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Introducing Apple Mail for Beginners

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Mac for Beginners.
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Email is a quick and easy way of keeping in touch with friends and family the world over, not to mention the fact that it is also free to use. In this tutorial, I will show you how to send and receive email using Apple's built-in Mail application from a beginner's perspective, as well as introduce you to a number of features within the app that will help increase productivity.


Mail Explained

Mail is the default email client pre-installed on every Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Instead of relying on web-based email, Mail enables you to access and manage your already-downloaded email without the use of an internet connection, and can handle multiple accounts at once. Additionally, you do not need to constantly check for new messages as Mail already does that for you automatically, alerting you when you have received a new email.

If you use iCloud, or an IMAP based email provider, Mail will be synchronised with your email opn other devices, such as your iPhone or iPad. That's in addition to any notes, events, reminders, and messages associated with that account, should you choose to activate that feature.


Configuring Mail

When you set up your Mac, or other iDevice, you will be invited to create an iCloud Apple ID email address. If you prefer, you can always used an existing, non-Apple option. Alternatively, there are a number of other free email services available, most notably Google Mail, Yahoo! Mail, and Microsoft Outlook.

Once an email address has been created, you are ready to configure Mail. Here's how.

Step 1: Launch Mail

Click the icon resembling a postage stamp to launch Mail.
Click the icon resembling a postage stamp to launch Mail.

Launch Mail by clicking the icon resembling a postage stamp in the Dock.

Step 2: Enter Your Account Information

Enter your account information and then click Continue.
Enter your account information and then click Continue.

Enter your name, email address, and password and then click Continue.

Step 3: Account Summary

Click Create to create your account.
Click Create to create your account.

Upon entering your account information, you will then be presented with an Account Summary displaying an overview of the account you are creating. Check Notes, Calendars & Reminders, and Messages to sync with Mail, and then click Create to continue.

Tip: Although Mail does generally recognise the majority of email service providers, you may occasionally have to manually configure your account if the app cannot provide the relevant server settings.


Compose and Send an Email

Now that you have created your account, it is time to compose and send your first email.

Step 1: Create

Click the Compose New Message icon to create a new email.
Click the Compose New Message icon to create a new email.

Click the Compose New Message icon to create a new email or, alternatively, press and N simultaneously on your keyboard.

Step 2: Compose

You are now ready to compose your email.
You are now ready to compose your email.

Type the email address of the person you wish to send an email to in the To field, and then enter a subject into the Subject field. You may then compose your email.

Tip:If you would like to send a copy of an email to another person as well as the original recipient, enter their address into the CC (Carbon Copy) or BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field.

Inserting an email address into the CC field will send a copy of the email to that person, although the original recipient will be informed. Entering an email address into the BCC field, however, will send a copy of the email without the original recipient's knowledge.

Step 3: Send

Click the Paper Airplane icon to send.
Click the Paper Airplane icon to send.

Once you have input the necessary information and composed your message, it is ready to send by clicking the Paper Airplane icon in the top left-hand corner of the New Message screen.


Receive, Read, and Reply to an Email

Mail is made up of four mailboxes: Inbox, Sent, Junk, and Trash. Every email that you receive will appear in your Inbox unless recognised as junk or assigned to a specific folder, while Sent will store a copy of every single email you have ever sent, and Trash will hold deleted mail for a certain period of time before permanently deleting.

You can access your Inbox (or any other mailbox, for that matter) by selecting it on the Mailboxes toolbar running vertically along the left-hand side of the application. Unread messages are distinguished by the blue circle to the left of the email which will then disappear once read.

Step 1: Read

Click on an email to read.
Click on an email to read.

Click on an email in your Inbox to read.

Once clicked, the email will then open in the main screen.
Once clicked, the email will then open in the main screen.

Once clicked, the email will then open in the main screen.

Step 2: Reply

Click the Reply to Sender icon to reply.
Click the Reply to Sender icon to reply.

Click the Reply to Sender icon located on the Mail toolbar to reply to the highlighted email. As you are composing a reply, there is no need to insert an email address or subject as they are both already present.

Click the Send icon to send.
Click the Send icon to send.

Compose your message and then click the Send icon.


Forward an Email

Forwarding an email is essentially selecting an email that you have received and sending it to another person. You can also insert an email address into the CC or BCC field as is the case with a regular email.

Step 1: Select

Click the Forward icon on the toolbar.
Click the Forward icon on the toolbar.

Highlight the email you would like to forward and then click the Forward icon on the toolbar.

Step 2: Compose

Insert the email address of the recipient in the To field.
Insert the email address of the recipient in the To field.

Insert the email address of the recipient in the To field. You may then compose a message to accompany your email, although this step is entirely optional.

Step 3: Send

Click the Send icon
Click the Send icon

Click the Send icon to forward.


Delete or Mark an Email as Junk

An overflowing Inbox can significantly decrease your productivity, therefore keeping your Inbox organised by deleting or marking unwanted email as junk is an excellent habit to develop.

Step 1: Delete

Click the Trash icon to delete an email.
Click the Trash icon to delete an email.

Click the Trash icon situated on the Mail toolbar to send highlighted mail to the Trash folder where it is then automatically deleted after a certain period of time.

Step 2: Mark as Junk

Click the Thumbs Down icon to mark as junk.
Click the Thumbs Down icon to mark as junk.

Unfortunately, you will be subjected to spam from time to time. Spam is junk email that is automatically sent to the Junk folder, although it can occasionally evade the filter and end up in your Inbox.

Mark spam as junk by clicking the Thumbs Down icon situated on the Mail toolbar. This will remove the highlighted message from your Inbox and place it in Junk, which Mail will continue to do automatically from there on out.


Format an Email

Brighten up a dull-looking email by adding a changing the font or adding a splash of colour. Formatting can also be used to transform a large block of text into a more legible format. Here, let me show you.

Step 1: Format

Click the A icon to format your email.
Click the A icon to format your email.

Click the A icon above the address field to display the formatting toolbar.

Change the font, text size, or anything else you desire by selecting that option from the list.
Change the font, text size, or anything else you desire by selecting that option from the list.

Modify the appearance of your email by highlighting the text and then selecting an option from the toolbar.


Add an Attachment

Email can also be used to send important files from one Inbox to another, which could prove to be especially useful in the workplace as it saves using a flash drive or any other hardware that could potentially go missing in transit.

Step 1: Choose File

Click the Paperclip icon to add an attachment to your email.
Click the Paperclip icon to add an attachment to your email.

Add an attachment such as a photograph or text document by clicking the Paperclip icon.

Locate the file you wish to include.
Locate the file you wish to include.

Locate the file you wish to include and then click Choose File.

Step 2: Change Image Size

Modify the size of an image file by clicking the Image Size drop-down menu.
Modify the size of an image file by clicking the Image Size drop-down menu.

You can modify the size of an image file by clicking the Image Size drop-down menu located below the Subject field, and selecting either Small, Medium, Large, or Actual Size. Choosing a smaller file size will ensure a speedier delivery.


Search

Occasionally, you may wish to perform a search for a certain email to save time instead of tediously trawling through your Inbox.

Enter a search term into the box and then press Return.
Enter a search term into the box and then press Return.

Enter the keyword you wish to search for into the Search box situated in the right-hand corner of the application. This will automatically display a number of results relating to your search, divided into three categories: People, Subjects, and Mailboxes. Click the most applicable result to view, or return to your Inbox to view every email containing that particular search term.


Well Done!

In this tutorial, I have shown you how to send and receive email using Mail. I have explained the function of a number of features within the app. Did you find this tutorial helpful? Feel free to ask a question if you are unsure about anything in particular.

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