Getting Started with Gmail

March 29, 2011, By Christian Cawley

There are various free email services on the web, some good, some not so good. One of the most popular is Windows Live Hotmail, which enables you to manage email messages, filter junk and generally get lots of useful features for free.

Arguably the daddy of all free email services – which are typically available via your browser and therefore referred to as “webmail” – is Google Mail, or Gmail.

Setting up a Gmail account is free, and using one is very easy indeed. Once you have the account setup you might view messages via your browser or in an email client, either is OK.

Getting started with Gmail

Creating a Gmail Account

In order to get started with Gmail, you will first need to create an account. You can do this by visiting mail.google.com/signup and completing the form.

Google require you to provide your name, choose a login name (which will form part of the email address) and a password, as well as a security password. You will also need to agree to their terms of use, which mainly concern rules against using the service for spamming.

Once you’re done, click the I Accept… button to agree to the terms of service, and your account will be created.

You will then be taken to your email inbox, where you should find a welcome message from the Google Gmail team and a selection of buttons with which you can perform various tasks.

Reading a Message in Gmail

To become familiar with Gmail, select the welcome message to read it.

You will see that the message is displayed within the browser window, as are various other tools. For instance you can reply to email messages via the Reply button in the top-right corner of the message. This is accompanied by a drop-down menu that offers other choices, such as Forward to send the message to a friend or Print to send a copy to your printer.

Rather than using these buttons to reply or forward the message you might alternatively scroll to the foot of the message and select the Reply or Forward buttons here which work in just the same way.

Sending a Message with Gmail

Naturally you can also send an email message with Gmail, which probably the easiest-to-use webmail interface around.

To start a new email message, click the Compose mail button on the left-side of the email inbox. This will then open a new, empty email message. You can add email addresses in the To: field (separate multiple addresses with a comma) and don’t forget to state a Subject: for the email.

In the larger, main text input area for the email, you can type your message. This can be enhanced by the various formatting tools – you might set bold type or change the colour of the text, for instance, just as you might in a Google Docs document.

Once you have written your email message you can use the Check spelling button to look for any errors, then click Send – and your first Gmail message has been sent!

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