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Outlook will deliver your incoming email messages from all email accounts to your Inbox (Figure 6.7).

You can read any email message it contains either by using the Reading pane or by opening the message in a Message form.

Figure 3.7Figure 6.7 Email messages listed in the Inbox.

To read an email message:

  1. Open the Inbox folder and click the email message to select it.

  2. If the Reading pane isn't currently displayed, click the Reading Pane button on the Advanced toolbar or choose View > Reading Pane and select either Right or Bottom depending on your preference. You can then view the selected message in this pane, without having to open it (Figure 6.8).

  3. or

    Double-click the message, or use one of the other methods for opening an item described in "To open an item" in Chapter 3. The message will be displayed in a Message form (Figure 6.9).

    Figure 6.8Figure 6.8 Reading a message in the Reading pane.

    Figure 6.9Figure 6.9 Reading a message in the Message form.


In the Outlook window, an unread message is marked with bold formatting (Figure 6.10). You can change the marking of a message by selecting it and choosing Edit > Mark As Read or Edit > Mark As Unread, or you can choose Edit > Mark All As Read to remove the bold marking from all messages in the folder.

Figure 6.10Figure 6.10 Unread messages appear in bold.

If you've chosen Word as your email editor, a message will be opened in Word rather than in the Outlook Message form (unless the message is in HTML format). See "Email editors and formats," later in the chapter.

If you want to flag a message for special attention, open the message and click the Flag For Follow Up button on the form's toolbar. Then define the flag in the Flag For Follow Up dialog box (Figure 6.11).

Figure 6.11Figure 6.11 The Flag For Follow Up dialog box.

You can hide or show the message header in the Message form (Figure 6.12) by choosing View > Message Header. When you hide the header, only the From and Sent fields are shown.

Figure 6.12Figure 6.12 The header removed from the message form.

You can set other options for a message by opening the message in a form and choosing View > Options to open the Message Options dialog box (Figure 6.13). This dialog box also lets you view the message's Internet headers, which show technical information on the sending and routing of the message. Often, you can determine the true sender of a message by viewing the header; for example, determining if a message is from someone you know or from a spammer (someone who sends unsolicited junk mail).

Figure 6.13Figure 6.13 The Message Options dialog box for an incoming message in the Inbox.

To open a file attachment included in an email message:

  1. View the message in the Reading pane or open it in a form, and double-click the icon for the file attachment (Figure 6.14).

  2. or

    In the Inbox, right-click on the message, choose View Attachments, and choose the name of the attachment from the submenu (Figure 6.15).

    Figure 6.14Figure 6.14 Double-clicking a file attachment icon to open the file.

    Figure 6.15Figure 6.15 Opening a file attachment by using the drop-down menu.

  3. If Outlook displays the Opening Mail Attachment dialog box (Figure 6.16), select Open and click the OK button.

  4. Figure 6.16Figure 6.16 Choosing to open a file attachment in the Opening Mail Attachment dialog box.

    The file attachment will then be opened in the appropriate program. For example, if you have Microsoft Word installed, a file attachment with the .doc extension will be opened in Word.


Don't open a file attachment in a message from an unknown source! Certain types of attachments can contain viruses, and opening an attachment might allow a virus to harm your computer.

Outlook blocks certain types of attachments, preventing you from opening them. Outlook refers to these as Level 1 Attachments. You can find a list of these attachment types by opening Help and opening the following Help document from the Table of Contents: Security and Privacy\Security\Attachment file types blocked by Outlook. If you need access to a particular blocked attachment, export the message to Outlook Express and read it there, or forward it to a Web-based email account such as Hotmail, where you will be able to download the attachment.

Exchange Server supports Level 2 attachments, which Outlook does not allow you to open directly, but which you can save to disk from Outlook in order to open. An Exchange Server administrator must configure Level 2 attachments on the Exchange Server—you cannot control these attachment types from Outlook. If you remove attachment types from the Level 1 list (see previous tips), Outlook treats them as Level 2 attachments.

To save a file attachment in a disk file:

  1. In the Outlook window, select the message that has the attachment you want to save.

  2. Choose File > Save Attachments, and then from the submenu choose the name of the individual attachment you want to save (Figure 6.17), or choose All Attachments to save all in one step.

  3. In the Save Attachment dialog box (Figure 6.18), select the disk location where you want to save the file.

  4. If you wish, you can change the name of the file by typing a new name in the File Name text box.

  5. Figure 6.17Figure 6.17 Saving the Chapter 2.doc file attachment.

    Figure 6.18Figure 6.18 Selecting a disk location for a file attachment in the Save Attachment dialog box.

  6. Click the Save button.


If a message has more than one file attachment, you can save several attachments at once by choosing File > Save Attachments > All Attachments in step 2 and then selecting the specific attachments you want to save in the Save All Attachments dialog box (Figure 6.19).

Figure 6.19Figure 6.19 The Save All Attachments dialog box.

If a message is open in a form, you can save one or more attachments by choosing File > Save Attachments.

If a message is displayed in the Reading pane or opened in a form, you can save a single file attachment by right-clicking the attachment's icon and choosing Save As from the pop-up menu (Figure 6.20).

Figure 6.20Figure 6.20 Saving an attachment from a pop-up menu.

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