The first step to using Microsoft Outlook is setting up and configuring your email account. Whether you wish to access an email account through your workplace or one available through your internet provider you will need to know how to configure these settings in Outlook.

If you are going to be using an email address provided by your internet provider then the chances are you will be provided with a POP or IMAP account. I have explained both types below and given a description of the differences.

POPStands for Post Office Protocol and has long been used as the standard protocol for email. The protocol is currently available in version 3, hence POP3 and provides for a very straightforward retrieval and sending system. Just like a real post office, POP email is sent to a central post office (email server) which forwards the email to your individual mailbox. You then download the email from your own mailbox to your local computer. The email is downloaded and then removed from the email server. If you then attempt to access your email from another computer, any email which has already been downloaded is no longer visible to any other computer or device. There is, however, a setting you can adjust within your setup in order to leave a copy of all email on your email server so that you are able to retrieve them on additional devices, this, however, is not the default option.
IMAPStands for Internet Message Access Protocol and is fast becoming more popular than POP. IMAP works in a similar way to POP accounts however instead of your email client downloading the files to your local computer, IMAP leaves the email messages on the email server and effectively allows you to access those emails from any computer or devices which are configured to do so.When you open an email through IMAP, you are accessing that email directly from the email server.

Now that’s enough of the technical side, however, I wanted to give you an overview of the protocols so that you are then better equipped to make a decision on which type of email account will best suit your needs.

In order to configure your email account, you need to ensure you have the details required such as username and password. Your internet service provider should confirm your email address, username, password, and incoming/outgoing mail server details. If you only have your email address and password then simply go to your internet provider's website and search for the incoming mail server details. You should be able to find the information you require on the relevant web page.

Let’s now have a look at how to set up your email account in Outlook using either the POP or IMAP protocols.

  1. Double click the Microsoft Outlook icon to launch the program. (I’m using Outlook 2016). These steps assume that no email accounts are currently configured on your computer
  2. You should see the Add Account window which will allow you to enter some basic information which it will then use to try to auto-discover your email servers details

  1. Type in Your Name in the way you want it to be displayed in the From field of your emails (best to use correct uppercase and lowercase spelling)
  2. Now enter the Email Address you have been provided
  3. Enter the Password provided for your email account and type it again to confirm
  4. Click Next
  5. Outlook will now attempt to identify your email server settings for you, you may receive a message relating to information being exchanged with the email server. If you do select Yes to continue.

  1. You may receive a secondary notice asking you to Allow the website to configure your email account, again just click Allow to continue
  2. If the autodiscovery process is successful, you will see a confirmation message

  1. By default, when using the auto-discovery service, your email account will automatically be set up using the IMAP protocol. If you wish to change this or any other details for your account, tick the box for Change account settings. I generally go into the Change account settings area and just double-check everything is how I would like it, especially the Your Name field is showing my name the way I prefer it as auto-discovery does often default this setting to be your email address.
  2. If you are happy then click Finish
  3. Now return and open Microsoft Outlook and it should open the program
  4. Click the Send/Receive All Folders button from the Home tab to check for new email

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