Windows 10 comes with a built-in Mail app, from which you can access all your different email accounts (including Outlook.com, Gmail, Yahoo!, and others) in one single, centralized interface. With it, there’s no need to go to different websites or apps for your email. Here’s how to set it up.
Setting up Mail From Other Accounts
Mail supports all the most popular mail services, including Outlook, Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, iCloud, and any any account that supports POP or IMAP. Click the Mail tile to start the app, and press the “Get Started” button. If you’re logged into your Microsoft account, the app should already have your outlook.com email address in the list. Click the “Settings” icon in the lower left-hand corner, or swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap “Settings.” From the right sidebar go to Accounts > Add Account.
The “Choose an account” window will appear. Mail comes ready with all kinds of popular email services. Choose the type of account you want to add and follow the on-screen instructions. If your settings are correct, then you’ll jump directly to that account’s inbox, ready to start processing mail. If you’ve set up more than one account, you can switch among them by selecting “Accounts” in the top left corner.
Link Multiple Inboxes Together
In Mail, you can link your inboxes together, so you can see all the messages from all your accounts in one unified inbox. Point your mouse to the lower-right of the screen and click “Settings.” From the right sidebar, click “Manage Accounts > Link inboxes.”
A pop-up box will open. Now, simply choose the accounts you want to link and give the new linked inbox a name.
Customize Your Mail Experience
Click the Settings button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, or if you’re on a touch device, swipe in from the right edge and then tap “Settings.” There are two kinds of settings in Mail: those specific to an account, and those that apply to all accounts. Settings that apply to all accounts let you tweak the entire aspect of your Mail experience, including personalization and reading options.
Go to Settings > Personalization in the right sidebar. Here, you can pick from a collection of 10 different hues or use the Windows accent color for seamless integration. You can toggle between the light and dark theme and set the background to cover the entire window or just the right pane where you read new messages and compose new mails. To add your own background picture, click “Browse” and select any picture stored in your PC.
For more functional customization, click on Settings > Reading in the right sidebar to manage your day-to-day mail reading experience. For example, Caret Browsing in Mail lets you navigate the reading pane with your keyboard cursor. You can use the arrow keys, Page Up/Down to scroll, and press Home or End to jump to the beginning or the end of a message.
You can toggle “Auto-open next item” on or off to indicate what you want to do when you delete a message—move to the next message, or go back to your background picture. Mail also lets you decide when a message is marked as read:
- When selection changes (that is, when you choose another message)
- Don’t automatically mark item as read (you have to mark it as read manually)
- When viewed in the reading pane (it makes Mail flag a message as read only after you’ve had it open for a certain number of seconds)
If you have more than one account in Mail, then you can tweak certain settings on a per-account basis. In the settings menu, these can be tweaked for each individual account:
- Quick Actions: Also known as Swipe Actions, this lets you operate on a message in the list by dragging your finger left or right across it. Swiping right marks the message as flagged and to the left archives it. However, you can customize what that right swipe and left swipe will do (or turn off swipe action feature entirely). You can set or clear a flag, mark a message as read or unread, archive, delete, or move.
- Signature: This lets you create and add an email signature to all the messages you send from a particular account.
- Conversation: Grouping messages by conversation is turned on by default, and groups all messages that have the same subject into one thread.
- Automatic Replies: Available on Outlook and Exchange accounts only, you can turn this on to send automatic replies to people when you know you’re not going to see your emails for a while.
- Notifications: Windows will let you know when a new message arrives for a particular account. Turn on “Show in action center,” and then specify how you want to be notified–with a sound or a banner. You can customize notifications for each email account separately as per your needs.
- Automatically download external images and style formats (available in the Reading section): Decide whether you want Mail to automatically download images. If you turn this off, you can choose to download external images in messages as you read them.
You can also pin one account’s inbox or any other mail folder to your Start menu for instant access and efficiency. For example, if you have a folder called Important, you might want them pinned on your Start menu. Right-click the folder you to pin, and choose “Pin to Start.” Click that pinned folder and you’ll be taken straight to that folder.
Customize How Your Accounts Download Messages
Lastly, you can go into each account’s individual settings to tweak how it downloads new messages. Go to Settings > Manage Accounts and click on an account to edit it. You can change its name or delete the account, but most important here is the “Change mailbox sync settings” section, which includes:
- Download new content: This menu lets you choose how frequently the Mail app will check for new messages. Usually “As items arrive” is what you want. Some account types offer only “Every 15 minutes,” “Every 30 minutes,” and so on, if you’d rather not be inundated with notificatinos. If you choose “Manual,” then Mail never checks unless you hit the “Sync” button. Mail can even dynamically manage how often new mail is downloaded based on your usage.
- Always download full message and Internet images: Instead of fetching an entire message, clear the “Always download full message and Internet Images” checkbox. This will let you view small previews of your incoming messages, so that you can navigate your inbox more efficiently. If you have a slow internet connection or want to reduce your data usage, then this option might be useful to you.
- Download email from: How far back do you want your mail collection collected? If you have a phone or tablet, then you might want to limit the number of messages stored in the Mail app. “The last month” option is a good choice and enough for day-to-day usage.
- Sync Options: Here you’ll see three items: Email, Calendar, and/or Contacts. Toggle the items you wish to sync with your account on or off. If you’re facing any sync related issues, click on “Advanced mailbox settings” to configure the Incoming email server, Outgoing email server, Calendar server, and Contacts server.
Don’t forget, your Mail accounts can also sync your contacts and calendars, too, so check out our articles on those apps for more info on setting up the entire Windows 10 suite.