I Can't Open That Attachment!

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More and more committees, businesses, and organizations are going paperless. This is great for many reasons such as: using less resources (paper, postage, and staff), great portability, and faster distribution. In fact Synod went paperless this year and my employer also distributed everything for its annual meeting electronically. Here are a few tips (focusing mainly on PDFs) to keep in mind as your church disseminates information via email, your church website or any other electronic means.

  1. When you send out information by email, it's best to put the information in the body of the email. Only attach the information as an attachment when it needs to maintain a certain format when printed. The same is true when posting information to your website, the only time you should post a document on your website is for a file that is changed frequently (church bulletin) or needs to be printed.
  2. When you need to use an attachment, it's best to use a PDF not a Microsoft Word document, spreadsheet, slideshow or any other file format. This eliminates almost all problems the recipient may have with viewing the attachment since the recipient might not have the program to open it (Word, Excel, etc.) or it might not display correctly because of different fonts or software versions, and is less likely to be viewable on mobile devices. Creating a PDF (portable document format) also clears out hidden information (document revisions, hidden columns, comments), makes reducing file size easy, and browsers such as Chrome and Firefox include built in pdf viewers (or in Firefox's case, it will soon).
  3. If you use a modern office suite (Microsoft Office, iWork, or Open Office) you can create PDFs easily from within the program. If the document is in another program install a pdf print driver like PrimoPDF or CutePDF to save a file as a PDF.

Even if your church has no problem with emailing documents, these simple tips will help make it easier for the recipients to read and engage with the important information that you send them.

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