Random J in an email

Do you ever get emails with a random J in them? Maybe usually at the end of a sentence or something like that? Ever wonder what it is?

It’s actually someone that has typed a smiley emoticon – 🙂 – into an email program that automatically converts them into a graphical smiley. Why does this happen? The smiley graphic is usually done (especially in Outlook) using the WingDings font and the smiley graphic corresponds to the letter J in the font, and it looks fine on the sender’s screen. However, when it’s being viewed on a system without the WingDing font, or in just plain text (as on many message boards and group mailing list programs), it just shows as a J.

What can you do about? Sadly, not a lot. If the system the reader is using doesn’t allow rich text or doesn’t have the WingDings font, there’s not really anything they can do to change it. What I usually do is write *smile* instead of using the emoticon, or you could also use another emoticon, such as 🙂 or put a space between the characters, like : ), which usually trips up the automatic conversion thing.

Can you disable the automatic conversion? Sure, most of the time. In Outlook 2003, go to Tools > Options > Mail Format tab > Editor Options button on bottom > Proofing on Left > AutoCorrect options button. Near the top of the list should be all of your smileys, like this

You can delete them, or uncheck the check box next to “Replace text as you type”. The check box does have global ramifications, so if you uncheck it, nothing will be corrected as you type, so I recommend just deleting the smileys from the auto-correct list. Or just use something else, like *smile*.

Hope that cleared it up for you, and I hope you have a great day! *smile*

Leave a Comment