Receiving Email Messages

Reading Messages Replying to Messages Forwarding Messages Printing Messages Flagging Messages

Reading Messages

Yahoo! Mail stores email messages in mail folders. Initially, all of your incoming email messages arrive in your Inbox folder (except suspected spam, which goes directly into your Spam folder). To read a message, you simply display a mail folder and click a message line.

The folder list displays the number of unread messages in parentheses next to each folder name.

The number of unread messages in your Inbox

Click the Inbox link to display a list of your messages.

Click the Inbox link.

A list of the messages in your Inbox appears in the top portion of the Inbox tab.

The Inbox tabEnlarge

The subjects of the messages give you an idea of what each one is about. To get the whole story, read your messages.

You’ve probably noticed the little icons scattered around your Inbox and in open email messages.

These icons appear in mail folders to indicate special characteristics of messages:

Icons in a mail folderEnlarge

Replied icon You have replied to this email message.
Forwarded icon You have forwarded this email message.
Flagged icon You flagged this email message for follow-up.
Attachment icon This email message includes one or more attachments.
CertifiedEmail icon This email message is from a CertifiedEmail™ sender.

When reading an email message, you might see these icons in the header:

Icons in an email message.

Online icon This person has a Yahoo! ID and is online. Click the icon to send the person an instant message using Yahoo! Messenger.
Offline icon This person has a Yahoo! ID but is offline.
Domain Keys icon Verifies that the message is being sent from its claimed domain, such as "".
Attachment icon This email message includes one or more attachments.
CertifiedEmail icon This email message is from a CertifiedEmail™ sender.

Most of these icons appear automatically. The flag is the only icon that you apply to a message by marking it for follow-up.


Here’s How

To read a message in the Reading Pane:

  1. To read an email message in the Reading Pane (the lower portion of the tab), single-click the message.  Learn more

    The content of the message appears in the Reading Pane.

    Tip: You can read any message in your Inbox or other folder, regardless of whether it is bold text (indicating that it has not been read) or plain text (indicating that it has been read). Once you read a message either in the Reading Pane or on a message tab, the message line changes to non-bold text. Learn more

  2. You can change the height of the Reading Pane by dragging the bar above the pane up and down.

    Drag the bar to change the height of the Reading Pane

  3. To read a different message, just click its subject in the list of messages.

    Tip: You can also use the up and down arrow keys on your computer keyboard to move from message to message in the message list.


To read a message in a separate tab:

  1. To read an email message on a separate message tab, double-click the message in the list of messages.

    The content of the message appears on a message tab.Enlarge

    Yahoo! Mail lets you open multiple messages at the same time, each on a separate tab. You can easily switch from one message to another by selecting a different tab.


To change the font in plain text messages:

You can change the appearance of text in email messages you send and receive that use plain text. If a message you receive contains HTML code or rich text, you won’t be able to choose the font or the size of the text.

  1. Click the Options link, then select More Options from the menu.

    Select More Options from the Options menu.

    The General options page opens.

  2. Select a new default font and/or font size from the Plain text font pull-down menus.

    Change the font and/or the font size.

  3. Click the Save Changes button.

    Click the Save Changes button.

  4. Click the Back to Mail button to return to Yahoo! Mail.

    Click the Back to Mail button.

    The next time you display a plain text email message, it should appear in the new default font that you specified.


What’s Next: Dealing With Spam and Attachments

You may receive unsolicited junk email (also called spam) or email messages with attachments—noted by the attachment icon Attachment icon— from people you don’t know. Both can be harmless. In fact, attachments are the way to go when you or others want to share documents and photos. But junk email, unless you requested it, can be annoying. And then there are the dreaded emails that carry viruses; these aren’t harmless. We have tutorials dedicated to both spam and attachments to help you use good judgment before opening and reading these emails.

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Words to Know

  • Attachment: a separate file included as part of an email message; for example, a multimedia or document file.
  • CertifiedEmail™: a class of email that provides accredited commercial, non-profit, and government senders an easy and reliable way for you to identify authentic email messages from them.
  • Contact: a person with whom you interact; someone to whom you might want to send an email, instant message, or text message.
  • Folder: a container that holds individual elements specific to the context; for example, email messages in Yahoo! Mail.
  • Forward: (two uses in Yahoo! Mail) to send an email message that you receive on to someone else or to configure Yahoo! Mail to send all email messages that come into your mail account to another email address.
  • Inbox: a folder where you receive incoming email.
  • Junk mail: unsolicited email on the Internet; also called spam.
  • Plain text: text that has no formatting defined; how this text appears (for example, its size) depends on the web browser or email program that you use.
  • Reply: to respond to an email message you received.
  • Rich text: a format that lets you change font style, add colour, and more to your outgoing message text.
  • Spam: unsolicited email on the Internet; also called "junk mail".
  • Spam folder: a permanent folder that SpamGuard uses to hold messages it considers spam.
  • Yahoo! Contacts: your Yahoo! online address book with a listing of people and their personal information.


You can change how long a message must be open before it’s considered "read" on the General mail options page. Click here to learn more.
If the Reading Pane isn’t visible, select Show > Reading Pane from the Options menu.