Most e-mail programs have many features in common. Once you know one program, you can easily use others.
- Launching your e-mail program is usually as simple as clicking the e-mail icon on your desktop or home screen.
- Write a message by clicking the Compose Mail, New Message or similar button.
- Type the e-mail addresses of the recipients in the To field, or use the address book–a handy feature of your e-mail program that stores frequently used addresses–to select one or more e-mail addresses.
- In the CC field, enter the address of anyone you want to receive a copy of the message. Type the e-mail address or choose it from your address book.
- Type the subject of the message.
- Now type your message. You can edit it as you would a word processing document. You can also copy text from another message or document and paste it into the message box.
- Finally, click the Send button. Enable your spellchecker program to run before the message goes off into cyber space.
Most e-mail programs, particularly those designed for desktop and laptop computers, have complicated menus filled with seemingly endless options. Most of us will never use the majority of those options. For basic writing and sending e-mails, the above steps are all you need to know.
If you want to get fancy, here are some of the more advanced options you will find in nearly every e-mail client:
- Reply and Reply All can be used to send a response to an e-mail you receive. Reply responds only to the original sender. Reply All allows responds to everyone addressed in the original e-mail. Be careful not to mix these up!
- If you want to send a message to someone else, you can use the Forward button. Forward will copy the original message, along with any attachments, and send them to whatever address you specify using the To field or your address book.
- If you are sending a very important message, click the High Importance When your recipient views their messages, yours will be flagged as important, letting them know to open it right away.
- Hyperlinks allow you to attached a link to a website. Most e-mail clients will automatically add a hyperlink when you type a website address. Other times, you may need to add it manually by clicking the hyperlink icon (it usually looks like chain links).
- If you need to add special fonts or adjust how your text is displayed, you can change your formatting to HTML, Plain Text, or Rich Text. Most e-mail clients default to HTML style. In some cases, particularly if you want to minimize the size of your message, it may be necessary to choose Plain Text mode, which removes all special formatting.
- Signatures allow you to create a reusable closing for your e-mails. You can use these to add information about yourself or your business, which will automatically appear at the end of each e-mail you write.
- If you are going to be away and won’t be able to respond to e-mails in a timely manner, most e-mail programs allow you to set up an auto-response message, usually called an out-of-office message or vacation responder. Think of these as an answering machine message for your e-mail. Anytime someone e-mails you during the time period you specify, they will get an immediate response letting them know you’re away.