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Figure 4: Let Emailer do it -- Here's a great reason why Mac users keep their sanity. E-mail clients such as Claris Emailer understand how to correctly encode file attachments, and rarely have to be told anything more about it. If need be, a user can set up their Internet account to have the method of choice as a default for encoding. The best choice is usually Binhex.

To help out in this endeavor, I have enlisted the expertise of the e-mail experts over at America Online. They see more of this kind of thing than anyone else -- on both the Mac and PC side -- and have created documents which help clarify the issue. Here is the one called File Formats and can be found by going to the E-mail Help area while online.

America side-lined

There are many files available online. This section explains how file extensions can tell you what kind of file you are looking at. File extensions are three letters or numbers that appear at the end of a file name and indicate what type of file it is. File extensions tell you whether the file is ASCII (text only) or a graphic image, sound file, or program. Extensions can also tell you the platform (Mac, Windows, UNIX, etc.) that was used to create the file. Extensions are used more often for Windows files, but you will also see certain extensions used for Macintosh files.

Common File Types and Extensions:
Below is a list of common file extensions and information on the type of file (graphics, programs, sounds) they signify.

Indicates a file compressed using the program ARC (archive) for Windows.
Indicates a sound file from the Internet. Use either AOL or SoundApp to play them.
Indicates a graphics file compressed using AOL's Johnson-Grace system. These files can be viewed using AOL software but can't be opened with most other programs.
Indicates an audio visual file, used for Windows video files. Apple's new QuickTime 3 can now play these. .bmp
Indicates a bitmap graphic -- very similar to PICT -- found in the Windows world.

Indicates a Dynamic Link Library. These files allow different programs to work together. They are for Windows machines only.

Indicates an Encapsulated Postscript File. These are images designed for vector, or line-based, graphics. Drawing programs such as Adobe Illustrator use this format.
Indicates an executable file; that is, a program. These files are usually DOS or Windows applications. Unless they are a self-extracting Zip archive, you can't open them using any Mac application including MacLink Plus. You must have a Windows emulator or hardware card to see them.