Does anyone you communicate with change the text of their reply to a different color? If so, have you wondered why, or maybe wanted to do the same but weren’t sure if that was a good idea?
Folks do this so that their replies are obvious. When communicating directly with me however, you really don’t need to do that because I use a medium grey for my e-mail text (not the default black). If someone where to reply and their text is the default black, with my grey, you know at a glance who typed what.
Why Change Reply Colors?
I’ve done that forever. But not in the way you may think. When I reply, I have my e-mail program configured to change the Sender’s text to a different color. In my case olive drab. In essence the Sender’s content is “hi-lighted” by being a different color and my replies are obvious below the text I’m replying to (down-editing).
Another reason I do this is because I discovered early on that folks scan. Same goes for your website content. So to make it easier for those where I am providing advice, I down-edit with my reply below what I am responding to — which is in a different color than my standard text. Question (in OD), my answer (grey), statement (in OD), my reply (grey), etc.
Pretty much all e-mail programs have the built-in ability to change text colors. This is something you would like to setup and are on Outlook here’s a step-by-step.
I use PostBox — don’t know how I would survive without it! Much more feature-rich than Outlook and also more control of the offered options as far as organizational tools. If you find your email program limiting or want more tools to be more organized — definitely check PostBox out!
Changing Reply Text Color is Okay
There really is no problem with changing colors for your reply text. Nor is doing so an E-mail Etiquette “faux pas”. The reason I’m writing about this is several folks have e-mailed asking if there were an ulterior motive for doing so. These onliners have intimated to me that don’t like it. It really bugs them! Either the color choice is annoying or it simply gets under their skin.
Not sure why. Color choice I get — colors have meaning. That’s why you wouldn’t use an aggressive color like red for your reply text. That is why I use a use a medium grey for my e-mail text and an olive drab for the Sender’s reply text. Neither will instill any emotion or unintended tone and are easy to read.
My recommendation? Keep your text always the same color — black or greys are fine. Configure your e-mail program to change the color of the content you are replying to only. And, be careful of your color choices. (Always choose colors wisely.)