How to block emails and other common email questions answered
Having an email address is your gateway to the online world. It allows you to keep in touch with family and friends, book travel online, access government services and even do your banking online.
Even though many of us use email every day , there may be some features you may not know about. In this article, we set out to answer commonquestions about email, from how to set up email on your smartphone or tablet to how to block unwanted contacts.
While we have included instructions for the more popular email providers like Gmail, Outlook.com and Hotmail, they should be similar to most other email providers.
In this article:
- How to block emails
- What does Cc mean?
- What does Bcc mean?
- How to create folders to organise your inbox
- How to stop emails going to your junk or spam folder
- How to save contacts
- Are email addresses case sensitive?
- How to attach a file or image
- How to set up email on your smartphone or tablet
- How to unsubscribe
- How to change your password
How to block emails
If for whatever reason you can’t unsubscribe from a newsletter or promotional email, you can block the sender to stop receiving their emails. This also applies to unwanted emails sent to you by individuals.
Gmail: block or unsubscribe from emails
Outlook.com and Hotmail: How to block emails or mark emails as junk
What does Cc mean?
Cc stands for carbon copy. It’s very similar to its offline meaning where you make a copy of something typed or written (with carbon paper). In the online world, when you Cc someone, they receive a copy of the same email as the people in the To field.
Let’s say you and a friend, let’s call her Laura, are looking for accommodation for an upcoming holiday. You send an email to a holiday rental agency to enquire about a property on their website, but you also want to keep Laura updated with places you’re considering. You can do this by adding the holiday rental agency’s email address in the To field and Laura’s email address in the Cc field.
When you Cc someone in an email, other people on the same email can see their email address too.
What does Bcc mean?
Bcc stands for blind carbon copy. Much like Cc, you are sending a copy of the email to other people, the difference being that any email address in the Bcc field is hidden from everyone else on the email except you, the sender.
Using the example above, let’s say you email the holiday rental agency, but you don’t want them to know anybody else is on the email. You would add the rental agency’s email address in the To field and Bcc your friend Laura so that she’s still across your accommodation search. That way, she can see you’ve emailed the rental agency, but the agency can’t see that you have included anyone else on the email.
Note that when the agency replies to you, Laura will not receive their email because her email address is hidden in the Bcc field.
Bcc is handy for when you want to send an email to a group of people and want to keep the email addresses private from the other recipients.
How to create folders to organise your inbox
Setting up folders in your inbox is a great way to get organised. Just like you might organise physical documents in a filing cabinet, you can use folders in your inbox to organise your emails in a way that makes sense to you.
This reduces any clutter in your inbox and makes it easier to locate important emails when you need them. For example, if you receive paperless bills, you can set up a folder for bills to be paid, and another for bills that have been paid.
Here’s how you can set up folders, or ‘labels’ as Gmail refers to them, in your inbox:
Outlook.com and Hotmail: how to create a folder
How to stop emails going to your junk or spam folder
Email providers try their best to filter spam emails, but sometimes they don’t get it right. Emails from friends or organisations you want to hear from can occasionally end up in your junk or spam folder, so remember to check this folder every so often. The good news is there are a couple of ways to make sure the right emails land in your inbox:
- Save your contacts, whether they be friends, family or even organisations who send regular newsletters you want to receive.
- If something has gone to your junk or spam folder by mistake, there should be an option at the very top of the email to mark it safe. For example, in Gmail you can select ‘Not spam’ and in Hotmail and Outlook.com, you can select, ‘It’s not junk’. Only do this for emails from senders you trust.
How to save contacts
You can save your contacts by either selecting their name in an email or by manually entering their details in your contacts list. When you start typing the first few letters of your contact in the To field of a new email, their name automatically appears for you to select. Before sending your email, always check you’ve selected the right contact as sometimes people with multiple email addresses or contacts with similar names can also be listed when you begin typing your contact’s name in.
Outlook.com and Hotmail: How to add a contact
Are email addresses case sensitive?
In short, no. It’s best to use lower case letters to make it easier to read, however, an email will still reach its intended recipient if you enter the email address in capitals or lower case. For example, your message will still be delivered to the same recipient whether you type their email address as firstname.lastname@example.org or SuzietUE@tada.com. As long as you have spelt the email address correctly, it doesn’t matter whether you use upper or lower case.
How to attach a file or image
You can send photos or files to other people by attaching them to your email. Here’s how:
Gmail: how to send attachments
Outlook.com and Hotmail: how to add pictures or attach files
How to set up email on your smartphone or tablet
Having access to your emails on your smartphone or tablet can be quite handy. It saves you having to print things out like airplane tickets or vouchers, for example.
iPhone or iPad: how to set up email on your iPhone or iPad
How to unsubscribe
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of promotional emails in your inbox, you can put a stop to the ones you no longer want to receive by unsubscribing from a company’s mailing list. There are a couple of ways you can do this:
- Look for the Unsubscribe link at the very bottom of an email, normally in the footer.
- Some email providers give you the option to Unsubscribe at the top of the reading pane.
How to change your password
You should change your password if you think your account has been hacked, or if you need to make yours a more secure password. For tips on how to create strong, unique passwords, see our free short course.
Gmail: how to change or reset your password
Outlook.com and Hotmail: how to change your password
Learn how to manage your passwords with a password manager