Beginners Guide to Using Email

Updated: 23rd August 2016


Email is still the main application on the Internet, and almost everyone uses it; both privately, and for business.

It is so incredibly popular that almost everyone is assumed to be proficient in its use.

However many people,especially seniors, haven’t used Email at work, and are just starting with email.

Over the years I’ve received many emails asking:

  • How do I… Create a new email account?
  • How do I…Access multiple email accounts?
  • How do I…Change my email address?
  • Where is my Email Stored?
  • etc..

The aim of this site is to provide easy to read tutorials, and practical step by step instructions to help you use it confidently and securely.

Getting Started- Email Basics

To send and receive email you will need:

  • An email account, and an email address.
  • An email client Live Mail,Outlook etc
  • To be connected to an email network. (the Internet)

Email Accounts and Addresses

An email account consists of

  • User name and password
  • Mailbox
  • Email Address

Note: The account user name is often the email address, but not always.

Email accounts like Yahoo and Gmail are general purpose accounts, and can can be used for accessing other services besides email.

Email Addresses and Mailboxes

A mailbox is a location where email is stored. It is the electronic equivalent of a post office box.

In order to receive email you need to have a mailbox.

When you sign up for an email account you are assigned a mailbox, and normally an email address.

The email address and mailbox are linked such that any email sent to the email address will be placed in the mailbox.

It is possible to link (associate) multiple email addresses to a single mailbox. See Email addresses and accounts and also Email forwarding explained.

Getting An Email Account/Address

You can get an email account from a variety of sources, and you can have more than one account.

For most people a free email account from one of the big three email providers- Yahoo, Google Gmail and Microsoft are ideal.

See how to choose an Email Provider and create a free email address/account for details.

Small businesses should invest in their own domain name, and use that along with an email hosting service. See Small Business guide .

Accessing Your Email

To access your email, send and receive emails you will need an email client.

There are two popular email client types.They are:

  • Desktop (Outlook Express,or windows live Mail) and or smart phone based clients called Apps. -See Mobile Email
  • Web Based clients – Your Browser e.g. Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet explorer.

A desktop and or smart phone based email client needs to be installed on the computer or smart phone that you are using.

It also needs to be setup and configured before you can send, and receive email with it.

Webmail clients don’t need to be configured, and work on any computer or mobile phone

Webmail clients are ideal for beginners, and for people who travel, because to connect to your email by just typing the web address of your email provider into your web browser.

See Choosing an Email Client for more details

Sending and Receiving Email

Now you have an email account, and have decided on your email client its time to send your first email.

Exactly how you do it will depend on your email client/provider.

The sending and receiving email tutorial is a complete beginners guide that shows you how to compose and send email, add attachments, send to multiple recipients etc.

It also takes you through your mailbox folders and how to read and reply to emails.

If you are interested in the way email moves from you email client to its destination, and what protocols are involved then Understanding the email send and receive process. covers the technical details.

Email Address Lists and Contacts

All email clients have an address book or contact list in which you can store the email addresses of the people with whom you communicate frequently.

There are several ways of adding those addresses to the Address book.

The four main methods that are supported by most email clients are:

  • Adding them manually
  • Add them automatically from received email.
  • Add the manually from received email
  • Import Them from a file

In addition most email clients will let you import and export email addresses. Related articles:-

 Accessing Email From Different Locations and Devices

Access to email is so important that almost everyone wants 24/7 access even when they are on holiday or traveling away.

There are many different ways of accomplishing this depending on your email devices (computer/tablet/phone) and your email provider.

The Remote Email access article covers the most common scenarios.


If you want to know when new tutorials are  published, receive the occasional tip then sign up for the newsletter. Just enter your email address in the field below, hit subscribe, and reply to the welcome message.

Popular Tutorials


The Email FAQs has a collection of common questions and answers to help you with your email problems.

If you  have a question then just ask and I will do my best to help.

Why not test your email knowledge with the email basics quiz.

Best Regards






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