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Technology 101 for Seniors | Lesson 1: How to Set Up An Email Account

Welcome to Lesson 1 of Technology 101 for Seniors! Today, we’ll focus on how to set up and start to use an email account.

If you’re reading this article, chances are you already have your own email address. If you don’t already have one, or know a senior who might be interested in setting one up, then this post is for you!

There are many reasons why you might want to have your own email address. From keeping in touch with friends and family to subscribing to newsletters, an email address is an essential part of daily life.

Users have many options for setting up an email account, many of which are free or already included in a service for which you subscribe. For instance, you may already have access to email through your current Comcast, Verizon Fios, or Optimum Online service. You can find out by calling your provider.

On the free side, you’ll find plenty of excellent options used by millions of people around the world. The leading providers are Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo. Regardless of which you choose, you can send and receive email from anyone around the world simply by knowing the person’s email address.

Senior technology tip – choosing your username: think about your username and what you might like it to be. You can use your name, but if it’s a common name, you may need to add a number or two (for instance, Jane Mill’s email address could be janemill22@yahoo.com). Or you may want to select something related to a hobby (janethebirder@yahoo.com). It’s your choice, but try to choose something you’ll easily remember and your family and friends will easily identify. 

To set up a free email account, you’ll need to first visit http://www.gmail.com, http://www.outlook.com, or http:www.yahoo.com/mail. You’ll see these screens:

For Gmail, click the “Create an Account” button in the top right corner of the page.

Click the image for a closer look at the Gmail signup page.

Click the image for a closer look at the Gmail signup page.









For Outlook, look for the text that says “Don’t have a Microsoft account?” You’ll see “Sign up now” in blue—click there to continue.

Click the image for a closer look at the Outlook signup page.

Click the image for a closer look at the Outlook signup page.









For Yahoo, type in your desired username and click the “Go” button on the right side.

Click the image for a closer look at the Yahoo signup page.

Click the image for a closer look at the Yahoo signup page.









Next, you’ll be taken to each service’s page where they’ll request more information to get you started (click any of the images to make larger):

You’ll now be prompted to enter your personal information to get started, including your name, your desired username/email address, and your desired password.

Senior technology tip – choosing your password: for your password, pick something that is easy to remember, but hard for someone else to figure out. Perhaps your first pet’s name combined with a previous address number, or a grandchild’s birthday combined with your cousin’s zip code. Once you decide on something, write it down and keep it in a safe place.

After typing in your information, click the “create account” button to visit your email inbox. It will be empty, but you can now send messages and photos to your family and friends by entering the person’s email address in the “send to” box, adding a subject line (for instance, “How are you?” or “Looking forward to the wedding”), typing your letter, and hitting “send.”

Congratulations! You now have your very own email address to share with your close friends and family!

In future lessons, we’ll talk about using your email address to sign up for Facebook, sending photos, and more!

Plus, there are more lessons on the way. Is there something you’d like to learn about in “Technology 101 for Seniors”? Let us know by clicking here. We’d love to help you learn how to be a tech-savvy senior!


Did you know? Crane’s Mill offers tech support to its residents with the help of James Caldwell High School students. Click this link for more.