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Internet Basics - Using email

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Electronic mail, or email is a quick way of sending messages to people using the internet.

As with a postal address, an email address is made up of different parts, for example:
  • tom is your name, or user name
  • the @ symbol stands for the word at
  • the company you work for, or the company who provides your email address comes after the @
  • shows that the email address is for someone in the United Kingdom

An email address is written in lowercase with no spaces.

Email account

Email features example

To send an email you first need to get an email account. Your Internet Service Provider will give you an email account, or you can sign up for a free web account such as Hotmail, Google Mail or Yahoo!

All email programmes look different, but they do have some similar features.

Creating and sending an email

creating a new email
Sending an email

To create a new email click the new button.

Next you need to type in the email address. Left click in the box next to the To button and type in the address.

The subject line tells the person who is receiving the email what it is about.

You can write your message in the main body of the email.

When you have written your email, and checked it for any typing errors, you need to click on the send button.

Receiving and replying

Receiving emails

Your inbox is similar to your letter box; all your emails arrive into your inbox.

When you receive a new email it will appear in bold in your inbox. Next to your inbox there will be a number showing how many unread emails you have.

To open and read an email you have to click somewhere on the email, such as on the subject line.

Replying to an email

Once an email is open you can then reply or forward the email.

To reply to an email click on the reply button. This will open up a new email where the address is already completed, as you are replying to the person who sent you the message.

In the subject line it will read re: as you are replying to an email.


Attaching files to an email

When you send emails you can also add attachments. An attachment can be any type of file, such as a photo or document.

To send an attachment, first click on new for a new email.

Complete the email as before and then click on the attach button.

Selecting file to attach

When you click on attach it will open up a new window showing you the folders and files on your computer. Select the file you want to attach by clicking with the left mouse button. Then click on ok.

Email with attachment

Now the document will show as an attachment in your email. The document name will be shown next to a symbol of a paperclip.

Finally click on the send button to send the email.


Inbox showing email with attachment

When you receive an email with an attachment you will see a paperclip symbol next to the email in your inbox. It is important to remember, never open an attachment unless you trust the person who has sent it to you. Sometimes attachments can contain viruses.

Open email attachment

To view the attachment you first have to open the email as normal.

Next click on the attachment to open it in a new window. You have to choose to open or save the attachment.

Forwarding an email

Forwarding an email works in a similar way to replying. You click on the forward button when you want to forward the email onto someone else, such as another friend.

When you click on forward a new email will open. But this time you have to add in the email address.

In the subject line it will read fw: as you are forwarding on the email to someone else.

Junk, deleting and contacts

Email folders

You can use the folders in your email account to manage and file your emails. The main folders are:

Inbox: where all your new emails come into

Sent: where copies of the emails you sent are kept

Junk: where your junk, or spam email goes. Most email programmes come with spam filters and they should put all the spam in your junk folder. Remember, it's worth checking your junk folder every now and again as an email you want to keep might have been put into the junk folder by mistake.

Trash: where all your deleted emails are stored.

You can also delete emails you no longer want. To delete an email first select it and then click on delete.

Once an email is deleted it goes to your trash folder. If you accidently deleted an email you can get it back by going to the trash folder. To delete an email permanently it will need to be deleted from the trash folder.

Contacts: an electronic address book where you can store all of your contacts' details and email addresses.

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