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by Ray DeCosta

Q. I emailed a friend of mine a link to a website I thought he should see but he wasn't able to visit it. When he replied to my email I noticed that the link I sent him was split into two lines. What happened and how can I fix this problem?

A. Difficulties with email occur quite often and can have a variety of causes. There are numerous email programs available for use and unfortunately, they don't all deal with message encoding in the same ways. Sometimes you will see odd characters where spaces should go or perhaps photographs that don't attach or display properly.

In your case, it sounds like the URL (Uniform Resource Locator - the link or web address) was simply too long to display properly on one line of the email program. As a result, the email viewer broke it into two lines by inserting a line break so it wouldn't extend past the boundary of the page. While this may have been done as a "convenience" to you, it made the entire URL unreadable to your browser. It could only see the information on the first line and ignored the rest of the link. If you examine the URL, you may notice that only the upper line is highlighted blue and underlined showing just that line as an active link.

For server compatibility and "good practice" reasons, URLs usually don't contain spaces. Just as there are many different email programs, there are different ways of breaking an overly-long "word", in this case, the long URL that you originally sent to your friend.

The fix is generally as easy as highlighting both lines of the URL and pasting it into your browser's Address Bar. Most of the time the browser will automatically remove the line break and all you have to do is hit Enter. There are many different ways of creating the original line break, so you may have to do some editing of the pasted URL. Keep trying different variations until it works - the worst that will happen is that you'll get a "Page Not Found" error.

Published: Courier 9/1/13 - Page 3C