Introduction to Outlook 2007 – Managing Multiple Email Accounts

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Outlook 2007 can manage all your email accounts for you, giving you one place to work with all your messages. But to do this, you do need to learn a bit about how to set it up and how to determine which account any given message came in on or will be sent out on. The rest of this article explains how you do this.

When you Receive Messages

Let’s start by talking about how Outlook receives messages from different accounts. Outlook will automatically checks each email account (the settings in your Send/Receive groups determine when). Messages from most types of email accounts end up in the Inbox, while messages from HTTP mail accounts, like Hotmail, end up in their own collection of mail folders.

So how do you know which messages are associated with which accounts? The Hotmail messages automatically end up in their own set of folders. For other types of accounts, if you can’t tell just by looking, you can look at the To: field of the message. The email address the sender addressed it to appears on that line.

Sometimes, however, you’ll see a nickname instead of the actual email address in the To: field. If this doesn’t make it clear which account the message was sent to, you can follow these steps to tell for sure:

  1. Right-click the nickname in the To: field of the message.
  2. In the shortcut menu that appears, click Outlook Properties.
  3. In the dialog box, go to the E-mail Addresses tabbed page. This will tell you which address the message was sent to.

When You Send Messages

When sending messages, you’re in control of which account Outlook uses. Outlook always has a default account for sending messages (usually the first account you set up), but it is easy to tell Outlook to use a different account. Here’s how it works:

  • When you create a new message, Outlook assumes you’ll want to use the default account to send it unless you tell it to do something different.
  • When you’re replying to a message you received, Outlook will default to replying using the same account the original message came in on. That is, if you receive a message sent to your account named xyz, at, and you clicked Reply or Reply to All, Outlook will default to using the xyz at account. Of course, you can always tell Outlook to send the reply using a different account.
  • When you forward a message, Outlook likewise assumes you want to reply using the same account as the original message.

The way Outlook selects the account to use makes great sense, but what if you don’t want to use the account Outlook wants you to? What exactly do you have to do to tell Outlook which account you want it to use?

You can tell Outlook which email account to use when the message window is open. When you have multiple accounts set up, you will see an Account button below the Send button. Click the Account button, and Outlook will display a menu containing all your e-mail accounts. Select one, and Outlook uses that one to send your message.

How to Specify the Default Account

You may sometimes decide that you want Outlook to use a different email account as your default. If you do, these are the steps you’d follow to change it:

  1. In the main Outlook menu, click Tools > Account Settings. This opens the Account Settings dialog box.
  2. On the E-mail tabbed page of the Account Settings dialog box, you should find the box listing all your email accounts. Click the account you want to make your new default account.
  3. Once you’ve selected the new default account, look above the account list, find and click Set as Default. Outlook dims this option until you select a new account to use as the default.
  4. The new default option moves to the top of the list.
  5. Click Close to put the change into effect.

With this information, you can now manage your multiple email accounts.

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