How to Send Text Messages Using Microsoft Outlook

I don't know about you, but when I'm working at my computer and a text message comes into my phone, it's a lot easier to respond to the message using Outlook rather than texting on my phone.

If you don't want to type text on a tiny keyboard, here's how to send a text message from Microsoft Outlook or other email clients.

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Discover which cell-phone carriers your friends use. Each carrier has a different SMS (short message service) formatting, so you'll need that information in order to use the SMS service.

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For example, on the Sprint system, formatting is: cellphonenumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com

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Other popular service formats include:

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T-Mobile: @tmomail.com

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AT&T: @txt.att.net

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Nextel: @messaging.nextel.com

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Verizon: @vtext.com (text only)

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Cingular: @cingularme.com

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Save the "cellphone@" formatting in Microsoft Outlook's Contact list. Click Contacts, then New. This way, you don't have to remember the correct formatting for everyone's service carrier.

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Launch Microsoft Outlook and compose your SMS (short message service) message by clicking "New" and then "Message." Write a message as you would any other email, but keep in mind that most text messages have a limited number of characters (usually about 160).

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Remember that any replies to your text message will come into your email inbox, not your cell phone. So if you're waiting for a callback on a job interview or a date, you had better stay close to the computer.