

Use headlines to split up paragraphs, and make them larger and bold.

Use color carefully and rarely - you should only use red and green. Red for things that are vitally important, warnings, or that something is wrong. Green for things that are okay, passed or within acceptable limits.

Many e-mail programs block images from automatically showing, so the receiver may not even see the
message as you intended. If you want to include a photo or image, just attach it to the e-mail and write "see attached photo" in the text.