How to open an email

You've got mail! What are we waiting for, let's open it up and see what's inside...

Read on to understand how to open an email.

This guide uses the example of opening an email with a Gmail account — one of the most popular email account providers, although other email applications will follow very similar steps.

You’ll need:
  • a computer connected to the internet
  • a Gmail account ready to send and receive emails.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to open an email
Step one: Log into your Gmail account so that you are on the dashboard (main page) of your account.
Step two: Go to your inbox.
Step three: The inbox shows a list of emails received, arranged in columns. The one towards the left shows who the email is from, the one in the centre gives the subject of each email, and you’ll find the time and date when each one was received in the right-hand column. If you haven’t opened and read an email, this information will appear as bold text in the list. Once you’ve opened and read the email and then returned to the inbox, the read email will be displayed in normal, non-bold text.
Gmail now categorises your emails into 'Primary' (what it deems to be important), 'Social' (updates from your social media accounts) and 'Promotions' (promotional emails from brands and companies). If you are expecting an email and it doesn't appear in your primary tab, do check the other tabs in case it has been incorrectly categorised by Gmail. 
Step four: Once you’ve identified an email you wish to open, click on the line that shows the information about that email.
Step five: You can now read the content of the email and reply if you wish by clicking on the arrow at the top right hand of the email for reply or by clicking Reply underneath the message.
Step six: When you’ve finished reading your email, click back to inbox icon to close the email and go back to the list of emails in your inbox.
See how it all works, below...
Karen Maxwell is a Digital Unite tutor and assessor/trainer of computer accessibility.