Raise Your Windows IQ: How to Share a Link

Back in January I wrote a series of posts aimed at novice users. (For example: Raise Your Windows IQ: Four Icons You Need to Know.) I think it's time to revisit that series, to help novices master more of the Windows basics many of us take for granted.

Today's topic: sharing. I have a family member who, bless her heart, reads a lot of what I post online and often wants to share my articles with friends (thanks, Mom!). The problem is, she's confused by the icons for things like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. that usually accompany such online content. What if she just wants to e-mail my lovingly crafted words to someone?

PC World, of course, has an Email icon at the bottom of each news item, review, blog post, and the like--but not all sites do. What's more, when you click that icon, you have to know (and type in) the address of the person you want to share with--a considerable hassle. (Mom's e-mail address book is stored in AOL, and not accessible by Web forms like the ones used to share Web links.)

Mom's solution is often to copy and paste the text into the body of an e-mail, but (I love you, Mom!) that's a poor option. It usually results in a loss of formatting and any artwork or video that might be included. Plus, it doesn't include the actual link, which is what most people want.

So, how do you share a Web page with someone? Simple: click once in your browser's address bar to highlight the Web address (this works in both Firefox and Internet Explorer), then press Ctrl-C to copy that address to the Windows clipboard.

Now create a new e-mail message in whatever program or Web service you use, then press Ctrl-V to paste the address into the body of the e-mail. Simple as that!

Update: As several astute readers have pointed out, your browser makes this even easier. In Internet Explorer 8, click Page, Send Link by E-mail. In Firefox, click File, Send Link.

Do you need help with a beginner-level Windows topic? Post your question here or send it to hasslefree@pcworld.com.

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