Using Outlook Express -Tutorials And Tips

Outlook Express is a free email client that is common on Windows XP.

Outlook Express is installed as part of Internet explorer versions 4.0 to 6.

There is no separate download for outlook express and upgrades were part of the browser upgrade.

Internet explorer (IE 7) removed this linkage and so upgrading to newer versions of Internet explorer does not upgrade Outlook Express.

Outlook Express is not included or supported on windows vista,windows 7, 8 or 10.

Microsoft introduced Windows Mail, which became Windows Live Mail as a replacement for outlook express .

If you move from XP  then you will need to move to a new email client line Windows live Mail.See- How to Transfer Email to Another Computer

Windows Live Mail  is part of Microsoft’s Live Program which essentially is an effort to support traditional Desktop Applications on Web Servers which paves the way for software as a service.

When configuring an email account in Windows Live mail you will need to decide which access protocol to use. This article-Understanding Email protocols SMTP, POP3, IMAP4

Outlook express is a desktop based client but other types are available see Choosing an Email Client

Related Articles and Resources:

Outlook Express Tips.

Quickly sending/receiving new mail.

Keyboard shortcut: Type Ctrl+M.

Reply to message

Keyboard shortcut: Type Ctrl+R.

Forward a message

Keyboard shortcut: Type Ctrl+F.

quick refresh of message and news headers

Keyboard shortcut: Type F5

Go to next unread mail message.

Keyboard shortcut: Type Ctrl+U

Open go to folder window to go to another folder.

Keyboard shortcut: Type Ctrl+Y

Quickly viewing your Inbox.

Keyboard shortcut: Type Ctrl + I.

Quickly opening the address Book

Keyboard shortcut: Type CRTL+shift+B

A complete list of  keyboard shortcuts is available on outlook express help.

Receiving HTML Email

To receive HTML email you need to make sure that the
read all messages in plain text
option is not selected.

  • Go to Tools>Options

  • Select Read Tab

  • Uncheck the read all messages in plain text

Sending HTML Email

To send HTML email

  • Go to Tools>Options

  • Select Send Tab

  • Enable the HTML option under Mail Sending

Change the main window Layout

Is Outlook Express not displaying a status bar or a
folder list or is it displaying one and you want to remove it.

  1. Click view from main menu.

  2. Select Layout.

  3. Check or uncheck the appropriate check boxes- if your
    not sure what they do click apply and the main window will

  4. when finished click OK.

Sending a Web page Link.

Instead of sending a whole page to someone through email you can just send a link. The recipient then just needs to click the link and he page will be displayed in his default web browser.

In Internet Explorer  click the Mail icon button from the toolbar
and select send link.

Sending the Entire Web Page Contents

Instead of sending a link to someone through email you
can send the whole page? Doing this will send the entire web page to the recipient.

The web page could be large and in addition the users email client may have HTML disabled or not supported and hence the send link method is preferred.

In Internet Explorer  click the Mail icon button from the toolbar
and select send page.

To print e-mail messages

  1. Open the folder to view its contents.

  2. Then click on the message that you want to print.

  3. Press Ctrl-P, or click the print icon or right click
    and select print to print that message.

If you are printing from the sent items folder you can print multiple messages at the same time.

You can select all of the messages by selecting the first one, and then holding the Shift key and then click on the last message to select all of the messages.

This doesn’t appear to work in other folders. Also use of the Ctrl key is not supported.

Marking a message as Read.

To mark a message as read, press Ctrl + Enter.

Saving the background of a message as stationary.

If you received an email message that has a background
you like, you can easily make it your stationary. To do this:

  • Open the File menu.

  • Click Save as Stationary.

Adding a Contact Quickly to the Address Book

If you receive an email from some and want to quickly add them as a contact to your address book.

  1. In the message view main window (their is no need to open the message) right click the message and select add sender to address book.


If you have opened the message

Place the cursor over the name in the from field (top of message above  date) and right click and select add to address book. A contact window will open allowing you to modify
the contact properties, click ok when done.

Quickly Checking for new mail

To quickly check if you have new mail, look at the Taskbar ( bottom of right hand of screen ) for the envelope icon. If
it’s there — you have new mail.

Configure when Outlook Express Checks for new Mail.

You can change when Outlook Express automatically
check for new mail. Open the Tools menu.

  • Tools
  • Click Options.
  • Click the General tab
  • Under send/receive messages, check the “Check for
    new messages every
    ” box, and then select your time interval.

    Click OK .

Viewing the message source.

This is similar to view source in Internet Explorer.
It is very useful for displaying the source HTML of HTML messages.

To view the message source either highlight the message and press Ctrl+ F3 or with the message open press Ctrl + F3.

Quickly viewing your Inbox.

To quickly return to your Inbox press Ctrl + I.

To Flag a Mail or news message for follow up

You can flag it for later reference. This is useful if you need reply to the message but at a later date or if it contains
information that you may need later.

Once flagged you can

  • Use custom views to view the flagged messages

  • Use search function to find them.

  • You can sort all flagged messages and group them
    together by clicking the flag icon in the header of the flag column.

To Flag a message

Providing you are showing the flag column just click next to the message under the flag column (shown with red circle)

outlook express flag message follow up-1

A flag then appears next to the message as shown below:

outlook express flag message follow up-2



In the main window, select the message you want to flag and from the Message menu, click Flag Message.

To Remove a Flag from a message In the main window, click in the flag column next to the message you want to flag.


In the main window, select the message you want to flag and from the Message menu, click Flag Message.

Additional Tips:

You can even define a rule that flags certain messages when they are received.

To move or copy a message to another folder

In the message list, select the message you want to
move or copy.

Right click and select either Move to Folder or Copy to Folder,
and then select the destination folder.

Additional Tips:

  • You can move multiple messages by using the shift
    and/or Ctrl key .

  • you can use message rules to move messages

  • You can use the find function to find a message or
    group of messages and then copy or move.

To view or save  file attachments

When a message has a file attached to it, a paper clip is displayed next to it in the message list.

In the preview pane, click the paper clip icon in the message header, and then click the file name select or select Save
(strongly recommended) .


At the top of the message window in the message header- either right click the file attachment icon to save the attachment (strongly recommended) or double-click it to open the file attachment.

Leave a copy of a message on the server

If you access your email mailbox using multiple clients you need to ensure that the clients don’t remove the email
message from the server.

This is the default configuration for POP3 email. To get outlook express to leave a copy of the message on the server then:

  1. Go to tools>account>mail.

  2. select the email account from the list and click

  3. Click the advanced tab.

  4. Under delivery tick the box leave a copy of the
    message on server.

  5. You may want to optionally clear out old messages by
    enabling the remove messages after x days box and setting the number of days.

Hyperlinks not working in Outlook Express.

This is usually caused by Internet explorer not being configured as the default browser.

To set Internet Explorer to be the default Internet Browser, follow these steps:

  1. Open  Internet Explorer and click on tools.
  2. Select Internet options and click the programs tab
  3. Make sure that the Internet Explorer should check to
    see if it is the default
    check box is selected, click Apply, and then click OK
  4. Open Internet Explorer, and you receive the following prompt:
  5. Internet Explorer is not currently your default
    browser. Do you wish to make it the default?

see for more details.

Requesting Read Receipts

If you need to know that a message has been received  then you can configure Outlook Express to request notification. This can be configured for individual messages or for all messages.

To request a receipt for individual messages In the new message window:

1.Tools menu Request Read Receipt

To request a receipt for all messages

  1. Tools menu
  2. Click options
  3. Click the Receipts tab
  4.  Select Request Read ReceiptWhether or not you receive a notification depends on the the settings and actions of the message recipient. Message recipients can choose not to send read receipts, even when they are requested.
Address Auto Complete

If like me you don’t like typing then why not get Outlook Express to do it for you. To turn it on

  1. Click Tools menu
  2. Click Options.
  3. Select the send Tab
  4. Select Automatically Complete email address when composing.

The next time you start typing in an email address Outlook Express will try to complete the address for you by searching your address book for a match.

Quickly sort message by date, sender etc

If you look at the column headers in the message window you will see something like the screenshot below:

outlook express message columns

To change the columns displayed in the message list

  1. On the View menu, click Columns.
  2. To add/remove a column, click or clear the check box next to the
    column name, or select the column name and click show or Hide.
  3. To change the order in which columns appear, select a column name, and then click Move Up or Move Down.