Whether you're working on a stand-alone computer or on a network, this article shows you how to use Outlook's e-mail component to send, read, and respond to e-mail messages
. Then you learn ways to organize messages for maximum efficiency
Tasks performed and concepts covered
This series of articles covers the following tasks and concepts:
- Compose messages offline and send them to the Outbox for later delivery
- Receive both internal and Internet e-mail in one Inbox
- Preview the selected message or read it in its own window
- Create folders to organize messages for easy retrieval
- Attach files to e-mail messages for transmitting to one or more recipients
- Reply to and forward messages with the click of a button
E-mail is no longer just a means of business communication, and the techniques you learn in this chapter can be applied to all forms of correspondence, whether you are writing to a colleague, a teacher, or a friend.
Outlook's Contacts component helps you organize information about people without actually communicating with them. But communication with colleagues is an integral part of daily work, and in recent years, electronic mail (or e-mail) has become the primary method of communication for many people. Some people have internal e-mail (company-wide or institution-wide), some have Internet e-mail, and some have both. Regardless of what type of e-mail you have, it can all be handled by Outlook's e-mail component. In this article, we discuss how to use this component to create, send, receive, and manage e-mail messages.
There's nothing difficult about the concept of e-mail. It's simply a way of sending messages that bypasses the traditional post office. The beauty of e-mail is that it doesn't use paper resources, it's fast, and it costs nothing (at least, nothing more than you may already be paying for Internet access). Sometimes it is even better than using the telephone because you can deal with important business right away rather than running the risk of playing phone tag. Add to these advantages the fact that you can include files, programs, and other attachments with the messages you send, and also that you can send the same message to several people without any additional effort. It's not surprising that even people with abysmal letter-writing habits become staunch advocates of e-mail as a means of communication. Setting up Internet e-mail
If you work for a large organization or you access the Internet through a school computer, e-mail has probably already been set up on your computer. But if you are working on a stand-alone computer, you can't send or receive Internet e-mail in Outlook until you set it up. First you will need to obtain the domain names of your outgoing and incoming e-mail servers from your ISP. Then start the Internet Connection Wizard by choosing Settings
and then Control Panel
from the Start
menu, double-clicking the Internet Options
icon, and then clicking the Connections
tab of the Internet Properties
dialog box. Click the Connect
button to start the wizard. As you work through the dialog boxes, you will need to enter information such as your e-mail address, account name, and password. If you need help with this setup, contact your ISP. If you already have a Dial-Up Networking connection to your ISP, you may need to add the Internet E-Mail service to your Outlook profile. Choose Services
from the Tools
menu and then complete all the tabs of the dialog box to set up this service.
Sometimes people confuse internal e-mail and Internet e-mail. It's easy to understand why because, in many ways, they are similar. However, having internal e-mail doesn't necessarily mean you have Internet e-mail, and vice versa. To be able to send e-mail to a colleague down the hall via internal e-mail, both your computer and your colleague's computer need to be connected to your organization's network. To be able to send e-mail to a client in another state via the Internet, both your computer and your client's computer need to be able to access the Internet. This access may be invisibly provided by a server on your network, further blurring the distinction between internal and Internet e-mail. Or access may be more visibly provided via a modem connection to an Internet service provider (or ISP). Either way, you can use Outlook. (See the tip on the facing page for more information about Internet e-mail.) Outlook can be configured to work with many of the more popular e-mail programs, but to take full advantage of some of Outlook's capabilities, you need to be working on a network that runs Microsoft Exchange Server.
Using the Inbox
By default the Inbox is the component displayed in the workspace when you start Outlook. The Inbox is Outlook's main e-mail folder and the place where you will spend most of your time when working with e-mail. (Icons for the other e-mail folders--Drafts, Outbox, and Sent Items--are available in the Outlook bar's My Shortcuts group.) Well, let's jump right in and start sending and receiving messages:
Start Outlook by double-clicking its icon on the desktop. One of two things happens:
- If Outlook is set up to automatically log on to an e-mail server when it starts up, Outlook connects to the server and then checks for new messages.
The Drafts folder
When you are composing an important e-mail message (or one that's very long), you may need to pause to do a little research or maybe just to take a break. You can choose the File menu's Save command to store the unfinished message in the Drafts folder. Then when you're ready to resume, double-click the message in the Drafts folder to reopen the Message window with all the information you've already entered intact. You can then finish the message and send it on its way.
- If Outlook is not set up to automatically log on to an e-mail server, Outlook does not connect to your server. (By the way, this method is called working offline.) Don't worry though. You can still proceed, and we will show you how to manually make the connection on page 69.
The Inbox icon
If you have been working in another Outlook component, you can display the contents of the Inbox in the workspace by clicking the Inbox
icon in the Outlook bar's Outlook Shortcuts group.