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In this movie, I'd like to touch on the basics of receiving and reading e-mail. In the previous movie, we learned about the path an e-mail follows to get from the sender's computer to the recipient's. Now, once an e-mail arrives on your computer, depending on the e-mail client you're using, there are usually a couple of options available for reading and managing your messages. Now, for this example I'm using Mac OS X's mail program, but pretty much everything I'll show you here applies to other e-mail clients as well. So, first of all, when new e-mail arrives, it usually ends up in your Inbox by default, and you usually see some notification of how many new messages you have.
With your Inbox selected, you can browse through your messages. To read a message, just click it once. Most e-mail clients have a split window like this in which you can see your list of messages in one pane and read the selected message in another pane. In most cases, you can also double- click a message to open it in its own window, which can be useful if it's a long message and you want more space in which to read it. I'll go ahead and close that. Now, if a message is something important, or something you want to get back to later, one of the options you have is to mark it by clicking the Flag button, which you can see puts a little flag next to the message.
I'm going to turn that off for the moment, or alternately, you might want to mark the message as unread, which keeps the message highlighted as an unread message, so you remember to get back to it later. All e-mail clients also let you create folders to further organize your messages if you like. In OS X Mail, you choose Mailbox > New Mailbox. In other clients it might be File > New Folder, or something like that, but the end result is you're creating a folder into which you can drag related files to keep them organized.
For example, maybe On My Mac, I want to create a folder called Work, to keep all my work-related e-mail messages together. You can see now I have that folder sitting here in Mail, and then I can just drag messages into that folder. Now, along those lines, all e-mail clients also allow you to create what are called Rules. In Mail you go to Mail Preferences > Rules. When you create a Rule, you're setting up parameters for your e-mail client to automatically check out incoming messages. For instance, you could create a rule that all e-mails from your boss's e-mail address get automatically moved into your Work folder.
The steps for creating rules vary from client to client, but you should be able to find instructions for creating them in the client's help file. So, those are just a couple of things to keep in mind about receiving and reading your incoming e-mail messages.
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