SolutionBase: Make your e-mail speak for itself with Waxmail

Sometimes, it's hard to get your point across in e-mail and it can be easier to just say what you want to convey. Now, you can embed audio messages into your Outlook e-mail using Waxmail. Luke Swagger shows you how it works.

e-mail has become an essential tool for business, but some times, meaning gets lost in the translation from what you want to say if you were talking to someone, and what you wind up typing in an e-mail. Sometimes it's easier to say what you mean, rather than just type an e-mail. Now you can add audio to your e-mail by using Waxmail. Here's how it works.

What is Waxmail?

Waxmail is an add-on for Outlook and Outlook Express that allows you to create MP3 attachments to your e-mails. These MP3s can contain voice recordings of your message. Because MP3 is a universally readable format, recipients of your e-mail can listen to the message no matter what application they're using.

Recipients don't need a copy of Waxmail to hear your message. The message can be heard by using whatever media player the recipient has. Therefore, you can even send messages to people who use Macs or Linux workstations and the message will go thru free and clear.

Waxmail is a free download. There's no charge for the program itself, but it will add a tagline to your e-mail that advertises the program and refers them to the Waxmail website. If you purchase a license for Waxmail, you can disable the tagline.

Obtaining and installing Waxmail

You can get Waxmail direct from the Waxmail Web site. There are two different versions: one for Outlook 2000/XP/2003 and one for Outlook Express. Choose the one that's right for you. The Outlook 2003 version is only 1.2 Mb, so it downloads quickly. Run the installation program you download to install it.

Before you install it, make sure you've shut down Outlook. In case you've forgotten, the installer will remind you during the installation process. Other than that, you don't need to worry about anything during the installation. Just follow the on-screen prompts.

Naturally, in order for Waxmail to work properly on your workstation, you need to make sure you have a working sound card and a microphone for your system. It doesn't have to be a fancy one, but if you don't already have a microphone, don't get a cheap one either. The quality of the recording will depend on the quality of your microphone and the surrounding environment during the recording.

Using Waxmail

Once Waxmail has installed, restart Outlook. When Outlook starts, you'll see a new toolbar on your Outlook screen as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

After you install Waxmail, you'll see a new toolbar.

If you click the Options button, you'll see the screen shown in Figure B. Here you can change the default lines that are added to your e-mails to let the recipient know that there's an audio message.

Figure B

You can change basic settings using the Option button.

To create a new e-mail, click the New Waxmail button. This will launch a standard new e-mail page in Outlook as well as a Waxmail recorder. You can also just create an e-mail the way you normally do, but then click the Add Waxmail Message. In either case, you can't miss the Waxmail recorder when it launches as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

It's hard to miss the Waxmail Record Button.

When you're done recording, click the big black Stop button. You'll then see the recordings appear in your e-mail as standard attachments. The taglines in the Options window will also appear to remind the recipient to listen to the messages.

You can rename the filename of an attachment by selecting it and clicking Rename. If you decide you don't want to send the attachment, select it and click Delete. To listen to an attachment before sending it, just double-click the attachment in the message and your media player will play it.

Click Send and the message is sent as normal.

That's it!

That's all there is to it. Waxmail makes it easy to attach audio to just about any e-mail message. If there's one word of caution, it has to do with the size of the attachments. Don't talk too long in your messages. It's easy to create very large MP3 attachments using Waxmail.

Some e-mail servers may bounce your e-mail message if the attachments are too large, and your message won't go to who you're trying to send it to. Check the file size of the attachment when you're done. You probably don't want to send a file that's larger than 1Mb. Keep it short and sweet.