Free Email

Instructions for Yahoo!

1. What is Email?

Email (electronic mail) is simply messages sent electronically from one person to another via computers, as long as both parties have email accounts. Such messages are usually text but can include images, either embedded within the text or attached as files. These messages can be sent to one person or to multiple persons, which enables email lists or listservs. Unfortunately it also enables spam.

The sender and all recipients must have their own email accounts which provide them an email “address.”  Such an address usually consists of an email identity such as, sarahj followed by a network location, Thus Sarah Jane’s email address could be Email is not case sensitive so it does not require capital letters. Some people like to have their email address on their business cards and will add capital letters to make it look nicer.

There are several companies that still offer free email accounts; Yahoo, MSN, Excite, Juno, Lycos and M@il, are examples. The library does not recommend any one over another, but for the purposes of this class and time constraints we are providing specific instruction on only one of them, one that the instructor has had at least some personal experience with. You are not obligated to keep the email account you signed up for, if not used for more than six months, plus an additional two months for each year you held the account, Yahoo will deactivate and remove it.

2. How to signup for a free email account.

If you choose Yahoo for your email then type in the address line of your Internet browser. These days you usually do not need to bother typing the http:// or even the www. It’s a shortcut that has made typing web address much easier.

Once you enter the address hit the enter key. You should see an image similar to this:

new account sign up box

Click once on the Mail or Yahoo! Mail button (on either the far right or far left of the screen).


You should now see their sign-in form for current yahoo users (see example on right).  Notice the  “Create New Account” button at the bottom, click on it to sign up for a new account. But Wait! Once you click this button you will have a limited amount of time to fill out the application form. So to give yourself enough time to fill out the printed copy of the application form before you click this button. This way you can think about your answers without worrying about how much time has passed.

You should now see the sign-up form (an example is below) which asks you a mixture of questions, such as the email address you hope to get, the password you hope to use (a minimum of 6 characters but more is safer), your name, gender, etc. You must fill out all the required fields (those are marked with an asterisk *).

NOTE: You MUST give an age greater then 18 years. Otherwise Yahoo will ask for an adult to co-sign and provide a credit card (to prove an adult is involved).




new form 2-2013





The most difficult part of this process is figuring out a unique ID (email address) that has not already been used. Remember that there are millions of people with email accounts, so the obvious choices are probably already taken.  Whatever you decide try to create one that isn’t too hard to remember or type. The easiest method is to add numbers to your name combined with a favorite word. Adding a number that has significance would be easier to remember. Ex. Yarn97459.

Notice that once you enter an email choice and then move to the next text box, Yahoo will test your your choice to see if that email address is available.

NOTE: Your password cannot be the same as your ID. Your password can include both upper or lower case, but you MUST remember to type it the same way each time.  Passwords in Yahoo! have to be at least 6 characters or more.

TIP: You cannot use spaces in an email address. You can use the underscore character “_” but it is hard to see and could confuse recipients of your email.  For example, with  ‘dolores_k’  the underline is difficult to see once it is in blue and underlined –


If you do not already have another email account skip the ‘Alternate Email’ box. If this box is filled in, Yahoo will send your password to that account instead of asking you to answer your security questions.  Which will make it almost impossible to retrieve your account should you forget your password.  I believe Yahoo assumes your phone number will accept text messages.

new security quesition box

Yahoo now requires that you set up two (2) security questions. One nice change is that you can now ccreate your own security question.  Keep in mind you need to be able to answer your security question consistently.  Below are two images showing some of the questions available.  To pick a one of Yahoo’s suggestions click on the question, to create your own unique ‘question’ click on the line that says “Type your question here,”  you can then type a completely unique and meaningful question that only you can answer.
Security Question 1

new - security question 2

Security Question 2
new - security question 2

You will also notice a weirdly written word that you are to decipher and type into a box above the yellow ‘Done’ box.  It is purposely difficult to read so that only a real human (as opposed to an automated program) can figure it out.  This is to make it more difficult for spammers who try to sign up for hundreds of email accounts at a time.  Don’t worry, if you get it wrong it will let you try again with a new one.

Once you have filled out all the fields you may click on the “Done” button at the bottom of the form.  If everything worked (and Yahoo! didn’t time you out for being too slow), you will now get a confirmation page.  Please print this page for your records, we will not charge you for this print.

Now click the button at the bottom of your confirmation page.  You will then be directed to your new email account.

 3. How to check for new email messages.

When you first enter your email account all new messages should show.  New messages which have not been read yet will be indicated by a number in parens  () by the Inbox button. The example below shows that there is one unread messages available.  To open your new email click anywhere on that email (sender’s name is to the left, subject line will be in the middle).

new first email

4. How to sign off.

Whew!  Congratulations!  You have a new email account!  In the next class we will actually start to use your new email accounts.  But before you leave today you should log out of your account. Sign off, sign out, log out, or log off are all phrases that mean the same thing. It means you will securely exit the email program so that no one else can access your personal email. To do this look at the top right of your browser (look in the upper right of the example above).  You should see your name and if you move your mouse over it a drop down box that includes the “Sign Out’ option will appear.   new signout


Click on the ‘Sign Out’ link (see example on the right). You should now be taken back to the Yahoo start page. To be completely secure when using a public computer also close the web browser.  Don’t panic if you forget to do so today, our computers are set to clear all memory of your activity when you press the logout button at the upper right of your screen.  This ensures your privacy when the computer is assigned to the next user.



5. How to sign in.

new account sign up box

Now that you have an account you should practice logging in. This means you will go back to the Yahoo email start page at, the screen should look like what we first started out with  (look under section 3).  Click on the ‘Yahoo! Mail’ or ‘Mail’ button that has the image of an envelope on it (usually seen in the upper right of the page). Since you now have an account type in your user name and password that you set up earlier. Remember that passwords are case sensitive. Once you’ve done that press the yellow ‘Sign In’ button.

You should now be in your Yahoo email account.


6. How to write and send an email.

compose buttonClick on the ‘Compose’ button , then type in the To: box the following email address:  – see the example below.

Type in the ‘Subject:’ box an appropriate hint of the contents. Often this is your only chance to let the recipient know what the email is about before they assume the message is spam and hit the delete button. Type a short message in the largest box.

new new message

Press the Send button.  Yahoo! will return you to your main mail box screen.

To check to see if your email was really sent, click on your ‘Sent’ folder, if your email is listed it was sent.   Hopefully if the message failed to arrive you will get a message telling you so.

7. How to save email drafts.

Compose another email but address it to yourself (i.e. your new email address). Instead of sending it press the “Save Draft” button. See example above.  – We will return to your draft message in a few minutes.

8. How to read an email.

Look at your email list.  You will probably have a new email from Yahoo! and hopefully one from me once I reply to the email you sent me.  Click on the ‘Welcome to Yahoo!, you can now click anywhere on that line and it will the email so you can read it.

You are doing great! Now if you see an email from ‘Yahoo!’, ‘Dolores’ or ‘, click on it.

your new inbox

You should now have an opened email that may look like this:

reading email screen

Notice that you have a number of options: you can delete the message, reply to it (the left leaning arrow), reply to all (the shadowed arrow pointing to the left), forward it to someone else (the arrow pointing to the right), or even tell Yahoo that it is spam. You can also move your emails into subject folders. Some folders are standard in Yahoo (and most other email services), such as Inbox, Sent, Draft, Spam, and Trash. The Trash folder is where your deleted emails go and this gives you one last chance to change your mind before deleting them forever. If these standard folders don’t meet your all your needs you have the option of creating more.

9. How to reply to messages.

So let’s learn another feature! After opening and reading the email from me, click on the Reply button. You should now see something like this:

reply to email

Notice how your previous message is still there with space for you to type at the top. This way if your recipient forgets what was said earlier they can scroll down the screen to read the prior messages.  The subject line has been altered with the addition of ‘Re:’ to indicate that this is a reply to an original message.

10. How to add an attachment and send it.

O.k., let’s go back and open the email you saved as a draft.  To do this find your Draft folder and click on it, then click on the draft message you saved earlier.  You should now see:

new draft message

Click on the Attach Files link (look for the image of a paperclip and click on it).

A file directory for your computer will now pop up.  Hopefully I have already loaded a couple of files onto the ‘Desktop’ of your computer.  Look for ‘Desktop’ and then for two images with the word loon in their names.  Click on one of them and then click on the ‘open’ button.

find your files

open file


To tell whether it has worked for you look to see if the loon1.jpg file now shows up on your email like this example:
Go ahead and click the Send button.  composed msg with attachment


11. How to open, read and save an attachment.

Wait a little bit and then check your email by either clicking the inbox (see it on the left) or by refreshing your browser.


email list showing one with attachment

If your new email has arrived please click on it.  You should then see something like the following:
msg w attachment

NOTE: Some email systems will not accept messages over a certain size. Keep this in mind if you need to send especially large pictures or documents, or if you plan to attach several to one email message.

Click on the ‘Show images’ button that should be on the right side.  You may now either click on ‘Slideshow’ to see a larger version of the picture or save the image to your image

If using Yahoo at home you can save attachments to your computer or to a USB memory stick or card. At the library you are can only download to the ‘Desktop.’  We will practice doing this if there is time.  Once you click on ‘Save to Computer’ you will see the following menu:

find your files

12. How to print - actions menu

The best way to print is from within Yahoo (rather than the browser print command) and this method will produce a much cleaner and cheaper printout (i.e. less wasted pages). Click on the ‘actions’ button and choose “Print Message’ from the drop down menu.  Note: Some emails services just show a small picture of a printer.
Congratulations, you now know how to use email!  There are of course additional features to available for your use such an address book (called ‘Contacts’ by Yahoo!), using the calendar, or setting advanced organizing options, messenger, storing photos, and more.

For homework go through the Yahoo! Tutorials –, it is an excellent review and will show some advanced features we did not cover in this class.

If you have further questions after this class be sure and check Yahoo’s Help section.

Glossaries to Internet Terms