AOL Mail offers many advanced features, including panels, which can be found on the mail screen's right side. Panels are quick links to other online services provided by AOL or its partners. Here's information about the most useful panels:
- The AIM panel opens an embedded AOL Instant Messenger window on the screen's right side of the screen. You can configure AOL Mail to automatically log you into AIM when you open the e-mail program. The AIM panel includes all of the basic AIM features, namely your Buddy List and the ability to send IMs, start chat sessions or send text messages.
- The To Do panel opens up your To Do list, to which you can add new tasks and due dates. There is also a To Do link on all received e-mails. If the subject of the e-mail is something you need to follow-up on, simply click the To Do link and an entry will be added to your To Do list.
- The Events panel is tied to the Calendar application. Upcoming Calendar events appear in the Event panel. Like the To Do function, there's a Calendar link in every received e-mail. Click the link to create a Calendar entry, which will appear both in the Calendar application and the Events panel.
- A Blog link is located next to the Calendar and To Do links. This button creates an entry in your AOL Journal, a free blog service included with all AOL Mail accounts. After you press the Blog link, fill in the subject and body of the blog posting, plus any relevant tags, then press Save. You can share your blog with the public or limit it to your buddies.
AOL Easy Transfer
Use this free service to import all your contacts and old e-mails from another e-mail application. Enter your old e-mail address and password, and your e-mails and contacts will transfer into your new AOL account within 24 hours. It can also alert your contacts about your address change and forward e-mails to your AOL account for 30 days.
Other new features are located on the Settings menu. The Settings link is at the top right side of the AOL Mail screen. In Settings, under General, there's a check box for "Use a reading pane to view mail." You can read mail in your inbox without opening each individual message. Instead, the screen splits in half with your inbox above and a preview area below called the reading pane.
The Filters option lets you add rules for automatically organizing and archiving received mail. For example, e-mails from your boss will go to your Work folder. Or e-mails from your ex-boyfriend will go to the Trash folder. You can also create new filters when reading a received e-mail. Open the e-mail, click the Action button and scroll down to "Create a Filter."
Also in Settings is Mobile Mail. Here you can enter your cell phone number to receive a text message with a link to download a free copy of AOL Mobile Mail. You can send and receive e-mails directly from your cell phone using your AOL Mail or AIM Mail address.
We hope this has been a helpful overview of how AOL Mail works. For more information about e-mail and related topics, follow the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links