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Switch between the Surface Mail App’s Accounts, Folders, and E-Mail

On your Microsoft Surface tablet, a tap on the Mail app’s Start screen tile brings the Mail app to the screen. Even if the app’s already running in the background, a tap on its tile brings it front and center.


The Mail app splits the screen into three columns:

  • Left column: The name of your currently viewed e-mail account appears in the top; that account’s folders appear below its name. (You’re currently viewing the highlighted folder.) At the column’s bottom, you see names of any other e-mail accounts you’ve set up. To view mail from another account’s mail, tap that account’s name.

  • Middle column: Tap a folder from the left column, and a list of that folder’s e-mails appears in the middle column. There, you see the sender’s name, the e-mail’s arrival date, and the subject name.

  • Right column: Tap an e-mail listed in the middle column, and its contents spill out in the right column.

To browse your mail, follow these two steps:

  1. From the left column, tap the account and then the folder you want to browse.

    When you tap the folder, its contents appear in the middle column.

  2. From the middle column, tap the e-mail you want to read.

    The message’s contents spill out into the right column.

Can’t read an e-mail’s tiny letters? Then put two fingers on the screen of your Surface tablet to stretch or pinch it until it’s the right size for your eyes.

This figure, for example, shows an Outlook account in the left column. Beneath it, you see other available accounts, including one from Windows Live, Google’s Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo! (If you only set up one account, you see only one account listed.)

Mail accounts from different accounts often include different folders. If you’ve set up customized folders in Gmail, for example, those same customized folders appear in the Mail app. But every account always contains these basic folders:

  • Inbox: When you open the Mail app or switch between accounts, you always see the contents of your Inbox—the holding tank for newly received messages. The Mail app only shows your last two weeks of messages.

  • Drafts: Started a heartfelt e-mail but can’t finish it through your tears? Store it in the Drafts folder to finish later: Tap the Close icon; when the drop-down menu appears, tap Save Draft. Later, when you want to finish the e-mail, tap this folder to see it waiting for completion.

  • Sent Items: Previously sent e-mail lives in here, letting you reference it later.

  • Junk: The Mail app drops suspected junk mail into this folder. Although the app’s Junk filter works well, occasionally visit here to salvage any mistakenly junked e-mail. (Some Yahoo! accounts call this a Bulk Mail folder.)

  • Deleted: Deleted something by mistake? Look in here to find it. To delete something permanently from the Deleted Items folder, select it and tap the Delete icon.

  • Outbox: The Mail app immediately tries to connect to the Internet and send your message. If your Internet connection isn’t working correctly, your message lounges comfortably in this folder. After you’ve connected with the Internet, tap the Sync button, if necessary, to send it on its way.

Like all apps, the Mail app hides its menus. And, like all apps, you reveal those menus by sliding your finger upward from the screen’s bottom. The App bar appears, with all the app’s menus in tow. The App bar is context-sensitive, meaning it changes to show icons relevant to what you’re currently viewing.

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