Reading and Replying to Outlook E-Mail

Outlook has several of ways of telling you when you have an email message that you haven't read:

  • The Status Bar in the bottom left corner of the Outlook screen tells you how many email messages you have overall and how many of those you haven't read.
  • The word Inbox in the Folder List changes to boldface type when you have unread email.
  • When you look in the Inbox, you see titles of unread messages in bold.
  • When you log on to Windows XP, you see a little notice about unread messages.

Reading a message

To open and read an email message, follow these steps:

1. Click the Mail button in the Navigation Pane (or press Ctrl+1).

The Inbox screen opens, showing your incoming mail.

2. Double-click the title of the message that you want to read.

The message opens, and you can see the text of the message. If the message is really long, press the down-arrow key or the PgDn key to scroll through the text.

3. To close the Message screen, choose File --> Close (or press Alt+F4).

The Message screen closes, and you see the list of messages in your Inbox.

Sending a reply

With email, you can send a reply really easily. You don't even need to know the person's address when you're sending a reply; just click the Reply button and Outlook takes care of it for you.

Here's how you reply to a message:

1. Click the Mail button in the Navigation Pane (or press Ctrl+1).

The Inbox screen opens, showing your incoming mail.

2. Double-click the title of the message to which you want to reply.

The message that you double-click opens, and you can see the contents of the message. (If you already have the message open, you can skip the first two steps and go directly to Step 3.)

3. To reply to the people who appear in the From: line, click the Reply button.

4. To reply to the people who appear in the Cc: line, as well as the From: line, click the Reply to All button.

The Reply screen appears.

You may get (or send) email that's addressed to a whole bunch of people all at one time. You have to name at least one person in the To: line; you can name more than one person in the Cc: line, which is for people to whom you're sending only a copy. Little difference exists between what happens to mail that goes to people in the To: line and mail that goes to the people in the Cc: line — all of them can reply to, forward, or ignore the message. You don't always need to reply to the people on the Cc: line, or you may want to reply to only some of them. If you want to pick and choose whom you reply to from the Cc: line, you have to click the Reply button (not Reply to All) and add them again to the Cc: line.

5. Type your reply in the Message box.

Don't be alarmed when you discover some text already in the text box — it's part of the message to which you're replying. Your blinking cursor appears at the top of the screen, so anything you type precedes the other person's message. (This arrangement means the person who gets your message can review the original message as a memory-jogger when your reply comes back.)

6. Click the Send button.

On your office network, clicking Send speeds the message to its intended recipient.

If you're a standalone user who's sending mail on an online service, such as The Microsoft Network or CompuServe, you have to also choose Tools --> Send/Receive --> Send/Receive All or press F9 to send your message out over the Internet.

7. Choose File --> Close (or press Esc) to close the Message screen.

The Message form disappears and your Inbox reappears.

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