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How do I use my Hotmail account?

how to use Hotmail account

Hotmail is an extremely popular web based email service from Microsoft and probably ranks second only to Yahoo! Mail. If you don’t have an email, follow the instructions in how to create a Hotmail account (or how to make a Hotmail account) and then come back for a short introduction on how to use your new Hotmail email.

This page provides a quick glance at the free service and how to use Hotmail for sending, receiving and managing your email messages. Explore the links on this page to know more about specific functions and features.

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The Hotmail inbox – a snapshot

Depending on your Hotmail settings, you will either see your email account Hotmail Inbox or the “Today” page when you sign in. If you get the latter (learn out how to remove the MSN Today page on login), click on the Inbox link in the left panel right under the logo and your email address to be taken to the listing of your email messages. Your Hotmail inbox will be similar to the snapshot shown below.

Hotmail email inbox snapshot showing the interface with important sections

The email message list

Your email listing is what you see in the meat of the page. If you have just created your account and using Hotmail inbox for the first time, you will probably see only one email the one from Windows Live Hotmail team. You can sort your email messages in different ways – check the Sort by drop down above the listing.

Sorting Hotmail email messages through the sort by drop down

The page navigation

As time passes, the number of emails in your account will grow; with 5GB storage in the free Hotmail account you can store thousands of messages. So the service is prepared for the future and will not display all emails at one time but split these across pages. The numbers and arrows in the page navigation lets you jump from one email listing page to another. FYI, you can also download Hotmail emails to your computer to maintain a copy offline in case you cannot connect to your online account.

The email search field

Search your emails by entering a query and hitting the magnifying glass button.

The folders panel

On the left is the all important folders panel that contains the 5 default Hotmail foldersInbox, Junk, Drafts, Sent and Deleted. The Manage folders link takes you to the feature of creating your own folders that help in organizing your email messages.

Signing out of your Hotmail account

The Sign out button (or link) is located near the top right under you name. Clicking on it will log you out of the email account and take you to the Live.com homepage.

Customizing the Hotmail interface

You’ll agree that the Hotmail interface is simple and clean – no flash banners or image ads; in fact there is no advertising of any kind – not even relevant text ads (like the ones found on Gmail Google’s answer to Hotmail). And the best part is… you can change the elegant blue colored interface if you want to.

Clicking on the Options link (the one right under the Sign out link) displays a drop down. You can now change the language in which the interface is displayed, the colors and images using Hotmail themes, the reading panel position and much more.

Hotmail options drop down - change language, theme etc.

Using Hotmail email management – basics

Each row of the email list displayed in your Hotmail account shows you the date on which the email was received, the email subject, the sender’s name, an envelope icon that denotes whether the email has been read or not and a small checkbox. The checkbox is important for selecting the email message; for instance, to delete a message, click on the box (which puts a check mark in it and means the message has been selected) and then click on the Delete link at the top.

The Hotmail toolbar

Just above the email listing is what I like to call the Hotmail tool bar – refer image below.

the Hotmail toolbar with different buttons and links

The New links lets you create a new email message, the Delete link will get rid of the selected email messages (shift them to the Deleted folder) and the Junk will send selected emails to the Junk folder. Using the options in Mark as drop down, you can mark messages as Unread, Read or Phishing scam (click to know more about Phishing emails). The Move to will shift selected email messages to specific folders. You can also print your email message using the “printer” icon in the bar.

The Mark as and Move to drop down menus

This was a very brief introduction on how to use Hotmail accounts for email management. Please refer other articles in this section for specific problems and solutions especially the one on how to check Hotmail account.

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