Welcome to the "Apple desktop: Managing attachments" course. In this course we'll be looking at email attachments. You'll learn how to save and check an attachment for viruses to make sure it's safe to open. You'll also learn how to attach a document to a new email, how to send it onto a friend, and how to print out an email attachment you've received.
Email is a convenient way to send and receive documents and pictures using your computer. The files that come with an email are called attachments. Most attachments are safe, but sometimes they can contain viruses and other unwanted software that can damage your computer and the information you keep on it. You can check that an attachment is safe by saving it to your desktop and using your antivirus software to scan it for threats. Saving an attachment is different to opening it, so is safe to do.
[eSafety tip] While it can be safe to open and read an email, never click on a link or open an attachment you're unsure about. A link or file inside an email may contain viruses or other unwanted software.
To demonstrate how to scan an email attachment for viruses, we'll use a flu vaccination pamphlet from our doctor as an example, and Apple's Mail app. If you don't have an email address or use another email service, you can still follow along.
First, let's find the email that has the pamphlet attached to it. It will be in the Mail app, so let's open that now. From the desktop move the mouse pointer to the row of icons at the bottom. This is known as the Dock and it's where you'll find icons for some of your computer's most commonly used applications. Find the Mail icon. It looks like an envelope. Click it to open Mail.
New emails appear in the left column with the most recent at the top. Here's the email from our doctor. Click on the email once and it will open in the column to the right. The email shows the attached pamphlet as an icon, with the file name underneath.
This file is a PDF. To read this PDF attachment, you could double-click on it to open it. But we want to be sure it's safe, so let's scan it for viruses first.
To do this, right click on the attachment and some options will appear. Click on Save Attachment and a new Save panel will pop up. At the bottom of the panel you can see the folder where the file will be saved. It is set to Downloads by default.
Click on Downloads and a pop-up menu will offer you a list of options. Click on Desktop and then click Save.
The attachment is saved as a PDF file and an icon for it will appear on the desktop. If you can't see the icon on the desktop the Mail app might be on top of it. You can move the Mail app out of the way by clicking at the top of the Mail panel and holding it with your mouse, then dragging the Mail panel to the side.
Now we can see the PDF file that we saved to our desktop earlier. For this demonstration, we're going to use a purchased antivirus software app called Norton AntiVirus Plus for Mac to scan the file for viruses and other unwanted software. If you don't have antivirus installed, it's worth following along to learn about security.
[eSafety tip] Antivirus software can provide extra protection for your computer. You can buy it from a store or website, and it can also protect some of your other devices. There are many to choose from, and most offer a free 30-day trial, but make sure you read the fine print about on-going costs before signing up.
Let's return to the attachment icon on the desktop. Right click on the file with your mouse to reveal the right-click menu. Look for Scan with Norton. If you're using a different antivirus brand you will see its name here instead. Click on it and it will start to scan for viruses right away.
A moment or two later, the scan is finished and the results will appear on the screen. If no threats are found, you can be confident the attachment does not contain any viruses and is safe to open and read.
If the attachment was dangerous, it will let you know an issue has been found. Your computer will then eliminate the problem automatically or take you through the steps to safely remove the threat.
Now that we know the attachment from our doctor is safe, we can send it on to someone else. We'll use Mail again, which should still be open on your screen.
On the top of the Mail panel, click on the Compose New Message icon. It looks like a sheet of paper and a pen. A new Mail panel opens, ready for you to write your message. Click in the white area to the right of To and type in the email address we want to send the attachment to. CC is short for carbon copy. We're not going to copy this email to anyone, so we don't need to add an email address here. Next, click in the white area to the right of Subject and type what the email is about. We're going to write "Free flu shots". If you want to add some text to the email, you can click in the blank area under Subject and type something. For this demonstration, we'll just send the attachment in the email.
We'll use the drag and drop method to attach the file to the email, which is very easy. Find the file on the desktop and click and hold the mouse on it. Now drag the file until it's on top of the white area of the email. A green plus symbol will appear on the file. Let go of the mouse button and the file will drop into the email. The file is still on the desktop too. When you're happy with your email, look in the top left of the Mail panel and click on the Send icon. It looks like a paper aeroplane.
The email has been sent and will disappear. To double-check you sent the email, look at the row of options across the top left of the Mail app and click on Sent. Below this, you'll now see a list of the emails that you've sent to other people. Click on the email at the top of the list, and the column on the right will now show the email you've just sent. Click on the red dot in the top left-hand corner to close Mail and return to the desktop.
Let's finish up by looking at a quick and easy way to print the pamphlet using your home printer. If you have a PDF on your own desktop that you can use, you can follow along. Otherwise, you can just keep watching and see how this works.
First, double-click on the PDF icon on the desktop. The Preview app will open and the pamphlet will appear on the screen. In the menu across the top, click File and then look for Print in the drop-down menu. It's usually at the bottom of the list. Click it and the Print options panel will appear. The name of your printer should appear at the top. You can also see options to adjust the number of copies and select which page or pages of your file you wish to print. This is useful for large files and lets you print one or a few pages, instead of all of them. Let's go ahead and click on Print. The Print options panel will close, and your home printer will print out the file for you to read.
You should now know how to save and check an attachment for viruses, how to attach a document to a new email and send it, and how to print out an email attachment you've received. If you're unsure about any steps, you can rewind the video or click the chapter headings to jump to the start of a chapter. If you're ready to move on, there are many other courses to explore on Be Connected.