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Learning how to send an email

To see what an email looks like, click on the following coloured words: If nothing happens it just means your browser is not set up for sending emails. The browser is the program you are reading this web page in.

To see what a form for sending electronic messages looks like, click on these coloured words. Use the "Back" button at the top of the screen to return to this page.

The computer programs used for sending and receiving email are called mailers. They come in different shapes:

There are

    specialised mailers like Pegasus and Eudora

    mailers connected to browsers, like this one. You may have a small envelope picture at the bottom of the screen that goes to the mailer, or a button near the top of the screen with "mail" on it.

    web-based email, which is reached at a web address through a browser. This allows you to send and collect your email from almost any computer connected to the internet. Examples of web-based email are Yahoo! Mail, Netscape WebMail, and Hotmail.

Email travels in little electric packets each tagged with an electric address. To send or receive email you need one of these addresses.

Click here to read about addresses Use the "Back" button at the top of the screen to return to this page.

Computers on networks like those in a university or a local computer centre are always online. This means you do not have to dial into the telephone network before you send or receive mail.

On a home computer you may pay for your internet connection by the time you spend online, or you may pay a lump sum per month (or whatever). If you pay a lump sum, you will probably want to be always online.

If you pay by the time spent online, you will want to be offline (with the telephone switched off) when you are writing and reading messages. You will only want to go online (and incur telephone charges) when you are actually sending or receiving messages.

Different mailers tend to work the same way. Whichever software you use, the way you send and receive messages will probably be much the same:

To check for new email if your mailer is always online you usually just open the mailer.

Checking for new email if your mailer is normally offline usually means:

  1. Connecting to your internet service provider.

  2. Instructing your mailer to check for new mail.

  3. Disconnecting from your internet service provider.

To read an email you usually:

  1. Find and/or open a mail folder.

  2. Look at the list of senders and subjects to see which you want to read.

  3. Highlight one you want to read.

  4. Open it by clicking on an open button.

To write an email you will usually:

  1. Go to the new message window.

  2. Type in the email address of the person you are sending the message to.

  3. Type in the subject. This will give the recipient an idea of who the message is from and what it is about.

  4. Type in your text.

To send an email if your mailer is always online you will usually click on a button marked send in the new message window

To send an email if your mailer is normally offline you will usually:

  1. Click on a button marked send in the new message window.

  2. Connect to your internet service provider.

  3. Instruct your mailer to send all queued mail

  4. Disconnect from your internet service provider.

Some websites have forms by which you can send information electronically and have it electronically sorted by a computer. You might use such a form to order goods from a company or submit work to a school or university. The form has rectangles in which you write the information which is required. You then click a button marked send and off it goes. At the other end filtering rules use (hidden) subject headings, and information you have given, to sort your message, act on it and file it. You may get an automated thank you from the computer the mail goes to. If you have sent an essay, the computer may put it into a collection of essays for the tutor to read. A form on a commercial page could lead to the automated despatch and invoicing of goods.

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Middlesex University, 
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Clicking on Middlesex University logos like the one above will take you to Computer notes for its students
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Middlesex University students and staff can use the University's own webmail to send and receive emails