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Your e-mail program will mostly like have a line of menu commands such as file, edit, view, message, tools and help. It will also have some sort of e-mail toolbar with icons. These icons like all icons in all programs are a one click shortcut to do a specific function.

You can change the way the text appears on the toolbar, the size of the icons, and you can change the toolbar to display the buttons you use most.

The following is a general list of e-mail icons you can probably choose to add or not add depending on your e-mail customization ability of your e-mail program.

  • Create Mail/New Message Icon - when you click on this icon - this opens a blank new e-mail for you to use.

  • Reply/Answer Icon - when you click on this icon - this opens a reply e-mail message back to the person who sent you an e-mail. However some SPAM e-mails or mail lists specifically state that you cannot use your reply function as they are automated e-mails.

  • Reply to All Icon - when you click on this icon, and you have received an e-mail that was sent to you and several other people, you can reply to everyone at once not just the sender of the e-mail. Again this function will not work for automated e-mails that you receive.

  • Forward Icon - when you click on this icon, a window will open and let you type in who you would like to forward the e-mail you just received to someone else. Please remember that chain e-mails, (the ones that say you must pass this on to 10 people in the next 5 minutes or you will have bad luck), are not true and inappropriate to pass on to your friends.

  • Print Icon - when you click on this icon, you will be able to print your e-mail message.

  • Address Book Icon - when you click on this icon, you can either use addresses from your address book to put into your e-mail or you can change or add e-mail addresses in your e-mail address book.

  • Paper Clip Icon - when you click on this icon, while you are writing a new e-mail message, a window will open and let you "attach a copy" of the file you select from your hard drive to send in addition to the e-mail message. Remember that many times the person receiving the e-mail message may not even open the attachment as that is a way viruses get spread. Use attachments sparingly and only when necessary. Large files will take forever to send and receive as well, so if you do use the attachment function try to use a compression program like Winzip. The person receiving the e-mail will also have to have an uncompression program to see the files after they are detached or downloaded.

  • Send Icon - when you click on this icon, you will actually be sending the e-mail you just composed, so this should be the last function you do with an e-mail.

  • Delete Icon - when you click on this icon, you will delete your e-mail. Depending on your e-mail program options, they may only be moved into a trash folder for so many days or may be completely deleted when you close your e-mail program.

  • Undelete Icon - when you click on this icon, you can undelete the e-mail you just deleted. However if you close your e-mail program, this will for the most part not retrieve a deleted e-mail, again depending on your e-mail program options.

There are more icons and functions within each e-mail programs but the above list are the most generally used.

You will also see icons sometimes preceding e-mails that you receive, that have been customized by your options in your own e-mail program or the options in the e-mail programs of the person who sent you the e-mail. Some common ones are as follows:

  • Paperclip - e-mail you received has an attachment.

  • Red Exclamation Mark - e-mail you received has a high priority by the sender.

  • Arrow point down - e-mail you received has a low priority by the sender.

  • Open Envelope - e-mail you received has been read.

  • Closed Envelope - e-mail you received has not been opened or read.

There are many more that you may see in your e-mail program, but again these are the most general for all e-mail programs.


See ResourceRecommendations. Feel free to add additional resources to these lists, but please follow the guidelines on ResourceRecommendations including ResourceRecommendations#Guidelines_for_Rating_Resources.


  • () ValHaring - 10 Aug 2002
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