Email is the single largest reason people use the Internet. Not having an email account these days is like not having a phone number. This tutorial will show you how to create a free account with, a popular email service. It will also show you how to send, reply to, and forward emails, as well as provide a few important notes on general email usage. As with all things computerized, experimentation is essential to learning and understanding how to navigate the Internet and take full advantage of the many tools it has to offer.

Starting Out

If you are reading this tutorial you should already know how to use your Internet browser, so all you have to do is click on this LINK.

Fig. 1

This will open in a new browser window. At the top of the Yahoo page you will see a link and image for Mail. Click this icon and you will be taken to the Login / Signup page. You shouldn't have an existing account, so click on the purple "Sign Up Now" button as shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2

You will now be taken to a page presenting you with two options. offers both a free email service and a paid email service. The free service is paid for by banner advertisements that appear at the top and side of the screen while using their service. This rarely is a problem for users, and since we want to keep this as simple as possible, choose the free option shown in Fig. 3. The free account from Yahoo offers a very large 100 Megabytes of space for storing your emails and attachments (attachments are pictures or files sent with an email).

Fig. 3

After clicking the button shown in Fig. 3, you will go to the registration page where you pick your email address, password, and several other options. Keep in mind that when choosing your Yahoo ID (which is also your email address), you generally want it to be something easy to remember. Many names are already taken, however, and Yahoo will tell you if your chosen name is taken when you submit this form. More on this later. For now, choose your name and then choose a password. The password must be at least 6 letters and/or numbers in length and should not be shared with anyone else.

Fig. 4

After choosing your email address and password, you will be asked to choose a security question that you will have to answer if you forget your password. There are several options in the pulldown menu. Just select one option and type the answer in the box directly below. Enter your birthday and move to the next section.

Fig. 5

Remember that the free Yahoo accounts are supported by advertisements. This next section, shown in Fig. 6, is designed to target those advertisements to your interests. You must enter your name, zip code and gender in the boxes as well as select your line of work. There is an option for "People Search Listing" that will allow other people to find you online through Yahoo's directory. This is completely optional and depends on your personal desire for privacy. The next option allows you to choose whether Yahoo's advertising partners are able to send you email promotions and special offers. Also optional, unchecking this box will reduce the amount of email you receive from marketers.

Fig. 6

One of the final steps in the registration process is entering the letters and/or numbers from the security code shown in Fig. 7. Yahoo uses this step to prevent automatic registration by specialized computer programs which can then use the email account to send spam and other unwanted solicitations. The image of the security code is warped so these computer programs cannot read or interpret it, however a human should have little trouble. The code shown in Fig. 7 is 2V2M, although the code you see will be different.

Fig. 7

Enter your security code in the box and click on the button shown at the right.. Do not panic if you receive an error message after clicking the button in Fig. 8. This can happen if a required section is left blank or incorrectly filled in. Yahoo will give you instructions to correct the error and then resubmit your application. Most errors at this point are because your email address is already in use. Simply choose a different name or select one from the optional list. Again click on the button in Fig. 8.

Fig. 8

Success! After correctly completing the form you will be rewarded with the confirmation page as shown in Fig. 9. It shows your Yahoo ID and your new email address. Write both of these down. Your ID is used to log into your Yahoo email account. Before continuing, however, you need to decide whether or not to install the Yahoo companion toolbar for you web browser. The toolbar is a strip of special buttons that allow quick access to Yahoo functions like news, your list of bookmarks, and quick access to email. Once you decide whether or not to install this optional program, click on the "Continue to Yahoo Mail" button.

Fig. 9

Figure 10 shows the Yahoo welcome page. This is the main screen for your mailbox. From here you can access your inbox, email folders, address book, calendar, and notepad. The number next to the "Inbox" link on the left of the page tells how many new, unread emails you have in your inbox. Since we have one, let's take a look. Click on the link for your inbox either at the left or in the middle of the page (shown by the circles).

Fig. 10

You are now in the inbox. This is where you will find your new email as well as messages you have already read and just not deleted or moved to a folder. Click on the subject of any message to read it. To erase a message just check the box to the left of the sender's name and click the "Delete" button. The "Spam" button is used the same way, only its function is to alert Yahoo to unsolicited email in your inbox. It is highly recommended to check-mark all spam in your inbox and submit it to Yahoo. Not only does this protect your inbox from similar spam in the future, but it protects other Yahoo users from receiving the same unwanted messages.

Since this email is from Yahoo it is safe to read. Click the subject line to open it.

Fig. 11

This general information email from Yahoo is an introduction to your new account. It is worth a quick read and can be saved in your inbox for future reference. When you are ready, click on the "Addresses" tab as shown in Fig. 12. It's time to add an email address and send a message.

Fig. 12

The address book can store hundreds of email addresses as well as phone numbers, street addresses, and specific notes about your friends. All information is kept secure on Yahoo's system to prevent this sensitive information being seen by anyone but you. Adding a new contact is simple. Click on the "Add a New Contact" link to begin.

Fig. 13

You can enter a great deal of information about your friends and contacts on this page. The most important information for emails, however, is at the top of the page shown in Fig. 14. Your friend's full name is useful when searching your address book. The "Nickname", used as a shortcut when addressing an outgoing email, should be short and easy to remember. Enter the contact's email address in the "Email" box and an alternate address below that, if they have one. The Yahoo ID is for others with a yahoo email address. If the contact you are entering has a Yahoo email account you can enter their ID here (be sure to omit the Should you choose to, there is much more information to enter below these.

Fig. 14

If you would like to enter another contact, select "Save and Add Another". When you are finished entering contacts click on the "Save" button shown in Fig. 15. You will receive a confirmation page for the last submission that looks like Fig. 16. Select the "Done" button to return to your address book.

Fig. 15

Fig. 16

Now you will be returned to the address book overview page. From here you can browse the contacts you've entered, delete entries, and create email lists of friends, family, and business contacts. For now, though, let's continue back to the mail page.

Fig. 17

From the mail page, select "Compose" as shown below.

Fig. 18

This is the message creation page. Before we begin, a few notes about the functions of "To", "Cc" and "Bcc".

The "To" field is where you enter any email address or a Yahoo nickname from your address book. The "Cc" stands for "Carbon Copy" and is functionally identical to the "To" field. With both "To" and "Cc" any person who receives the email will be able to see the email addresses of all the other persons receiving the same message. "Bcc" or "Blind Carbon Copy" is different. When you enter an email address or nickname into Bcc, the person who receives that message will not be able to see the other recipients names or email addresses. This is useful when sending a message to a large number of people who might not want their email address circulated. For this tutorial we will just use the "To" feature. Click the link circled in red on Fig. 19 to open your address book.

Fig. 19

Using the check boxes shown in Fig. 20, select which of the address choices is appropriate and then click "Insert Checked Contacts" to return to the message creation page. Keep in mind that you can select as many people from your address book as you like by checking the "To", "Cc" or "Bcc" box next to their name.

Fig. 20

Now that you have an address to receive your email you should enter a subject. Fig. 21 is merely an example, but email addresses should always be relevant to the message you are sending. Today's email boxes receive so much spam that any message not recognized immediately is usually deleted, sometimes incorrectly! After you have a subject that identifies the content of the email you can enter the body of the message. Yahoo offers many tools to help you format your message. The most common features found in word processing programs are also found here: cut, copy, paste, font, spell check, bold, italic, and underline. You can even change text color, insert different smiley faces, and add hyperlinks. These functions work by highlighting the text you want to affect and then selecting the effect to apply. For more help using basic word processing functions see the tutorial for Microsoft Word.

Fig. 21

When you are finished typing your message you can click the "Send" button at the top or bottom of the page. You can also choose if you want to keep a copy of this message in your "Sent Items" folder. This is useful if a message is lost and needs to be sent again, or for general reference later.

Fig. 22

If all the information in your email is entered correctly you will receive a confirmation page like the one in Fig. 23. From here you can click "Check Mail" to return to your inbox, "Compose" to write another message, or any of the other features of Yahoo email.

Fig. 23

Congratulations! This completes the Beginner's Tutorial for Email.