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Sending and Receiving E-mail in Office 2003

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With the skills you'll acquire in this sample book chapter, you'll be able to work with E-mail messages in Outlook 2003, from setting preferences to dealing with attachments.
This chapter is from the book

Chapter 3: Sending and Receiving E-mail

In this chapter

  • Learning about what is shown in the Inbox and how to work in the Inbox.
  • Learning about sending and receiving e-mail.
  • Knowing about reading e-mail.
  • Understanding how to answer and forward e-mail.
  • Knowing how to create a new e-mail message.
  • Knowing how to set e-mail preferences.

E-mail has become a major communications medium, and much of the time you spend in Outlook will be e-mail–related time. Of course, the first thing you need to know about e-mail is how to send and receive it; otherwise, you have no e-mail. You also need to know how to read, create, reply to, and forward e-mails. The Inbox is the place where you receive e-mails, so you also need to understand about working in the Inbox. In this chapter, you will learn the ways to work in the Inbox and the basics of working with e-mail.

Working with the Inbox

Before we start working with e-mail, let's take a look at the Inbox folder, shown in Figure 3.1. The Inbox is the folder where your e-mails are delivered, and you will be spending a lot of time working in the Inbox folder, so it's good to know what you will be seeing.

Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 The Inbox view is laid out in three panes; the Navigation Pane, Folder Pane, and Reading Pane.

The normal view of the Inbox shows the width of the Outlook window divided into three panes below a menu bar and a toolbar. The toolbar is the Standard toolbar, which contains frequently used commands from the different Outlook menus. The three panes, from left to right, are the Navigation Pane, the Folder Pane, and the Reading Pane.

The Navigation Pane

The Navigation Pane is used to navigate from one folder to another in Outlook. It has buttons for different groups of folders, such as Mail and Calendar. Clicking one of these buttons displays a list of folders related to that button. The Inbox is an e-mail folder, so it is displayed in the Mail group. All folders of every type are displayed if the Folder List button is clicked. Above the All Mail Folders group of folders is the Favorite Folders area, which provides shortcut links to various e-mail folders.

To select a folder to view, click on the desired folder in the list of folders. To view the Inbox, click on the Inbox in the All Mail Folders group or in the Favorite Folders area. You will learn more about working with the Navigation Pane throughout this book, and you will learn about customizing it in Chapter 11, "Customizing the Navigation Pane."

The Folder Pane

The Folder Pane displays all the items in the current folder, based on the folder view being used. The default view of the Inbox shows all items in the folder, grouped by the date the items were received. You can learn more about folder views in Chapter 14, "Outlook Views."

The Folder Pane shows quite a bit of additional information about the items in the folder, such as the date/time the items were received, the person who sent the items, and the status of the items. Figure 3.1 shows four e-mails in the Inbox; each item shown illustrates one or more pieces of status information.

The items are grouped by when they were received; the groupings shown are Today, Yesterday, and Thursday. Other groupings you might see in the Inbox include Last Week, Two Weeks Ago, Three Weeks Ago, Last Month, and Older. Groupings are set up to show more detail for newer items and less for older items. You might care when an item was received this week but probably wouldn't care which day three months ago an item was received.

The first item in the Inbox shows the icon for an e-mail that hasn't been marked as read at the left. This icon, called the Unread icon, is a closed envelope symbol. The sender of the e-mail and the time it was received appear next in the first line. At the right of the e-mail is a flag, known as a Quick Flag, that is colored red. Quick Flags are used to mark e-mails so they stand out, and also can provide reminders with alarms and pop-up dialogs to remind you to take some action related to the e-mail. You will find more details on Quick Flags and reminders in Chapter 4, "Advanced E-mail Techniques." The second line of the first e-mail shows part of its subject, and a High importance icon, which is a red-colored exclamation mark.

The second item in the Inbox, in the Yesterday grouping, shows the icon for an e-mail that has been replied to. This icon is an open envelope symbol with a maroon-colored arrow pointing toward the envelope.

The third item in the Inbox, in the Yesterday grouping, shows the icon for an e-mail that has been forwarded to someone. This icon is an open envelope symbol with a blue-colored arrow pointing away from the envelope. This e-mail shows a paper clip icon to the right of the e-mail subject, which indicates that the e-mail has an attachment. An attachment can be a file, document, picture, or other object that is attached to an e-mail. This e-mail shows a green-colored Quick Flag.

The final item shown in the Inbox, in the Thursday grouping, shows the icon for an e-mail that has been marked as read. This icon is an open envelope. This item also shows the icon for an item with Low importance at the right of the second line, a blue-colored down-pointing arrow symbol.

To review, here is a list of the most common pieces of information displayed about items in the Folder Pane:

  • Date groupings, which organize e-mails based on the dates they were received. The date groupings become less specific as the dates get further and further in the past.

  • E-mail status, which can be read or unread, replied to, and forwarded.

  • Flag status, which can be unflagged or show a colored Quick Flag.

  • Importance, which can be High, Normal, or Low. E-mails with Normal importance don't show any importance icon.

  • Attachment status. E-mails with attachments display a paper clip icon.

  • Subject and date/time received. In date groupings that use a day, such as Yesterday, the day of the week and time received are shown. In less specific groupings, such as Last Month, the date the item was received is shown, but not the time. It's more important to show what time an item was received today than it is for an item received months ago.

The Reading Pane

The Reading Pane, the rightmost pane shown in the Inbox, enables you to preview e-mails so you can read them without having to open them. Just below the subject of the e-mail and the sender is the InfoBar, a gray-colored bar that shows additional information about an item in the Reading Pane. In the item shown in the Reading Pane in Figure 3.1, the InfoBar indicates that a follow-up flag is set on the e-mail, and the e-mail was sent with High importance.

Below the InfoBar, you can see the person the e-mail was addressed to, followed by the message in the e-mail.

Now that you are familiar with the layout of the Inbox and what information is displayed for e-mails in the Inbox, you will learn about sending and receiving e-mails.

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