Lighten the load when e-mailing Web pages

If you use your browser’s ability to send actual Web pages to people (Command-I or File -> Mail Contents of This Page in Safari), here’s a little trick to possibly lighten the load on your recipient’s e-mail program.

As you would expect, when you send someone the contents of a page, you send them the entire contents of the page—advertisements, header and footer graphics, disclaimers, and so forth. If it’s on the page, it gets sent. But more than likely, you don’t actually need to send them the entire page; you probably only need to want to include the relevant text and images.

Depending on how the developer created the original page, you may be able to do something about the extraneous information in your e-mail. Try clicking on a given section that you’d like to remove. If that section exists as a unique section in the HTML source code (I believe based on whether it’s in a CSS “div” tag), then you’ll see a small “X” in a circle (as when you hold Option while hovering over a Dashboard widget). Click the X, and that entire section will vanish.

Unfortunately, you’ll probably find that not everything you want to remove exists in its own section. In those cases, you can remove additional content by simply deleting it—you are, after all, just writing an e-mail. You can select text and images using your mouse, then press Delete to make it go away. If the page you’re sending uses multiple columns, though, you’ll want to pay attention and make sure your columnar selection selects only columnar text—in my experience, some layouts make it very tricky to select a column without also selecting some of the content in another column.

I still prefer sending people links to pages (it’s faster to send and easier for the recipient to manage), but if you do have a need to send the actual page, use these tricks to at least trim as much of the unnecessary content as possible prior to sending.

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