How Do I Reply to an Email Message?

By Irene A. Blake

You don’t need to open a new blank template to respond to an email. Instead, your software or online account can automatically load a reply template that contains the sender’s email address, the addresses of other recipients, if applicable, the subject title, a copy of the original email and a blank composition area.

Reply to Sender

To reply to the sender of an email, click the button labelled with “Reply” or a left-pointing arrow. You can write a complete message or, if you’re answering questions, save time by adding the answers to the original text and then highlight what you wrote with a different text color or bold, italics or underline formatting.

Reply to All Recipients

When you need to reply to both the sender and other recipients, click the button marked with “Reply All,” “Reply to All” or two overlapping left-pointing arrows. If you only see a reply to sender button, look for a button to the right of it marked with a down arrow as some services place the “Reply to All” command on a drop-down menu. Many service providers place the Reply and Reply All buttons next to one another. If you only want the original email sender to receive your message, always check the CC field before you send your response to make certain that it isn't populated with any email addresses.

Use Other Reply Options

If you're going to be away from your email Inbox for an extended period of time, you can set up an automated custom response. Check your software or online account settings for a “Vacation Response” option and follow the onscreen instructions. Additionally, some services allow you to review all the replies linked to an email in one thread. To use this option, check your settings for a “Conversations” or "Conversations View" option.