Using Email

Last updated on October 30, 2020

A quick introduction

Email is one of the oldest internet-based technologies. As the name suggests, it is a way of sending electronic mail or messages to people.

Despite its age РEmail is approaching 50! Рit remains at the heart of most activity you do on the internet. Regardless of whether someone is using a computer or an iPad or a Samsung mobile phone, you can send them an email message (providing they have an email address!). This is what makes it great for communicating with anyone from family members to service providers.  When you add to this the flexibility to send and receive photos, videos and documents, you realise why email remains so central to the internet.

Also, you often need an email account to sign up for other online services that you wish to use.

Before you start

This is what you will need before you can use email.

  1. An internet connection: email apps and services require that you are connected to the internet.
  2. A device to use these apps and services: This can be a smartphone, tablet or computer. Smartphones and tablets offer the most flexibility.

How these services work

To use email you need an email account. You can sign up for a free email account from any of the main providers of email services. These include Gmail (from Google) and Microsoft Outlook. We would advise using these rather than any email services that may be offered by your broadband internet provider.

get_appWhere to sign up for an email account
You can create a Gmail or Microsoft Outlook account by using the links below. If you have an iPhone, iPad or Apple Mac computer you can create a free iCloud email account via your device. Follow the final link for more information on this.

When you sign up for an email account you will get an email address. Just like your home address, this is unique and will look something like You do have some choice over what your email address is. However, you cannot have exactly the same email address as another person, so you may have to adapt if your first choice is already taken.

Any Gmail (Google) or Microsoft Outlook account will also give you access to other services, such as digital calendars, from these companies.

Once you have an account you can give this email address to friends and family so they can send you email messages.

Next Steps

We are in the process of compiling follow-on guides which will take you step-by-step through the basics of using these services.

infoFurther Reading
  • Gmail This guide looks at some of the basics of using Gmail. It is broken down into chapters to let you dip in and out. You can read through the guidance online or download the printable version to view at your leisure.