f it hasn’t happened already, those of you using MSN, Hotmail and Live email will be assimilated into the new Outlook.com email. Don’t worry though, the only change you’ll notice is to the interface, or the way your email looks and behaves. Your preferences, user name and password will not change. This is a very good thing. It will allow you to have conformity across several devices (desktop, laptop and phone) and it will give you access to your data anywhere you have an Internet connection.
There is one more notable thing that is emerging. You will actually be more productive, whether using your Windows 8 phone or Windows 8 on your desktop, with your data syncing automatically as you move from one device to another.
Outlook.com can save and store all your work in the cloud (the new way of saying it will be stored on Microsoft’s computers) and when you take advantage of Office 365, you can use the online version of Microsoft Word, Excel and other applications to get your work done no matter what device you use. I believe this is a big part of Microsoft’s vision for their users: access, productivity and syncing. These features are the very reason you will want to have an Outlook.com email address.
Navigating the new Outlook.com is easy once you know where the menus are located. For example, if you want to navigate between your Mail and your People (formerly known as Contacts) folders, click the arrow next to the word Outlook at the top-left. This brings up the menu of Mail, People, Calendar and SkyDrive. SkyDrive is where your data is stored online. All SkyDrive users receive 7 gigabytes of free storage.
Click People and it will take you to an alphabetical listing of your contacts. Click the name of the person you want to email, click their email address and a new message window will open. Just fill in the subject line and message and click “Send.” To return to your email, simply click the arrow next to Outlook and then click “Mail.”
There are three more menu buttons located at the top-right. The first button, which is a smiley face on its side in a callout box, is how to easily engage people in instant messaging. Click the button, select a contact and begin typing your message. Press “Enter” when done and your message will be sent. To close Instant Messaging, just click the menu button again.
Next week, I’ll cover the next symbol, a sprocket, which is where you can customize many behaviors of your email such as setting up the reading pane and changing the color scheme.
Scott Lindsay actively promotes learning the computer, regardless of age, to better one’s life and circumstances and has helped thousands of people over the past 12 years to become better computer users. He can be reached at Scott@MicroScottPro.com.