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A Guest in the Room

When you receive a genuine (not-spam) email from someone you know, do you assume it’s for you?

Of course you do — it’s addressed to you.

But is your name on the “To” line, the CC (Courtesy Copy) line, or the BCC (Blind Courtesy Copy) line?

It matters.

If your email address is in the “To” line, you are the primary recipient. The sender is talking directly to you. Feel free to reply as appropriate.

If your email address is in the CC line or the BCC line, you are not the primary recipient. You have been copied or blind-copied because the sender wants you to be privy to the content but isn’t writing directly to you. You are like a guest in the room.

As such, email etiquette suggests that you consider whether a reply is appropriate. I recommend if you’re on the CC line, don’t reply. You’re on the CC line for a reason — only so you receive that information. Let the folks on the “to” line respond, unless you are specifically invited into the conversation.*

Before you click “Reply,” consider whether you are being asked to do so.

*credit CBS News MoneyWatch, 9 Keys to Email Etiquette.

Scan With Your Phone?

Can I scan a document with my phone and then attach it to an email? 


A scan is just a picture so you can take a picture of a document with your phone and share it by email or text.

Easy. But maybe not ideal.

The biggest difference between scanning a document with your printer and scanning a document with your phone is the format of the resulting file. When you scan a document with your printer, it is usually saved in your computer as a .pdf file, which is appropriate for a document. When you take a picture with your phone, the image file is a .jpg, which is appropriate for a photograph.

If you need to scan a document with your phone but save/send it as a .pdf, here is some help:

On an iPhone

  • In the Notes app, open an existing note or start a new one.
  • Tap the “plus sign” in the middle of the screen (just above the virtual keyboard).
  • Tap “Scan documents” and your live camera will open.
  • Snap the picture of your document (or pictures of a multi-page document).
  • Tap “Scan.”
  • Edit as necessary.
  • Tap “Save.”
  • The image is saved as a .pdf that you can email or text.

On an Android phone

  • Open the Google Drive app.
  • Tap your way to the folder to which you’d like your scan to be saved.
  • Tap the “plus” sign in the lower right corner of the screen.
  • Tap “Scan.”
  • Your camera will open. Snap the picture of the document.
  • Edit as necessary.
  • Tap the checkmark when you are ready to save the image.
  • The image is saved as a .pdf that you can email or text.

There are third-party scanning apps for both the iPhone and Android phones — and many work nicely — but you don’t really need them.

Electronic Signature

DocuSign is a San Francisco–based company that provides electronic signature technology and digital transaction management services for facilitating electronic exchanges of contracts and signed documents.” (Source:

You may have heard of it. You may have used it. It is a legitimate service. But, I suggest that if you are ever asked for your electronic signature, consider the following:

  • Is the request for a transaction in which you are already engaged — a real estate sale/purchase, legal documents, financial services, etc.? Never click on a link to a DocuSign request that just shows up unexpectedly in your inbox, even if it appears to be from someone you know. If you are not sure, contact the sender — but not by return email — to confirm the request. Scams that appear to come from DocuSign are out there.
  • You don’t have to use DocuSign if you are concerned about the security of authorizing your signature electronically. There is always the option to print the documents, sign them as required, scan them, and email them back to your realtor, lawyer, financial adviser, etc.

Guard your electronic signature carefully. Scammers want your autograph, but not because they like you.

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