How Do I Send an Email Message?

Terms used for parts of an email program mimic pre-technology work spaces with terms like "Carbon Copy" and "Inbox."
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If you have an Internet connection or a wireless phone with cellular service, you can send an email message. Various apps and websites are available to help you perform this task. There are several free and low-cost options out there, and after you decide which one you want to use, creating and sending the email is simple.

The Email Address

You need a person's email address to send an email. It's the part of the contact information with the "@" symbol in the middle, and it ends most commonly with ".com," ".net" or ".org." The username comes before the "@" symbol, is specific to your contact and is not case-sensitive. The domain name comes after the "@" sign and is usually not case-sensitive either.

You also need your own email address. The easiest way to get one is create one when you create an account with Microsoft, Google's Gmail or Yahoo.

Addressing the Email and Attaching Files

Open your email software or app and find the button that says "New" or "Compose" and press it to launch the form to write your message. Enter the recipient's email address in the field labeled "To" or "Recipient." Your email address automatically appears in the Sender field. There is also a field called "Cc." This stands for carbon copy -- a dated term that means the address you put in that field is sent a copy of the message.

There is also a "Bcc" field, which means "Blind Carbon Copy." It's usually hidden until you click "Bcc." The address in this field receives a copy of the email, but no other recipients can see that they did.

Somewhere above or below the message body, there is a paper clip icon. Click on this icon to attach a document or picture to send with the message. Be careful how many pictures you attach and how large they are because you or your recipient may have data limits.

Composing a Subject

Usually below the "To" and "From" fields is the Subject line. Fill this field with a short sentence or phrase that summarizes why you're writing. If you make it too long, it cannot be seen in its entirety in the recipient's list of emails.

A good subject line is important. Subjects that are too generic, like "Hi!" or "I had to show you this!" could be filtered out by your recipient's spam filter. A good subject line is just like a good title for any composition. It sums up the gist of your message to pique the reader's interest, such as "My interview went great!" or "Our Family is growing!"

Composing the Message

Finally, in the message body area, enter your message. Avoid the temptation to fill the email with everything on your mind. Some recipients are overwhelmed by long emails. Remember that emails are permanent, unlike a phone conversation. Be careful not to write things you might regret. An email can be printed or filed and kept indefinitely.

Mobile Email Apps

Apple and Android mobile devices are responsible for opening a little more than half of all emails at the time of publication. Larger phones, cheaper tablets and voice-to-text capabilities make it easier than ever to clear out your inbox while you're standing in line at the post office.

Access email on your phone or tablet with the default email app on the device or download an alternate app, such as the Gmail or Yahoo Mail apps. No matter which app you use, you need a user name -- usually your email address -- and password to access the account that handles your email.

Email Applications for Your PC

Your PC comes with a native email application. Windows 8.1 comes with the Windows Mail app. Some Microsoft Office Suites include the more richly featured Microsoft Outlook 2013. One advantage of email applications on your PC is that you can adjust settings for emails to download to your computer rather than stay stored on the server. This makes your email available offline if needed.

Web Mail Services

Web email services save hard drive space. Services like Gmail, and Yahoo Mail give you access to email through your browser rather than using an application loaded on your hard drive. These applications can be large. Office 2013, for example, requires 3GB of hard drive space to install.

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