Skip to content

How Outlook works

Rate this post

How Outlook works: You have just started using Outlook and you are finding yourself well, however you just can’t understand how to take advantage of some functions offered by the famous Microsoft software, so you are looking for a guide suitable for the purpose. Would you like to create an account on the Web Mail service, but you don’t know how to proceed? Don’t worry: if you want, I’m here to give you a hand!

In today’s tutorial, in fact, I will show you how Outlook works , going to explain in detail what its features are and how they are managed. It doesn’t matter which platform you want to use the service from: in this tutorial I’ll talk about both the “classic” Outlook available for Windows and macOS, and the Web service. I will also explain how to use the Outlook app for Android and iOS, if you intend to use this solution also on smartphones and tablets.

Come on, what are you still doing standing there? It only takes a few minutes to learn how to use Outlook properly: you just have to read and put into practice the brief instructions below. I assure you that all the features of Microsoft’s email service will suddenly become very simple in your eyes – try it! At this point, there is nothing left to do, except wish you good reading and good work!


How Outlook 365 works

Let’s start with Outlook 365 , that is the e-mail program integrated into the Microsoft 365 suite, which also includes Word, Excel and all the other typical software of the Microsoft productivity suite, try signing up for a subscription. Below you will find all the details of the case.


Before explaining in detail  how Outlook works , I think it is of fundamental importance to explain the application’s prices, which can be obtained mainly in two ways.

The first is by subscribing to a Microsoft 365 subscription plan , starting from 7 euros / month, which also includes all the other applications of the Office package, space on OneDrive and minutes of conversation on Skype. To be precise, there are two plans available.

  • Microsoft 365 Personal : costs 7 euros / month or 69 euros / year and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access (the latter two only on Windows), 1TB of space on OneDrive, 60 minutes of Skype calls to month and access to all the features of the Office apps for smartphones and tablets. This plan can only be used on one computer and one mobile device.
  • Microsoft 365 Home : costs 10 euros / month or 99 euros / year and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access (the latter two only on Windows), 1TB of space on OneDrive, 60 minutes of Skype calls for one issue per month and access to all the functions of the Office apps for smartphones and tablets. This plan can be used on up to 6 computers and 6 mobile devices. It comes with a 30-day free trial.

In case you are a business user, you can subscribe to one of the Microsoft 365 plans dedicated to professionals ( more info here ).

Alternatively, it is possible to purchase Outlook with a one-off payment through the “classic” package which, however, does not include updates to subsequent major releases, apps for mobile devices and cloud services. With the latter there is the possibility to save a lot thanks to services like  Mr Key Shop .

If you have never heard of it, Mr Key Shop is a site managed by a company with offices in Italy and England that sells  100% original licenses  for Microsoft Office, but also Windows and antivirus at extremely advantageous prices: this is possible thanks to the the fact that the licenses in question are resold unused licenses, which previously belonged to companies that have in the meantime switched to cloud subscription solutions (this is a  fully legal practice in Europe ).

Mr Key Shop Office

It should also be noted that the purchase of licenses on Mr Key Shop takes place completely digitally (the licenses are sent in just a few minutes via email , without polluting the environment with the shipment of physical goods) with a money- back guarantee  on everyone . free Italian products and specialized assistance  (a fairly rare commodity for such services).

To proceed with the purchase, just connect to this Mr Key Shop page and choose the Office edition  to buy from those available, for example Microsoft Office 2019 , which is still the most used, or Microsoft Office 2021 , which is the latest Microsoft package. Then you have to add it to your  cart , go to the  checkout  and complete the payment using one of the many supported secure payment methods , such as PayPal, Amazon Pay or card.

Clearly, it is important to check the compatibility of the version of Office purchased with the operating system in use. In this regard, I would like to point out that on Mr Key Shop there are also very affordable licenses for Windows 10 and Windows 11 .

Another very important thing to do is to avoid unreliable sites where phantom free editions of Microsoft Office are offered: they are scams or malware (if not also illegal content); so stay away and, indeed, to prevent such risks also install a good antivirus , such as those available on Mr Key Shop.

Download and install

Install Microsoft 365

Once the characteristics of the Microsoft 365 offer have been clarified, I would say that you are ready to download and install Outlook.

The first thing you need to do, therefore, is to activate a Microsoft 365 plan. To do this, you need to connect to the official Microsoft website and click on the Try free for 1 month button .

Subsequently, type the e-mail address and password of your Microsoft account and select the item Log in , to log in. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you can create one by following the steps I outlined in my guide on how to create a Microsoft account.

Once logged in, click on Next and choose a valid payment method between credit or debit card, direct debit or PayPal, and then enter the relevant data. I remind you that, once the free trial period is over, the service will cost 10 euros / month. However, you can rest assured: there is the possibility to disable the automatic renewal (and therefore the payment of the service) at any time.

Once you have entered your payment information, click on Add profile address and type your address, then click Next , Save and Subscribe in order to access the Microsoft Office download page.

Now, proceed with the download of Microsoft Office by clicking on the relevant Install button . If you use a Mac, you can download Outlook for free and activate it through your Microsoft account linked to Microsoft 365 directly from the Mac App Store .

Once the download is complete, you just need to open the Office installation package and follow the on-screen instructions. If you are using a Windows computer , you must then start the .exe file obtained and wait for the tool to download and install the suite automatically. Please note that download times may be quite long.

Download Microsoft 365

If, on the other hand, you are using a Mac , you just have to open the .pkg package and select Continue , Continue , Accept and Install in order . At this point, you must type the password of your user account on macOS (the one you use to access the system) and select the Install software item first and then Close and Move .

At the end of the process, you will be asked to register your copy of Microsoft 365 with your Microsoft account information. If this does not happen, try to open Outlook and see if a message of this type appears on the screen. You can also try to click on the Login item to take advantage of all the features of Office (Windows) or go to the Outlook menu > Activate Office located at the top left (macOS).

In the window that appears on the screen, select Log in , type the email address associated with your Microsoft account , click Next and enter the relative password , in order to activate the software. Once this is done, you can finally enjoy your free trial or subscription. In case you don’t know how to set the various fields required by Outlook, I recommend that you consult my tutorial on how to configure Outlook.

Microsoft 365 Mac

I remind you that, to avoid unwanted charges, you will have to disable the automatic renewal of Microsoft 365. To do this, connected to the official Microsoft website , log in with your Microsoft account (if necessary) and select the Manage account item .

In the screen that appears on the screen, click on the item Disable automatic renewal , type the password of your Microsoft account and press the Confirm cancellation button . In this way, you will not have to pay any more money to continue using the Microsoft 365 suite (which of course will expire at the end of the 30-day trial, and then eventually reactivate if the subscription is paid).

Once Outlook starts, it’s time to set up your email account. To do this, simply enter your e-mail address in the appropriate field and click on Connect / Continue . If everything works correctly, your account will be configured automatically.

Otherwise, if you are on Windows, try checking the Allow manual configuration of the account box and press the Connect item . If you are on macOS instead, you need to select the IMAP / POP option . Perfect, now the client will allow you to enter the IMAP or POP data related to your email account. For more information and the complete procedure, I suggest you take a look at my guide on how to set up Outlook.

How to use Outlook

Microsoft Outlook Client

You are now ready to take your first steps in Outlook. Everything you need to read emails, reply to them and write new ones is on the main program screen. In fact, in the left bar you will find the various Inbox , Junk Mail , Sent Mail , Drafts and Deleted Mail boxes .

Incoming messages will be clearly delivered to the Inbox , while outgoing messages are searchable in that Sent Mail folder . For the rest, to open an email you just have to press on the appropriate box and, using the buttons at the top, carry out all the necessary actions, such as delete the message, archive it, reply or forward it to someone else.

To write a new email, you simply have to press on the New message item in the top left, enter the recipient ‘s e-mail address , the subject , the text and press the Send item . In short, using the basic Outlook features is very simple, it’s all just a click away.

How the Outlook archive works

Outlook archive

How do you say? Would you like to archive the emails that arrived in Outlook? Don’t worry, the program has a special archiving function that allows you to automatically move older messages to a special folder, separate from the rest of the emails, thus tidying up the inbox and making the internal database “cleaner”.

There are several methods to use this feature, but on Windows it is usually enough to put the check mark on the items Archive folder and all subfolders and Archive older items present in the path Tools> Clean old items .

In the version of Outlook for macOS, however, this native functionality is not present and you must therefore create specific rules that perform the same function. I recommend that you check out my guide on how to archive Outlook emails for all the case details and the complete procedure.

How Outlook recall works

Recall Outlook

Outlook also offers a feature to retrieve sent emails, as long as the recipient has an Exchange account in the same organization. Put simply, you can only “undo” messages that have been sent within your organization. Also, these must be directed to an Exchange account and the recipient must not have read them.

To retrieve a message sent from Outlook that meets these requirements, open the program, select the item Sent from the left sidebar and open the e-mail to be canceled. In the window that appears on the screen, then click on the item Message (top left), select the item Actions (top center) and press on the item Recall the message .

Perfect, now you can choose whether to delete the unread copies of the message or replace them with a new message by placing the check mark next to one of the two available options and clicking the OK button . But be careful: the recipient of the message will still receive a notification that the latter has been called back.

How Outlook Web App Works

Are you interested in Microsoft’s Web Mail service ? Well, now I’ll explain how to take the first steps inside the latter.

How to create an Outlook address

Create Outlook account

Before proceeding to explain in detail how works, I think it may interest you to know how to create an address through this service.

Well, to create an Outlook account, you need to connect to the official website of the service and click on Create free account . On the page that appears on the screen, then type the email address you want to create and press the down arrow icon , choosing between the and extensions .

At this point, click on the Next item and type the password you want to use to access your mailbox. I remind you that you must necessarily enter a password consisting of at least 8 characters and that contains at least two elements, including uppercase or lowercase letters, numbers or symbols. Once this is done, hit the Next button to continue.

Now, enter Name , Surname , press the Next button , and type Country / geographical area  and date of birth ( Day , Month and Year ). Then, click on the Next item and verify your identity by entering the confirmation code that is shown on the screen.

Perfect: now you just have to press the Next button to complete the procedure. You will then be asked to set the language and time zone and to choose the graphic theme to use for

If you need more information, I recommend that you consult my tutorial on how to create an Outlook account.

How to use Outlook online

Microsoft Outlook Web App

Once you’ve created an Outlook address, I’d say you’re ready to learn how to use Microsoft’s email service Web App.

If you are acting as a computer, you can access your e-mail account simply by connecting to the official Outlook website and pressing the Login item . After that, you will need to clearly enter the e-mail address and password associated with the account created just now.

Otherwise, the Outlook Web App is quite simple to use and the basic functionality is identical to that of the desktop e-mail client. Therefore, I recommend that you consult the chapter on how to use Outlook to find out more.

How Outlook Calendar Works

Outlook Calendar

The Outlook Web App is also used by many users because of its calendar, which allows you to manage your schedule from any workstation.

To access this feature, you just need to press the Calendar icon (the second from left to right, bottom left) or connect to the Outlook Calendar page . From here you can add an event by simply clicking on the item New event , present at the top left, by entering the title , day , time , position and any warning time (eg “Notify me 15 minutes before”) and pressing the Save item . To delete an event, simply press on the name of the event and select the Delete item .

Once an event has been entered, it will appear on the relevant day and all its details can be consulted simply by clicking on its box . To switch from one month to another, you can simply use the arrow icons at the top left, while to change the display method you have to press on the Month item at the top right and choose between Month , Week , Work Week and Day .

Obviously, there is also the possibility of adding other calendars. This can be done by pressing on the Add Calendar item on the left and typing the name of the calendar . To activate only a certain calendar, you need to put the check mark next to its name. If you want more details on how to export or import other calendars, I recommend that you take a look at my guide on how to sync Google Calendar with Outlook.

How the Outlook address book works

Outlook address book

Outlook also has a handy address book , which allows you to keep your contacts in order.

To access the latter, you just have to press on the Social icon (the third from left to right at the bottom left) or connect to the Outlook address book page . To add a new contact, simply click on the New Contact item at the top left, enter Name , Surname , e-mail address , mobile number , company and notes and press the Create button . Instead, you can manage an existing contact through the buttons at the top, by clicking on the Edit or itemsDelete .

By pressing, on the other hand, on the Manage item , you can export or import your address book. In particular, it can be exported via the UTF-8 encoded CSV file format . In case you need to export your contacts in CSV format, take a look at my tutorial on how to make CSV files, where you will find all the information on how to export the address book.

In case you want to import contacts instead, I recommend that you take a look at my guide on how to import Outlook contacts. The address book can also be synchronized with other services and devices: I invite you to consult my guide on how to synchronize Outlook with Gmail and how to synchronize the address book on Android for more details.

How Outlook for Android and iOS works

outlook smartphone

Outlook also has an official application for smartphones and tablets, which allows users to manage their email address on the go. However, it is also possible to configure the accounts of other services, such as Gmail, Yahoo and accounts through the IMAP and POP3 protocols.

To install the Outlook application, open the Play Store (if you are using Android) or the App Store (if you have an iPhone or iPad), search for “outlook” and select the app icon from the search results . Then, press the Install / Get item and, if you are on iOS, verify your identity via Face ID , Touch ID or Apple ID password .

Once the app has been downloaded, start it, press the Start item , select Continue (or Add account on iOS) and follow the instructions that appear on the screen. If the address you entered is not present among those preconfigured on the device, you will be prompted to enter the data relating to its IMAP and SMTP parameters .

In case you want to add a second e-mail account, you can do it by tapping on the ☰ icon , present at the top left, and pressing the gear icon . Then, tap on Add account and follow the instructions that appear on the screen.

Once the various accounts have been configured, the application will start synchronizing your e-mails, synchronizing all messages. Clearly you will find the latter in the Inbox folder , reachable by pressing the icon , at the top left. Of course, there are also the Sent Items , Junk Email , Drafts and Deleted Items folders .

When you receive a new e-mail, the smartphone will notify you through a common notification, which will also briefly anticipate the content of the message. In case you want to change this option, just press the ☰ icon , present at the top left, and then on the gear icon .

Once this is done, click on the Notifications item and you will find all the settings related, for example, to customizing the sound of receipt of a new email and to the folders on which to activate the alerts. For more information about the Outlook mobile app, I recommend that you consult Microsoft’s official guidelines .

Article created in collaboration with Mr Key Shop.