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How to Navigate the Windows 8.1 Mail Screen

If you signed in to Windows 8.1 or the Mail app with a Microsoft account that’s also a Hotmail/Outlook.com ID, Mail reaches out to your Hotmail/Outlook.com account and pulls the last two weeks’ worth of messages. The result is something like that shown.

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If your screen is 1,366 pixels wide or wider, the first column expands to show you more details about each of your folders.

Mail’s standard layout takes three columns:

  • The left column lists your accounts at the bottom, and the folders associated with the selected account. In the figure are two accounts, a Hotmail/Outlook.com account and a Yahoo! account. Because the Hotmail/Outlook.com account is selected, the Inbox, Favorites, Flagged, Newsletters, Social Updates and All Folders list are all the ones associated with the Hotmail/Outlook.com account.

    If you tap or click the Yahoo! account, the contents of the lower folders change to reflect the Yahoo! account.

  • The middle column lists all the messages in the selected folder. If you don’t specifically select a folder — perhaps by using the All Folders list — Mail selects the Inbox for you.

  • The right column shows you the selected message and has the buttons that let you quickly react to the message.

If you swipe from the bottom or top, or right-click in the body of Mail, the additional tools appear.

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If you noticed the Move icon, you probably asked yourself, “How do I create a new folder to move stuff into?” The answer: Click or tap on the Folders icon on the lower left and choose Add a Folder. Type in the name of the new folder, and it will appear in the All Folders folder on the left.

The Pin to Start icon is also quite remarkable in that it allows you to pin a Metro Mail account to the Start screen. If you want to bring up Mail with that account pre-selected (saving yourself one tap in the process), you can place a tile for the account on your Start screen.

The Move, Sweep, and Junk icons at the bottom work very much like the analogous icons on the Hotmail/Outlook.com page. You can also click and drag a message to one of the folders — just as you could in Outlook Express in Internet Explorer 4. Progress!

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