E-mail for Beginners: Part 1


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Tutorial Overview

Topics covered in this tutorial (click link to jump to topic):

1. What is E-mail? 4. Setting Up Your E-mail Account(s)
2. Your E-mail Address    
3. Information from your ISP    


What is Email?

E-mail is an electronic version of sending a letter. You can send e-mail from your computer at any time of the day to any address around the world and your electronic letter will arrive at its destination seconds after you send it... even if the receiver lives on the other side of the world.

The receiver has to "pick-up" their mail - usually this means dialling their local Internet Service Provider to check their mail box before they will receive your e-mail. Today many people use broadband Internet connections that are "always on", and often work with computers daily, meaning they receive their e-mail more regularly.

E-mail is one of the most popular applications on the Net. It is a cheap and effective way to keep in touch with friends and family. To send a letter in Australia costs 50 cents (excluding the cost of paper for the envelope and letter), whereas, providing you have a computer, e-mail costs virtually nothing.

To use e-mail, you need software called a "mail client". Often people use "Outlook Express" or "Eudora Pro" for Windows machines or "Claris Emailer" for Macintosh computers.

The mail client simply allows you to:

  • compose e-mail to send to your ISP to be forwarded to your addressee,
  • to receive e-mail,
  • to read and file mail that has been sent and received,
  • to manage e-mail addresses of your contacts.

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Your E-mail Address

Your e-mail address is usually your user name, followed by an @ sign, followed by the domain name of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) through which you are connecting to the Internet.

If your name is "Mary Smith" and your user name is "msmith", and you are connecting through the ISP Ozemail, your e-mail address will be "msmith@ozemail.com.au".

Like a URL on the web, the "ozemail.com.au" is the domain name of the server you will dial to send and receive your e-mail. The "ozemail" is the name of the service provider, the "com" means "company" or "commercial", the "au" denotes "Australia" (if you left the "au" off the end then the e-mail message might be delivered to a mail server in America if there happen to be a "ozemail.com" domain name server there).

Information from your ISP

You will need 5 things before your e-mail software will be able to locate your ISP's mail servers and send and receive mail:

  1. an Internet connection (dial up or broadband, it doesn't matter which type).
  2. the name of your POP (Post Office Protocol) server. The POP server is your inbound mail server - it receives your e-mail. This is often the domain name preceded with the word "mail". e.g. mail.ozemail.com.au
  3. the address of the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server. A SMTP server sends your e-mail. This is often the domain name preceded with the word "mail" or "smtp". e.g. mail.ozemail.com.au
  4. your user name. "msmith" in the example above
  5. your password

All this information will be supplied to your by your ISP or web developer.

Note that some ISPs use the same address for both POP and SMTP servers (for example both the SMTP and POP servers could be called mail.ISPNAME.com.au).

Setting Up Your E-mail Account(s) in Outlook Express

To get started, open Outlook Express, go to the "Tools" menu, choose "Accounts", then hit the "Add" button on the top right of that dialogue box. Select "Mail".

Outlook Express will put you into a wizard to help you set up a mail account.

The wizard asks for the following information, in this order:

  1. Your plain English name. This can be anything you like, but as this name will be appearing in your correspondent's inbox, it is better to give your name or business name. You can include spaces and uppercasing. Go "Next".
  2. Then you will be asked for the e-mail address. Remember: all lower case and no spaces!
  3. Then you will be asked for the POP and SMTP servers as discussed above. The Smtp server is sometimes also called the "Outbound" mail server. These will have been supplied to you by your ISP or web developer. Here are two examples:
    Pop server: mail.bellingen.com (this is the server that has your mailbox on it)
    Smtp server: mail.bigpond.com (this is the server that will send you email. Note it can be different than you Pop server)
    Again, all lowercase, and no spaces.
  4. Once you have given your Pop and Smtp details, go "Next".
  5. Now you will be asked for your "account name" and password. The account name is your email address. "msmith@bellingen.com" in the example above. Go "Next".
  6. You will get the "Congratulations" message, now go "Finish". The wizard closes. A new line item for the account you just added is visible in the "Internet Accounts" dialogue box.
  7. That's it. You are ready to test the connection. Close the "Internet Accounts" dialogue box. Go to your "Send and Receive" button on the tool bar, click it once. You will see Outlook Express attempting to connect to all of your e-mail accounts. Note: you can check one account at a time if you do not want to check them all in one go by clicking on the little black down arrow beside the "Send and Receive" button.

The following Youtube video clip will step you through the above written instructions.

Today, most e-mail clients allow you to check multiple e-mail POP accounts in the same dial in session. This is because people often have 2 or more e-mail addresses or a family may have e-mail addresses for each of the individuals in the family.

Setting Up Your E-mail Account(s) in Outlook 2007

Set up instructions from Microsoft here.

The following Youtube video clip will step you through the above written instructions.

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