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  1. #1
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    Microsoft email products (Outlook, Outlook Express, Vista Mail, Live Mail) produce very large email files whenever graphics images are pasted into the email -- that is, the email contains embedded inline images. Thunderbird does not have the problem. The worst example I've seen is a Live Mail message at 5175KB and the same email via Thunderbird at 31KB!!! The embedded image in that example was a full screen copy and the image had a lot of white space and few colors. There is much less difference when pasting photos into an email, in some cases the difference in file sizes between Live Mail and Thunderbird was small -- but Thunderbird emails were always smaller.

    By viewing the email sources, I've discovered that Live Mail sends embedded images as bmp format and Thunderbird sends images as png format. bmp images are not compressed, png images are compressed (lossless) and that appears to be the source of the difference. That would explain large differences when images contain a lot of white space (or solid color) and less difference with photos (lots of color differences from one pixel to the next).

    The ability to use embedded images and keep file size small is very important to me, forcing me to switch to Thunderbird a few years ago (was using Outlook 2003 at the time). As each new MS email product came out (Outlook 2007, Vista Mail, Live Mail) I tried sending embedded images and they all had the same problem, very large file sizes.

    I can live with Thunderbird but it is annoying with bugs. The most annoying bug is that it changes the font while I'm composing an email and I have to go back and correct it. Outlook and Live Mail have a superior interfaces in my opinion. I would like to switch to Outlook or Live Mail but can't because of the large emails with embedded images.

    Anyone know more about this problem? After considerable internet searching I have not found any info on the problem.

    Can Live Mail be forced to send embedded images in png format or am I "stuck" with Thunderbird?

    I'm using Win XP on one system and Vista on another.

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    In both Outlook 2010 & Windows Live Mail .png & .jpg were not converted to anything but were the original format when I checked the message source. Do you have some addon that is automatically converting images?

    Joe
    Joe

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    If I perform a print screen and paste into Thunderbird, the file is indeed in PNG format.

    cheers, Paul

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    In both Outlook 2010 & Windows Live Mail .png & .jpg were not converted to anything but were the original format when I checked the message source. Do you have some addon that is automatically converting images?

    Joe
    I'm not sure what you mean Joe. I'm not talking about attaching files, I'm talking about pasting graphics from the Windows clipboard into an email message, then sending that message.

    I do not have any addons. I installed Live Mail yesterday to test it and see if it had this problem I've had with previous MS email products -- very large email file sizes with embedded images.

    What I'm doing is capturing a screen shot to the clipboard, than pasting (Edit/Paste) that into the email message. I've captured the screen in several different ways, including Alt-PrintScreen to capture active window, PaintShop Edit/Copy, and a screen capture utility. It doesn't matter how the image is captured to the clipboard, when a graphics image gets pasted, it goes into Live Mail as bmp format and into Thunderbird as png format. You can tell the format of the image in the email by looking at the email source. The Thunderbird email message is always smaller than the Live Mail message, as previously noted, sometimes MUCH smaller.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gorden View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean Joe. I'm not talking about attaching files, I'm talking about pasting graphics from the Windows clipboard into an email message, then sending that message.
    Sorry for my confusion. Your original post did not talk about pasting from the clipboard. I was not attaching files but embedding the files inline in messages.

    Anyway, Outlook 2010 pastes in .png format. I'm arfraid that with WLM you don't have a choice. It appears to use .bmp when copying from the clipboard.

    Joe
    Joe

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    Anyway, Outlook 2010 pastes in .png format. I'm arfraid that with WLM you don't have a choice. It appears to use .bmp when copying from the clipboard.
    OK, thanks Joe. I don't care to shell out $$$ for Outlook 2010 so I guess I'm stuck with Thunderbird for a while. It has it's warts but doesn't bloat my email files containing pasted images... Larry

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    As JoeP stated, you can include non-bmp picture files in Windows Live Mail e-mails. Full instructions:

    1. Create a new e-mail (or open a draft e-mail).
    2. Position the cursor at the point in the e-mail where you want to add the image.
    3. Insert [menu]->Image->Inline->Navigate to the saved image file, then select it by double-clicking.
      (You must use this method; don't use Attach button or paste the image since both save as large bmp's.)
    4. You could then optionally resize the displayed image in the e-mail by dragging a side or a corner (the latter will preserve the aspect ratio).
      NB Resizing only affects how the image is displayed in the e-mail; if the e-mail recipient saves the image to a file using the right-click context menu, it will be saved to a picture file with the original dimensions & quality.


    Larry, to achieve the above, the only other thing you need to do is the intermediate step of saving your screen capture as an image file via a picture editing program, rather than pasting it directly into Windows Live Mail.

    You have Paintshop installed and I don't, so can't give you a step-by-step for that, but I think all you would need to do is open the program, paste in the clipboard picture, then save it as the file type you want - I'd suggest .png (a non-lossy format) with maximum compression, or if that turns out to be larger than you want, save as .jpg with quality of around 7/10.

    Anyone else with this problem who doesn't have a picture-editing program installed could use the free Irfanview.

    You'll get the above down to just a few seconds after a couple of tries. You could also, if you want to, crop the pics so only the part that matters is included, making for even smaller file sizes.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Steven, but that doesn't meet my needs. I could do what you recommend if I saved every screen capture but that's not practical. Saving and inserting the image takes too much time (compared to what I'm doing) and the files created are usually temporary so that has to be dealt with. I must be able to past from the clipboard directly into the email message. Here's why.

    I commonly grab screen shots and then paste into emails teaching online math classes. I get a question and can usually open an online book or web page that would answer the question. So now I need to show that student what I have on my screen and add a little explanation to it -- via a reply email. I can quickly do that with a screen capture utility (Gadwin Print Screen) that allows me to capture a selected portion of the screen (with two keystrokes and a mouse drag), paste it into a reply email (one keystroke) and send it. Works great and a great asset for online teaching or showing anyone what is on your screen via email.

    This technique also works great for sending photos inline in email. Display the photo on the screen sized you want it, press PrintScreen, use mouse to outline what you want to capture (selecting only the part of the photo you want), press the Enter key to capture the image to the clipboard, and paste into email. I simply use Windows Explorer to display my graphics files on screen for screen capture. I can quickly compose an email with several images from my computer. I do that occasionally with my car hobby (as world-wide Tech Adviser for 1956 Pontiacs ). I generally use attachments only when high resolution images need to be sent, which is not often.

    Using any of the MS email apps (except perhaps Outlook 2010) is not practical because of the large file sizes that get created. It is practical using Thunderbird -- but I like the MS email apps better, they are more capable and not as "buggy".

    I'm baffled by why MS would use the uncompressed .bmp format for pasted images and have wondered if there is some option that would tell it to save in the compressed .png format -- or perhaps .jpg. I looked and looked but couldn't find anything. I have searched the internet and haven't found anyone else talking about this issue.

    It would appear "email Nirvana" is in Outlook 2010 which is over-kill for my needs and at a price I'm not willing to pay. I'm stuck with Thunderbird but it's not all that bad.

    I also use and recommend Irfanview. It opens fast on my relatively slow computer!

  9. #9
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    Larry, this has annoyed me for years as well, but I've never seen a way to get change it. I think you are just stuck.

    I have used Paint Shop Pro since version 3 and have a way to make the screen shots smaller when pasted into an email using that. It won't work for photos and isn't a good solution if you want a very high resolution version of the image, but for simple screen shots, particularly of a settings dialog or something like that here's what I do:

    • Copy the image to the clipboard.
    • Paste it into Paint Shop Pro.
    • Press Ctrl+Shift+3 to change the image to 256 colors (this is why it won't work for photos).
    • Copy the image back to the clipboard.
    • Paste it inline in the email.


    This still ends up pasting a BMP format file, but ti's now a 256 color image rather than 16-bit image which is significantly smaller. I don't have Photoshop, but I'm sure you can do the same thing with it. If you have another type of image editing software that allows changing the image resolution, this might work.

    I know it's extra steps and somewhat limited, but maybe that helps in some cases.

  10. #10
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    Thanks David, it makes me feel a little better knowing that I'm not the only one on the planet that recognizes this problem.

    I also use (and like) Paintshop Pro. I started with version 8 and now use X2. I tried Photoshop but went back to Paintshop Pro because it was easier to use for me -- and did everything I wanted.

    I did a little experimenting using your suggested technique for reducing the number of colors -- which will work fine for the majority of what I do (mostly textbook screen shots, not many embedded photos).

    In the following, TB = Thunderbird 3.1.2, WLM = Windows Live Mail 2009. The numbers are email file sizes. I used Windows XP in the testing. The same screen capture to clipboard was used in all tests. TB and WLM messages looked exactly the same.

    1. Screen capture pasted into mail
    TB = 79 KB, WLM = 3147 KB. WLM is 80 times larger email with the same content!

    2. Paste the screen capture in PaintShop, copy without changing anything, paste into mail.
    TB = 79 KB, WLM = 2361 KB. Made no difference in TB but reduced size in WLM

    3. Same as 2 but reduced to 256 colors.
    TB = 71 KB, WLM = 792 KB. Minimal improvement for TB, big improvement for WLM -- but still unacceptable.

    Yup, I'm stuck with TB, WLM is not usable for my needs. With TB I don't really need to take the extra steps to reduce to 256 colors because the improvement in file size is minimal.

  11. #11
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    I just did a 2 tests with the newest Windows Live Mail 2011 beta. I just pushed "printscreen" and then pasted the results into an email. I emailed it to my Outlook account. In WLM sent items the size is 385KB. In Outlook the size is 290 KB. In Outlook or WLM if I save the graphic it defaults to PNG. One picture was 285KB. The other was 280KB. Both pics were 644 x 404 pixels with 32-bit depth.

    Joe
    Joe

  12. #12
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    Thanks Joe. That gives hope that WLM might some day satisfy my needs. Right now I can't install the WLM 2011 Beta because I'm running Win XP, the Beta requires Vista or Win 7 -- plus I'm reluctant to rely on Beta software. I'm not buying Outlook 2010 (I have Outlook 2007), considering that it still may not be as space-efficient as Thunderbird for inline pasted images and I'm not willing to spend the $$$.

    It is odd that your WLM sent message is considerably larger than the Outlook received message. I've done some experimenting with sending/receiving between different email programs and the size difference has been small with the received message typically being slightly larger than the sent message.

    A correction to my previous post, test #1, I said "WLM is 80 times larger". l should have said "WLM is 40 times larger".

  13. #13
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    Hi,

    have You ever tried to paste your printscreen into Word, then choose "Send to ...", change the size of the picture with the corner
    handles, add your comments and finish?

    Worth a try or .../ Regards / Oskarius

  14. #14
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    Pasting Images in MS Outlook

    There seems to be a SIGNIFICANT difference in how MS Outlook pastes images in a "Rich Text" email vs. "HTML" email. I'm using Outlook 2007. When creating a new email, select Options Toolbar Panel and choose HTML or Rich Text. Paste Special... As Bitmap will then place an image of the current clipboard into the email message. The HTML Option seems to significantly compress the size of the emails as compared to the Rich Text option. I often paste Excel Spreadsheet data as "bitmap" to maintain the formatting and prevent editing of the data. Pasting into HTML email messages significantly reduces the message sizes.

    Cheers!

  15. #15
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    As mwoollen says, the large sizes of embedded images have been a problem with RTF compose mode for years and years now. I have MS Office 2010 and it is still the same. Microsoft used to have a support page explaining the problem, but they took it down years ago in spite of the fact that is it still a huge probelm. I was able to retrieve an archived copy of it from one of the internet archive services. The title on it was "When I embed a picture in a message, the file size becomes very large." http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/ou...990871033.aspx (non-working link)

    I'd suggested setting all E-mail accounts at our agency to default to HTML but it turns out that the minimal E-mails created without embedded graphics in HTML are slightly larger than the ones using RTF so cumulatively, we would end up likely using more bandwidth and disk space that way so I just have to keep reminding people to use HTML format in Outlook when embedding graphics in the body of the E-mail.

    BTW, another problem with embedded images in RTF mode is that in a reply, it turns the image in the original E-mail into a text box saying '<< OLE Object: Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) >>", so it disappears from the thread and there's no record of it except in the original transmission! People who get brought in to a thread with the RTF embedded image later can't see it!

    cth

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