Access Your E-mail From the Web

Why wait to get back to the office to check for that important e-mail message? It is possible to read and reply to your e-mail today using any web a friend's house, at a hotel, or even while on vacation. ITS provides WebMail services for web sites hosted with us, however one can also check any other standard mailbox as well (visit and click "Check e-mail from the road" for instructions).

A web interface will typically only show new mail still waiting in the online mailbox. If an e-mail program is left running at the office and it automatically retrieves mail, the online box will usually be empty. To counter this, users can set their e-mail client to leave old messages on the server for, say, seven days. Do not let your mailbox fill up though! Many providers have a fixed amount of space per mailbox, and once it is full, new mail cannot arrive. Remember to clean out the "trash" or "deleted items" folder before exiting, or that folder will gradually fill up too.

Check to see if you can import or create entries in an online address book, which beats trying to remember important addresses. Many systems let users set up auto-reply messages to let senders know they are on vacation. Often one can predefine a "signature" block that gets appended to every e-mail sent via WebMail. Fancier systems might let users change colors, icons, save appointments, spell check outgoing messages, and the like. Messages in the inbox can be sorted by sender, date, subject, and so on to group messages together so you can follow a "conversation" more easily. When sending a message, you can either "bcc" yourself or save a copy of the sent message in a Sent folder stored online.

We trust this gives you a good idea of the capabilities and convenience of web-based e-mail services.

August 2004

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