First, you will sign up to create a Hotmail account; once you have an email address, one of the first things you will try to do after that is create a new email in your Windows Live Hotmail account. This is actually quite easy, and there are no less than 4 different ways to open a new email editor window, as shown on the screenshot below: this is a blank new email message, in some cases you will also see some "pre-populated" content in one or more of these text fields - this tutorial will explain that too, and tell you what to expect in each scenario.
Once you are in your Hotmail inbox (or inside any other email folder, for that matter), look near the top of the screen at the Hotmail toolbar:
Notice the leftmost command labeled "New" on that toolbar: this is the button / link you need to click on in order to create a new email message. Go ahead and do it (in your actual Hotmail account). Hotmail will open a new, blank email editor window inside your current web browser page: the new email "popup" window includes three main fields you need to know about; we'll cover these text fields and others with more depth in later tutorials.
Here is a screenshot of the new email editor in your Windows Live Hotmail account; we've numbered each text field, and added sample data:
1- The first text field is called the "To" field. This is where you will type the email address of the person to whom you want to send that new email message. Note that you can have multiple "email recipients" - if so, a copy of your new email will be sent and delivered to each of the people whose email addresses are in the To field.
Tip: the screenshot above shows the email recipient's email address as a blue box, but it is regular text when you type it; Hotmail gives it a box to make it easier to see each separate email address. Also notice that two mini buttons are displayed inside each email address: click on the pencil icon to correct that address, or the "x" icon to remove that particular email recipient:
(We used a email address ending in "
@hotmail.com", but you can send messages to anyone who has an email address, not just other Hotmail users.)
2- The second text field is the "subject line" (sometimes also called "email title") - this is where you'll want to enter the topic of your email message. Choosing a quick-to-scan and relevant email subject line helps people remember what you both were exchanging emails about, and makes it easier to find related emails.
3- The last text field is the "email body": this is where your new emails see your most creative self. Just type the message you want to send, not many more rules. Keep in mind that emails can be seen by others (so don't write anything compromising or too ambiguous!) Also, keep in mind that in the online world typing your new email messages in all caps (all letters in uppercase) is considered as shouting.
These are the three essential fields you needed to know about when writing new emails from Hotmail; later tutorials will examine email etiquette in more details, and discuss the entire functionality of Windows Live Hotmail's new email editor window.
We mentioned earlier that there are four different ways of creating a new email message in Hotmail.com, and you just learned about the first.
The second method to quickly make a new email message appear on screen is to use a keyboard shortcut: to check if they are enabled or turn them on, check our "Enable, disable, or customize Hotmail keyboard shortcuts" tutorial. When Hotmail keyboard shortcuts are turned on, just press Ctrl+N on your keyboard, and Windows Live will open a new email editor popup, exactly as if you had clicked on the "New" button.
The third way to create a new Hotmail email is to reply to the selected message: Windows Live will open a new email window as soon as you either press the Ctrl+R keyboard shortcut, or click on the "Reply" or "Reply all" button.
Fourth way to get a new email message window: when you click on the "Forward" button, Windows Live Hotmail will create a new email editor with the content of the current message, and let you pick email recipients.
Tip: since this tutorial focuses on creating a new email message in Hotmail, we won't go in depth with replying and forwarding email messages, which will each have its own, dedicated tutorial, as well as the special "Reply to all" command.