Decide what your email address will be.
Gather the 5 hard to remember bits of data
Input into Mail program.
Use Add Sender to grow your Address Book.
Download Letterbox to better use screen space.
How Do I Set Up My Email in Apple Mail?Categories: How do I...?, Getting Started
OK, you skipped the part in setting up where you were asked for your email info, or you just want a fresh start with the Mail program. No problem. We can get you started with your email now.
Let's start with your email address. Do you already have one or are you going to start from scratch? You can have several email accounts and manage them together in Mail. If you can spare $15 a year or so, I suggest you register a domain name that will serve you well in the future such as yourname.com or yournamefamily.com that you can use indefinitely without the changes required when you switch jobs or Internet Service Providers (ISP). This process takes a few steps and a couple days to get established, so come back here when it's set up or continue below with the addresses you already have.
Mail needs several pieces of information about your email account to get working. It's really not that intimidating. There are just five bits of information you'll need to gather.
I suggest you get this info and write it down in advance since it usually is the hurdle to setting up Mail or any other email program. I also suggest you save it in a place you will remember because the information is not something you will recall easily and will probably need again and again in the future. If you are already using your email address in another program such as Outlook, you can get it there. If you haven't started using it yet, you will want to refer to your email hosting company's web site support section. Search for Email User Account Info.
The bits you will need are as follows: Email address (that one's easy), Incoming Mail Server (often mail.yourdomain.com), User Name (often your email address again or just the part before the @ symbol), Password (let's hope you remember), and Outgoing Mail Server SMTP (something like smtp.comcast.net). There will be a few other questions, but you can make those up as you go.
Getting the settings from your Windows PC. If you are switching from Windows, odds are that you use either Outlook or Outlook Express for your email. To find this information in Outlook Express, select the Tools menu, then Accounts>Mail to get a list of your email accounts. Select your account then the Properties button. Click the Servers tab to find the information in the image below.
If you are trying to find this information in Outlook, go to the Tools menu and select E-mail Accounts. Click "View or change existing email accounts," click Next, and then your email account, then Change. You should find the information on the next screen. Be sure to hit Cancel once you noted down the information you need.
Other Programs. If you are using any of the other dozen or so email programs, try to click along the instructions above as close as possible. You notice that you want to drill down by selecting accounts in a Tools or Preferences menu, then find your account and then the settings or properties of that account.
Once you have these settings noted, click over to Mail in your Dock or Applications folder. If you haven't opened Mail before, you will be intercepted by a set up screen where you enter this information. Click on through the series of panels until they are complete. If you already have used Mail before you can add a new account by clicking the New menu and selecting Add Account. Do this to add additional accounts as well. You can view, manage, add or delete accounts in Mail by going to the Mail menu, selecting Preferences and then clicking the Accounts tab.
OK, you should be ready to fly now using Mail. Here are a few additional tips. Mail will read the data in Address Book to auto-fill your "To:" fields. You can learn how to import your old contacts data into Address Book to use in Mail by reading, Import your Windows Contacts into Address Book. Additionally, you can add email adresses to Address book by selecting an email message you've received, then going to the Message menu and selecting Add Sender to Address Book.
Also, to better use your screen real estate, install Letterbox by Aaron Harnly. This program alters Mail so you can view Mail in three columns instead of two. Lastly, to really get the most out of Mail, check out Hawk Wings, a web site dedicated to exploring and extending the Mail application.