Using the Mail Application in Windows 8

Till date, we had to separately install an e-mail client like Windows Live Mail or Outlook.

This will change with Windows 8. Microsoft has bundled an e-mail client along with Windows 8.

Naturally, it is designed based on the Modern-styled user interface. Even the name is kept simple – Mail.

Mail can be used to manage multiple mail accounts from various services providers.

Despite providing a very simple interface, it provides most of the features that a robust client should have.

Launch the app by clicking on its app tile in the Start Screen. If you launched Mail app for the first time, then you will see nothing much on the main screen. You will need to add a mail account.

Add an Account

Summon the Settings Charm to add a mail account, and click on “Add an Account”. It will list the service providers that Mail app currently supports.

Select a mail service whose account you want to add. The app will then ask you to enter the credentials of the selected service.

Once the credentials are authenticated, Mail fetches list of folders as well as mails from your account, and makes its interface ready for use.

Main Screen

The main interface has 3 panes.

  • First pane lists the mail accounts, and folders of the selected mail account. If you have configured multiple mail accounts, then you can switch from one mail account to another in this pane.
  • Second pane lists the mails included in the selected folder. You can select multiple mails by right-clicking on them, in order to move, delete, or mark them unread.
  • Third pane displays the content of the selected mail. Besides that, it gives you buttons to compose a new mail, reply to the open mail, and delete the open mail.

The context menu, summoned by right-clicking anywhere in the screen, provides options like

  • moving mails to another folder
  • pin a folder to Start Screen
  • mark mails as unread
  • manually sync the mail to check for new mails

Compose New Mail

Click on the Plus button on the main screen to compose a new mail. The resulting interface looks like this.

In the left pane, you can

  • set the mail account from which to send the mail
  • add recipients (main, cc and bcc)
  • set priority of the mail
  • add attachments

In the right pane, you write the subject and body of the mail. It also hosts two buttons, first to send mail, and second to save the mail in drafts or delete it.

The context menu provides rich text formatting options like customizing font face, bold, italic underline, font color, highlighting text, adding emoticons, etc.

Search Charm

Like a true Modern-styled app, Mail implements Windows 8’s Search Charm to provide users search functionality. You can search for mails in the current folder.

Searching “amazon” gave me 5 mails in the inbox of Google mail account.

Devices Charm

Mail makes good use of Devices Charm. You can send a mail for printing, or to a secondary (maybe, huge) screen, from within the Mail app.

Summon Devices Charm, which will list the devices to which Mail can send something.

I chose OneNote, which acts as a printer. The charm then displays options to customize the printing, like changing the orientation, setting the paper size, etc. Click Print to send the mail for printing.

Settings Charm

Mail displays its account settings in Settings Charm. Through this charm, you can add a new mail account, and manage existing accounts.

Open Settings Charm, and select an existing account.

Settings Charm presents your customization options for the selected account, like

  • Change the displayed account name
  • Set mailbox size for the past mails
  • Set the items to sync – mail, contact and/or calendar entries
  • Toggle automatic downloading of images
  • Change the account credentials
  • Turn on or off notifications for this account
  • Remove the account from Mail app

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