Communicate with Email

Get ready to maximize your time when working with email. This module looks at how you can connect your email address to Outlook and start reading and processing messages. You’ll also learn how to forward and reply to messages, as well as how to create and send new message.

Start Communicating with Email

Set Up Email Account

The first time you open Outlook, you’ll be prompted to connect your email address.

Here’s how to set up an email account.

  1. When you first open Outlook, the Welcome to Outlook window opens. Enter the email address that you want to connect.
  1. Select Connect.
  2. In the Internet Email window, enter your Password.
  1. Select OK.
  2. Outlook displays a window indicating that setup is complete.
A screenshot of a cell phone

Description generated with very high confidence
  1. Select OK.

Outlook loads any messages that are currently on your email server. You are ready to begin receiving email messages.

Preview Messages

When working with messages, Outlook displays your Inbox on the far left, the Message list in the middle, and the Reading pane on the right. 

Here’s how to preview messages in the Inbox.

  1. Make sure that you’ve selected the Inbox or the Inbox associated with your email address so that the Message list shows items in that location.
  2. The Message list shows in the Inbox or selected folder. By default, they are organized by date with the newest messages on top. The preview shows the Sender’s name first, then the subject of the message, and then the first line of the content. Unread messages are in bold, with a blue line on the left of the message preview.

Read Messages

Select a message in the Message List to see the message content in the Reading pane.

Here’s how to read a message in the Reading pane.

  1. Make sure to select the Inbox or folder where the message is located.
  2. Select the message you want to read in the Message list.
  3. Review the message header and content in the Reading pane.
  1. Select the user icon and number to see more information about who the message was sent to.

Preview Attachments

Messages with files attached have a paper clip icon in the Messages list preview.

Here’s how to preview an attachment.

  1. Highlight the message with attachment in the Message List.
  2. In the Reading pane, the attachment(s) are shown by an icon that shows the file type.  You can click on an icon to see the preview.
  1. Outlook displays a warning. If you trust the source of the attachment, select Preview file.
  1. The file is displayed in the Reading pane.

Select Back to Message in the header to return to the message instead of the preview.

Forward and Reply to Messages 

The Reply, Reply All and Forward buttons in the Reading pane allow you to create inline replies.

Here’s how to create an inline reply.

  1. Highlight the message you want in the Message list.
  2. Select the button for the option you want, either Reply, Reply All, or Forward.
  1. A blank space and a line are added to the message you received. Enter your reply in this space.
  1. Enter additional addresses in the To or CC fields, if desired.
  2. Update the Subject, if desired. The subject remains the same as the original message, prefixed with a RE: for replies or a FW: for forwards.
  3. Select Send.

Process Messages 

Delete Messages

Keep your Inbox cleaned out by deleting messages you no longer need.

Here’s how to delete a message.

  1. Click the X on the right side of the message preview in the Message list. You don’t even have to have the item selected.

Here’s how to work with the Deleted Items folder.

  1. Select the Deleted Items folder on the left side of the window. Depending on the type of account you have connected, it may be labeled Trash and shown within a Folder.
  2. If desired, drag a message to another folder to restore it.
  3. If you click on the X to the right side of the message preview in the Message list when you have the Deleted Items folder showing, Outlook displays a confirmation message.
  1. Select Yes to delete the item permanently.

Mark a Message as Read or Unread

Messages are considered unread when they first arrive until you select them in the Messages list.

Here’s how to mark a message as read or unread.

  1. Select the message in the Message List.
  2. Select Unread/Read from the Home tab on the Ribbon. 

You can also right-click on the message in the Message list and select Mark as Read or Mark as Unread from the context menu.

Flag Received Messages

Flags provide a visual reminder to follow-up on an item.

Here’s how to flag an item for follow-up.

  1. Click on the flag icon in the Message list.

Sort Messages

The Message list includes several options for changing the way you view your messages.

Here’s how to change the sorting arrangement.

  1. Select the View tab from the Ribbon.
  2. Select a sorting arrangement.

Print a Message

You can print a message using the Backstage view.

Here’s how to print a message.

  1. Highlight the message you want to print in the Message List.
  2. Select the File tab from the Ribbon to open the Backstage View.
  3. Select the Print tab from the left.
  1. A preview of the message shows on the right. 
  2. Select Print.

Save Message Attachments

You can save a single attachment or all attachments. 

Here’s how to save an attachment.

  1. In the Messages list, select the message with the attachment.
  2. In the Reading pane, select the small arrow next to the icon for the attachment you want to save.
  1. Select Save As from the context menu.
  1. In the Save Attachment dialog box, navigate to the location where you want to save the file and select Save.

Create Messages

Create a Message

Now let’s look at how to start a new email message.

Here’s how to create a new email.

  1. Select the New Email tool from the Home tab on the Ribbon.
  1. A new window opens. Place your cursor in the message area and begin typing to enter your message.

Address a Message

To send your message, you’ll need to indicate the address of the person who should receive it.

Here’s how to address an email.

  1. Place your cursor in the To or CC in the email header.
  2. Enter the email address for the person who should receive the message or get a copy of the message

Once you’ve entered one address, when you place your cursor in the To or Cc fields, Outlook will show a list of Recent People. You can click on a name to quickly add that person’s address.

Add or Remove Message Attachments

You can share files with others by emailing an attachment.

Here’s how to attach a file to an email message. Use the following procedure.

  1. Select Attach File from the Message tab on the Ribbon.
  1. Select a Recent Item to attach it, or select Browse This PC to locate a file.
  2. In the Insert File dialog box, navigate to the location of the file you want to attach. 
  3. Highlight the file and select Insert.
  1. Outlook creates a new line in the message header for Attached.

Here’s how to remove an attachment.

  1. Select the small arrow next to the attachment in the email header.
  2. Select Remove Attachment.

Send Message

When you have addressed your message, created your message body, and attached any pertinent files, you are ready to send the message.

Here’s how to send a message.

  1. Enter the addresses for the recipients, if you have not already done so. If not, when you try to send the message, you will receive an error message.
  1. Enter the Subject of the message. Remember that this information shows in the recipient’s Message list to help identify the contents of the message. If you don’t include a Subject, when you try to send the message, you will receive a warning message.
  1. Select Send.

Recall a Message

If you send a message by mistake, it may be possible to recall it.

Here’s how to recall a message.

  1. Find the message that you want to recall from the Sent Items folder. 
  1. Double-click the message to open it.
  2. Select the Actions tool from the Message tab on the Ribbon.
  3. Select Recall This Message.
  1. Outlook opens the Recall This Message dialog box. Select one of the following:
    1. Delete unread copies of this message
    2. Delete unread copies and replace with a new message
  2. Check the Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient box if you want notification.
  3. Select OK.
  1. If you chose Delete unread copies and replace with a new message, Outlook opens a new message with the recipients, subject, and body text of the original message. Make any changes necessary to the recipients, subject, or body and select Send.

Format and Check Messages

Format Text

Format the text in your messages to send email that looks great.

Here’s how to format font characteristics. The Font family is used in the following example.

  1. Highlight the text you want to change by clicking and dragging over the selected text.
  2. Select the arrow next to the Font name to see the list of fonts.
  3. As you hover the mouse over the font names, Outlook displays a preview of that font on the selected text. Select the new Font family to change the font.

Here’s how to format paragraph characteristics. The bulleted list is used in the following example.

  1. Place your cursor anywhere in the paragraph you want to format. You can select multiple paragraphs to format them the same way.
  2. Select the Bullet tool and select the desired bullet type. 

Apply Styles

Styles are a quick way to give your email a professional finish, combining font and paragraph formatting.

Here’s how to apply a style to text in an email message.  

  1. Select the text you want to format, or simply place your cursor in the word or paragraph you want to format.
  2. Select the Format Text tab from the Ribbon.
  1. Open the Style Gallery by clicking the down arrow next to the styles shown in the Styles group. Notice that as you hover the mouse over a style name, the selected text previews that style.
  1. Select the desired style to apply it to the current word or paragraph. 

Apply a New Theme

Themes provide a comprehensive look and feel for your messages. Themes include fonts, colors and other design elements.

Here’s how to apply a theme.

  1. Select the Options tab from the Ribbon.
  1. Select Themes.
  2. Select the Theme you want to use. The message text that is visible previews each theme as you hover over it.

Insert Pictures

You can easily add pictures and screenshots to your message to enhance your communications.

Show participants how to insert a picture from a file.

  1. Place your cursor in the location in the email where you want the picture to appear.
  2. Select the Insert tab from the Ribbon.
  3. Select Pictures.
  1. Navigate to the location of the file on your computer or other media and highlight the file you want to insert.
  1. Select Insert.

Outlook inserts the picture. 

Here’s how to insert a full size screenshot.

  1. Select the Insert tab from the Ribbon.
  2. Select Screenshot.
  3. The Screenshot gallery includes a thumbnail image of other windows you have open. Select the image that you want to insert.

Outlook inserts the image and may scale it to the width of your message.

Here’s how to insert a screen clipping.

  1. Make sure that the area of the screen you want in your document is ready to capture. Outlook will automatically return to the previous window for a screen clipping.
  2. Select the Insert tab from the Ribbon.
  3. Select Screenshot.
  4. Select Screen Clipping.
  5. Drag the mouse to capture the area of the screen that you want to insert in your presentation. The screen is slightly greyed out, except for the area you are capturing.
  1. When you release your mouse, Outlook inserts the screen clipping into the message at the current cursor position.

Insert Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks provide a clickable shortcut to another location.

Here’s how to add a hyperlink to text. In this example, we’ll link to another location in the message that has had the Heading 1 style applied.

  1. Select the text that will be clicked to follow the hyperlink.
  2. Select the Insert tab from the Ribbon.
  3. Select Insert Link.
  1. Select Place in This Document.
  2. Select the Heading of the text you want for the link.
  1. Select OK.

The link is inserted and indicated by underlining and the current theme color.

Use Spell Check 

Make sure your email text is accurate by performing a spell check.

Here’sthe context menu for a misspelled word. The following example uses a misspelling of the word “organization.”

  1. Right click on a misspelled word to display the context menu.
  2. Select Spelling.
  3. Select the version of the word that you want to use to correct the error.

Here’s how to open the Spelling dialog box.

  1. Select the Review tab from the Ribbon.
  2. Select Spelling & Grammar.

Discuss the options on the Spelling and Grammar dialog box.

  • The Ignore once button allows you to keep the word as the current spelling, but only for the current location.
  • The Ignore All button allows you to ignore the misspelling for the whole document.
  • The Add To Dictionary button allows you to add the word to your dictionary for all Outlook items.
  • The Suggestions area lists possible changes for the misspelling. There may be many choices, just one, or no choices, based on Outlook’s ability to match the error to other possibilities.
  • The Change button allows you to change the misspelled word to the highlighted choice in the Suggestions area. You can highlight any word in the Suggestions area and select Change.
  • The Change All button allows you to notify Outlook to make this spelling correction any time it encounters this spelling error in this document.
  • AutoCorrect automatically corrects your spelling errors.
  • Select Options to view additional spelling settings on the Options dialog box.