Getting started with Email - the basics

Published 14/04/2005 10:44   |    Updated 25/09/2009 17:34
I'm just getting started with Email, what do I need to know? 

Email (short for electronic mail) is a fast and convenient way to communicate with others. You can use email to:

  • Send and receive text messages. You can send an email message to any person with an email address. The message arrives in the recipient's email inbox within seconds or minutes—whether he or she is your next-door neighbour or lives halfway around the world. 

    Email is two-way. You can receive messages from anyone who knows your email address, and then read and reply to those messages.

  • Send and receive files. Besides text, you can send almost any type of file in an email message, including documents, pictures, and music. A file sent in an email message is called an attachment.

  • Send messages to groups of people. You can send an email message to many people simultaneously. Recipients can reply to the whole group, allowing for group discussions.

  • Forward messages. When you receive an email message, you can forward it to others without retyping it.

One advantage of email over the telephone or regular mail is its convenience: You can send a message at any time of day or night. If the recipients are not in front of their computers and online (connected to the Internet) when you send the message, they'll find it waiting for them the next time they check their email. If they are online, you might get a reply within minutes.

Email is also free. Unlike sending a regular letter, no stamp or fee is required, no matter where the recipient lives. The only charges that apply are those that you pay for an Internet connection.



What do I need before I can use email?

To use email, you need three things:
  • An Internet connection. To connect your computer to the Internet, you must first sign up with an Internet service provider (ISP) such as BT Ireland. An ISP provides you with access to the Internet, usually for a monthly fee. You also need a modem.

  • An email program or web-based service. You can use Windows Mail or Outlook Express etc., which are email programs included with Windows. You can also use any other email program, once you install it on your computer.

    If you prefer, you can sign up instead with a free web-based email service, such as Gmail, MSN Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail. These services allow you to check your email with a web browser from any computer connected to the Internet.

  • An email address. You get an email address from your ISP or web-based email service when you sign up. An email address consists of a user name (a nickname you choose, not necessarily your real name), the @ sign, and the name of your ISP or web-based email provider—for example,



Setting up your Email Program

For a step-by-step guide to configure your email program select from one of the following:

 « Outlook Express »

 « Outlook 2003 »

 « Outlook 2007 »

 « Windows Mail (Vista) »

 « Mac Mail 2.0 »

 « Thunderbird »


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