Microsoft Outlook is a great email tool that
comes with MS Office, but it's not free. If you're looking for an email with some
of the same features as Outlook but for less cost, consider creating a free
Outlook.com email account.
Outlook.com is a free web-based email service
that offers many convenient features. If you're already familiar with Microsoft
Outlook and looking for a new, inexpensive web-based email, consider using
Outlook.com. It's also a good choice for an email provider if MS Office
compatibility is important.
In this tutorial, discover the advantages of using an Outlook.com email account. Learn how to sign up to create a new Outlook.com email account with our short video and step-by-step written instructions.
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What Is Outlook.com?
With all the variations of Microsoft email
around, telling them apart can be confusing. Let's take a closer look at
Microsoft's Outlook.com email.
Outlook.com is Microsoft's free personal email
service. It's a web-based email services that integrates will with Office
applications and other popular tools.
Outlook.com has replaced Hotmail, which was an
early free online email service that had been around since 1996. All Hotmail
email users are being migrated to Outlook.com and new Hotmail accounts can't
7 Advantages of Outlook.com Free Email
As an email service, Outlook.com has a lot to
offer. Here are just some of the helpful features you can expect to find:
- Focused Inbox. Use this feature to make sure that you see your most important email messages. Messages that Outlook.com determines to be unimportant are automatically filtered to the Other tab. If you receive dozens of emails each day, this feature can help save you time. If you don't like the feature, however, you can turn it off
- Storage. Outlook.com offers users 15 GB storage for free account users. Office 365 (premium) users get additional storage for their email accounts. You can also use cloud storage in Microsoft's OneDrive to save attachments and messages.
- Outlook.com Add-ins. The many available Add-ins allow you to expand the way you use your Outlook.com email. Add-ins are available through the Microsoft Appsource or from within Outlook.com. Add-ins allow you to integrate Outlook.com with many popular tools such as Evernote, PayPal, and FedEx.
- Dark mode. Brightly lit computer and device screens can cause eye strain. With dark mode you can dim the brightness of your email background, which may help your eyes. Dark mode is super easy turn on and off using the toggle switch under Outlook.com settings.
- Automated bill pay reminders. Outlook will scan your email to identify bills you receive. To remind you it'll add the due date to your calendar and send you an email reminder two days before the bill is due. If you receive a lot of email notifications of bills, this could be very useful.
- Sweep Tool. With the Sweep tool you can quickly organize your Outlook.com email inbox by automatically moving email messages from one or more specified senders out of your inbox. Use sweep to delete email messages, archive them, or move them to a specific folder.
you're on a limited budget, Outlook.com is a free email account with lots of
top-notch features. As your needs grow, you've got the option to upgrade to
Office 365. If you're starting out, this could be the right email choice for
It's also important to realize that your free
Outlook.com email account will have ads, which could be a disadvantage for some.
To avoid ads, upgrade to the paid version of Outlook.com with Office 365.
For an in-depth comparison between Outlook.com
and Gmail (another free web-based email service), study this tutorial:
You can find a listing of even more free email providers
Your Quick Start Guide to Creating an Outlook.com Email Account
Learn how to set up your own free Outlook.com
email account in this short video.
1. How to Create a New Outlook.com Account
To create your own Outlook free email account,
follow the steps below:
Step 1. Start at the Outlook Sign Up Page
To create your Outlook.com account, go to the
URL for the Outlook sign up page.
The sign up page looks like this:
To create an Outlook account, click the Create free
Step 2. Choose an Account Name and Password
The first prompt that appears after the Outlook sign up page asks you to choose
a user name for your new Outlook.com email:
Type your desired username and click the Next button.
Be sure to choose a user name that's easy to
remember. If you'll use this email for business purposes, choose
a professional-sounding user name. You
may find your desired username has already been claimed. if this is the case,
try a variation.
Note: By default, your free Outlook.com account user name will have the
Next, you're prompted to create a password for
your new Outlook email:
Type a password for your Outlook.com account.
Click the Next button when you're
To keep your account secure, choose a password
that won't be easy to guess. This tutorial includes some good tips for creating
- Microsoft OutlookHow Protect Outlook Emails With Strong Passwords & Security SettingsLaura Spencer
Once you've set up your password, use a secure password storage tool such as Dashlane, Keeper, or LastPass to store your password. NEVER write your password on a sticky note
attached to your monitor.
Step 3. Enter Additional Details
Next, Outlook.com prompts you to enter your
Type your first and last name. Click the Next button when you've finished. You'll
be prompted to add additional details:
Select your Country/region using the down arrow to the right of the field. Select your birthdate using the down arrows next to the Month, Day, and Year fields. Click the Next button when you're done.
Step 4. Verify That You're a Person
Next, you're ask to verify that you're a person
by typing the characters from a CAPTCHA:
Type the characters from the CAPTCHA. Click the Next button when you're done. The Welcome screen
2. Set Up Your New Outlook.com Account
Once you've chosen a username and password,
Outlook.com takes you through some basic account settings. Start from the Welcome screen:
To start setting up your Outlook.com email from the Welcome screen, click the arrow to the right of your name. You'll be guided through various prompts that'll help you finish setting up your account.
Step 1. Choose a Language and Time Zone
The first prompt you'll see asks you to choose a
language and time zone:
Use the arrows to the right of the Language and Time zone files to make your choices. When you've finished making
your select, click the right arrow to move forward in the Outlook email setup process.
At any point during the setup process, you can use the left arrow to move
backwards. Use the right arrow to move forwards.
Step 2. Select a Theme
The next prompt gives you a choice between 50
Click on the theme you want to use to select it. When you've
made your choice, click the right arrow. The email theme you select defines the colors and look of
your Outlook.com email.
Step 3. Add a Signature
After you select your theme, you'll see a strip
with your selected theme at the top of the next screen. The next screen prompts
you to add an email signature:
The email signature you define here will
appear on all the emails you send from your Outlook.com account unless you turn it off.
You could type text in the box, but for a truly
professional look try adding a signature based on professional email signature template
such as those available through Envato
Elements and GraphicRiver.
To add a professional email graphic created from a template, click on the Insert Image icon. Browse to find your email signature image.
You can learn more about email signatures in
- 12+ Professional (HTML + PSD) Email Signature Templates: With Unique DesignsSean Hodge
- 9 Professional Email Signature Tips—With Best Template ExamplesLaura Spencer
- How to End a Business Email With a Professional ClosingLaura Spencer
Step 4. Add a Calendar
The next screen prompts you to add a calendar to your new Outlook
To start, choose between a Local calendar, a MLB
(Major League Baseball), or a MLS
(Major League Soccer). Click on the icon for the type of calendar you wish to
use. For this example I'll add a Major
League Soccer calendar:
Click the soccer team whose calendar you'd like to add to
your email account's calendar. For this example, I chose the FC Dallas team. When you've finished, click the right arrow to move
to the next screen. Choosing a team calendar adds their games to your calendar
Step 5. Add Outlook to Your Phone
The next screen prompts you to add your new Outlook email to
your mobile phone:
To add Outlook.com to your phone, type your number and click the Get app button. Or, click the right arrow to skip this step.
3. Open your New Outlook.Com Email account
Once you've finished setting your new Outlook
email, you'll be prompted to open your account and start using it:
Click the Let's
go button to open your new Outlook email account. Your inbox displays:
Congratulations! You've just set up your new Outlook.com email account. You can now begin using it.
Note: You may be prompted to verify your account before you can send a message.
Learn to Manage Your New Outlook Email Inbox
Now that you've learned how to create an Outlook account, you'll want to learn how to manage your new email inbox. We've got the perfect resource for that: The
Ultimate Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery. The eBook is free when you sign up for our Tuts+ business newsletter.
Are You Using Outlook's Free Email Account?
Share Your Thoughts and Tips
You've just learned about the advantages of
Microsoft Outlook.com email. You've also learned how to create your own Outlook
email. Now that you've set up your new email account, let us know what you think?
What are your favorite Outlook.com features? Share your thoughts in the