Tag Archives: email

How to start and end a letter or email: Salutation and Valediction

Here’s a topic for a moment: formal and informal greetings in an email, or letter, any form of written communication.

For several years I would not use any form of sign-out at the end of an email or message, except in email I would include


Now it seems people don’t do that, they leave it to the automatic insertion of a signature.  But then, it cuts out the option of choosing the emotional tone of the close-out.  Granted, I ignored that by the “-Tom” ending in so many messages.  But I’m more aware of it now.

Today I sent a fax, a task I do less than 5 times a year.  Thinking about the proper use of words to convey meaning, while avoiding the dramatic and excess bubbly emotion, I cut it down to:

From Tom ****

My address has changed as of May 2011:


52-1000 Somewhere St
Somewhereville, SW  S0M 3W4


20-1000 Somewhere St
Somewhereville, SW  S0M 3W4

Tom *****

I don’t need my name at the bottom, if it’s a short note to announce my change of address.  But I want to close it off, very neatly and cleanly.  Yet, having the name appear by itself seemed an unnecessary duplication of the “From Tom Pace” line at the top.  So I opted for a sign-out greeting.

A sign-out greeting, is called a valediction.  It is the counterpart to a salutation, examples such as “Dear NAME,” or “Attention NAME” or “To Whom it May Concern”.

My emails sometimes include valedictions, and I use valedictions in verbal communication… The one I have used most frequently in written messages came from my adoption of the verbal “take care”.  But several other places and people I’ve seen using “Regards” and “Best regards”.  So I tried it out, and it feels clean but also a bit distant.  So, in the last couple years, whenever I use a valediction in written messages, it will be one I come up with at the moment, to match the tone of the message or the tone of the saluation.

In this above example, I thought about “Yours truly”, “Sincerely”, “Regards”, “Best regards”.

Yours truly is excellent, but feels much older, and it’s mostly a simplification of “Truly, I am yours” or other similar expressions.

So here’s the end result: I chose Sincerely.  It is not a match of the salutation “Attention NAME”  as much as it matches the opening sentence announcement “My address has changed…”.

Sources I referred to for the writing of the valediction are:


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Which is better: to embed images or link images in HTML emails?

Early this morning, and later in the evening, I was working on a PHP script that composes HTML emails with extra files included, but rather than making images as attachments, the script embeds the images so they don’t actually appear as attachments, but appear instantly within the email.

It works fine for <img> tags, but the big issue comes when trying to use CSS.

<img src=”cid:20110212231111.1we615e” />

This works in Thunderbird, immediately.  And it works in Gmail’s web-interface.

body { background-image: url(cid:20110212231111.1we615e); }

This DOES NOT work in Thunderibrd, and NOT in Gmail’s web interface.  These items do however appear as attachments.  So that defeats the purpose of having everything appear instantly and properly.

And given client demands, I need to make everything as perfectly seamless AND painless as possible.

So, I believe I’m going to simply link ALL images.  That will save on bandwidth, plus any email client that has image security will simply display a link that says something sounding like “Do you want to display images in this email?”.  If the recipient clicks to say yes they want to see, then everything will appear, instead of just the <img> tags, but no background.

This is an example of the far-out strange places I go in my work.

Trying to embed and compose HTML emails is difficult on a Windows machine since Thunderbird’s only HTML composing feature is old and not updated to work with the latest version, and Outlook only works (so I’ve read) with HTML composed from within Frontpage (not going to touch that with a 10-foot pole!!).  A few days ago I created an automated emailer that attaches vCard files, and in order to do this, I had to learn about MIME boundaries, content-type, content-disposition (inline vs attachment) and a whole lot of extra stuff.  Lots of technical stuff.  In the end, I’m here wasting time figuring out embedding images, just because Gmail’s web interface doesn’t operate to the most ideal level possible.

Oh well.  So I’ll just link every image.  And that’s a wrap! … several wasted hours later.

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