Many of us are familiar with emails whilst some never use them. I have lived long enough to know some people do not have email accounts. It is usually an indication of a lack of exposure and it can be costly. It is a basic necessity, just like an ID card to have at least one email account. Especially if you are running a startup or business, you must have email accounts. Not just generic ones (e.g., but personalized ones (e.g. Personalized email addresses boost your authenticity and image as a brand. Today I am looking at emails in general though i.e. email functions you should acquaint yourself with.

Email Composition Functions

There are several functions essential to composing emails. On the ‘To’ line there is also the Cc (carbon copy) and Bcc (blind carbon copy) lines. Cc is where you enter the email address of a recipient whom you want to receive a duplicate copy of that email. Bcc is for when you want a copy of that email to be sent to someone or other people (other than the primary recipient) without the other recipients knowing.

You also do not have to write the signature when signing off every email. You can simply draft it once and have it pre-saved as your email signature. My email signature contains my full name, short bio, contact numbers, alternative email address, and a URL to my LinkedIn account. That way whenever you send out any email it is automatically appended at the bottom.


To filter is to sort, sift, or isolate. This function helps you to search for particular types of emails. It is typical, if your email account is as busy as mine, to handle countless emails daily. There can be times when you want to search for a specific email or specific email. The filtering function makes that process easier if you know a unique identifying characteristic. For example, you can filter by Unread, Flagged, Pinned, To me, Has attachments or Mentions me. You simply choose the applicable filter and the list of corresponding emails is returned. No need to manually scroll up and down looking for an email, just filter. If you do know specifics about e.g. the email body or subject line you can just use the search function.


A folder, in this context, is a virtual container in the email’s filing system in which files and other folders may be stored. Usually there are preset folders such as Inbox, Drafts, Archives, Sent, Junk, Deleted, Trash, and the like. In Outlook there is also dual separation of Focused and Other email. Essentially, you can dedicate the Focused inbox folder for important emails. Then the Other will be for just about any email you receive.

However, you can also create folders of your own depending on your needs. You can have a folder for work, personal, or specific senders. If you are someone who does not usually arrange their data in folders in their PCs, this might feel unnecessary to you. I do encourage you to take advantage of the folders function to order your email account nicely.


To whitelist is to mark or note a person or entity as trustworthy or acceptable. Generally email programs allow you to whitelist emails from known sources. This function is relevant especially to email senders you know and are important. These can be the kind of emails you do not want to miss. Whitelisting entails you adding such emails to a list of senders that you approve. This has the benefit of ensuring that such emails never get redirected to the spam folder.

This means even if the emails contain malicious content, they never go to the spam folder. Thus you must be very sure of who you whitelist; they must surely be trustworthy. For example, I use the Outlook mobile app. There is a feature that allows me to move an email to the Focused inbox folder. This effectively constitutes whitelisting that email because all future messages will get into the Focused inbox folder.

Spam Folder

The spam folder deserves special mention here. The spam folder is designed to flag and separate malicious emails. These are usually unsolicited and promotional emails sent to you without your permission. In most of the times the emails are meant to scam you. Some of them can contain links which are malware. That is a great feature as it safeguards you from nefarious emails. However, it is possible for harmless and useful emails to get redirected to the spam folder. This can happen here and there due to a wide range of reasons.

This calls upon you to periodically check your spam folder. Interestingly, malicious are usually easy to spot. I would suggest you do it daily to avoid getting inundated with a long list of spam emails to inspect. I know several accounts of people who missed out on opportunities because they never bothered to check their spam folder. Imagine checking your spam folder one day and you realize you missed an email with a job offer. You can avoid that by checking your spam folder daily.

These functions are usually built-in for all email service providers. Whether you are using the web version, the mobile version, or some email client, you will find them. They are not there for decoration, they are meant to streamline your work; use them. Personally, on my mobile phone I use Microsoft Outlook – highly recommend. It allows me to access several different email accounts from one place. Plus it is also interoperable with the calendar such that you can schedule directly from email facilitated meetings. There is also a function that allows me to play and listen to my emails on the go. There is just a lot to benefit from email clients such as Outlook.