How Do I Configure
Outlook Express

How do I Configure Outlook Express?

Millions of people use Outlook Express for the all-important task of sending and receiving e-mail, but it's a good bet that not even half of them take advantage of its full functionality. We've put Outlook Express through its paces for years now, and here are a few tips we'd like to share with you that will make you an Express power user before you know it.

Set up your e-mail account
Sign your name with Signatures
Create a new Identity
Have it your way with Message Rules

It may seem a trivial thing, but here's a quick rundown on how to set up your Webbworks Online e-mail account in Express.

1. Click the Tools menu

2. Select Accounts

3. Make sure the Mail tab is active, and click Add/Mail

4. The Internet Connection Wizard will launch.

5. Enter the name you want others to see when they receive e-mail from you, and click Next.

6. In the Internet E-mail Address window, select whether you already have an e-mail address that you want to use; The e-mail address you enter here must be an existing address you have already setup with Webbworks. You may sign up for a new Hotmail account from this window as well. Click Next.

7. In the E-mail Server Names window, select the type of server you are using. The Webbworks' e-mail servers are POP3, which stands for post office protocol. Next, fill in the incoming (POP3) mail server and the outgoing (SMTP) server, an acronym for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. These parameters are the same: The incoming POP3 server is used to download your messages, while the outgoing SMTP server is used to send your e-mail. Click Next.

8. In the Internet Mail Logon window, enter the user name and password that you chose when you signed up for your Webbworks account. Be sure to check the box to remember your passwords if you don't want to be prompted to log in every time you check your e-mail. Click Next.

9. Click Finish. That's it!

If you want to add a new e-mail account, repeat this process with your other account information.

If you've ever received an e-mail from someone who includes a bunch of personal gobbledygook at the close of their message, you've seen what is called a signature. The equivalent of a signed name in the offline world, e-mail signatures give you an easy way to include important contact information in your messages.

Creating a signature in Outlook Express 5 is easy.

1. Click on the Tools menu and select Options.

2. Click the Signatures tab and select the New button to create a new signature.

3. In the Edit Signature box on the bottom, type in the message and contact information that you want to include in your outgoing mail. Typical signatures consist of:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Company
  • Phone number
  • Fax number
  • E-mail address
  • Your favorite quote!

4. When you're satisfied with your signature's appearance, click the Apply button on the bottom to activate the signature. You may want to rename the signature, instead of accepting the default name "Signature#1." Do this by clicking the Rename button in the Signatures field. If you have multiple accounts set up, you'll definitely want to do this so that you don't have to guess which signature to include.

Other options include the ability to automatically attach your signature to all outgoing messages. Click the checkbox at the top of the window to do this. It may not make sense to do this, however, because if you're e-mailing a close friend, he or she will already have that information, and it will be just wasted bits and bytes. Plus, attaching a signature often creates a feeling of formality, and that's usually unnecessary with close acquaintances.

5. You can also click the Advanced tab at the bottom to choose which e-mail and newsgroup accounts to which you want to assign your signature. Finally, if you have your signature stored in a text or HTML file, click the File radio button at the bottom and browse your desktop to locate and insert it into your file.

6. Now, when you're finished typing a message, go to the Insert menu and select Signature. If you only have signature set up, it will be entered by default. If you have multiple signatures, however, you can choose which to include. Just be sure to name them accurately.

If two people or more share a POP mail account with Outlook Express, you might want to set up multiple identities. Similar to Netscape's Profiles, multiple identities allow you to basically have a separate copy of the program on the same computer. No more sharing your POP mail account with Junior! Here's how to do it:

1. Click the File menu

2. Select Identities > Add New Identity

3. Type a name for this identity and decide whether you want to password-protect it. Then, choose a password or hit OK.

4. Outlook Express will then prompt you whether you want to switch to your new identity. If you select Yes, you will be taken through the new Internet connection wizard, where you can configure the e-mail account that you want to associate with the new identity. If you hit No, you'll be taken to the Manage Identities window, where you have the option to create another identity, remove an Identity, or view the identity's properties. Finally, you can select the default identity that is used when you launch Outlook Express.


Message Rules are an invaluable feature of Outlook Express. Basically, rules are filters you configure that take action on an incoming message based on conditions you set.

For example, if you are plagued by spam, you may want to set up a message rule that will take any message with the word "free" in the subject and move it to the Deleted Items folder, so that you won't have to deal with it. It's not a perfect way to combat spam, but it helps.

To set up message rules, highlight Tools > Message Rules > Mail on the menu bar. This will bring up the New Mail Rule window. Setting up a message rule is a four-step process:

1. Select the conditions for your rule:
here are several options here, so scroll through the available list. The most obvious conditions are when the message subject contains a certain word, when the message is from a certain person and when the body contains certain words. But, there are other options, such as when the message is marked as a priority. When you select a condition in section 1, you will notice that in section 3 the condition appears. You will have the opportunity to specify the condition further in step 3.

2. Select the actions for your rule:
Once you've selected a condition, you need to tell Outlook Express what to do with the message. For unwanted mail, you'll probably want to delete it when it matches your condition. But another useful application is to filter your incoming mail from friends or colleagues into topical folders. For example, you could have a folder for messages from your best friend, and have the messages routed into the folder as soon as they're received. In essence, it's a way to save you time.

3. Rule description:
If your rule contains a word with a blue hyperlink, click it to specify the rule's properties. For example, if you want to delete all incoming mail with "free" in the subject, you will click the blue link and enter the word "free" in the text box.

4. Name of the rule:
Finally, enter a descriptive name for your new message rule, so you can easily remember what it's used for. Hit OK and your message rule is complete. You may want to send yourself a test message matching your conditions to see if it works to your satisfaction; if not, simply revisit Tools > Message Rules > Mail, and you'll see your message rule on the list. Edit it by clicking Modify.


You can also get help direct from Microsoft for Outlook Express 5.x
by going to Outlook Express FAQ's

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