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About Optimum Online e-mail

E-mail panels

The e-mail screen has three main panels:

Resizable panels

To increase or decrease the size of a panel, click on the bar that separates it from its neighbor and adjust the size using the mouse. The panel sizes will remain as you set them until you resize them again or sign out.

Keyboard navigation

You can navigate through Optimum Online e-mail by using either the mouse or keyboard:

Right-click menu

Many common actions are accessible via the right-mouse button also known as the contextual menu option. The options vary depending on where the menu is invoked. The message list contextual menu also includes two options only available there - Mark Read and Mark Unread, which can be used on individual messages or groups of messages.

The message list

Message List

The message list is a scrolling list which displays summary information about messages in the current folder. Optimum Online® e-mail works differently than a traditional Web-based e-mail application - you do not need to specify the number of messages per page or mark a checkbox next to a message in order to perform an action such as delete. You can shift-click to select a range of messages or CTRL + click (CMD + click on a Mac) to pick multiple messages. The number of messages displayed is limited only by the size of your screen. Just scroll to preview more messages.

Read and unread messages

Unread messages appear in the Message List in bold text with a status icon of a circle (·). Once read, they are no longer bold and their status icon is removed.

The e-mail preview panel

Preview Pane

The preview panel displays a portion of a selected message.

On the top right of the preview panel there is a button to quickly add a contact to your Contacts list.

Clicking the small "+" next to the "Subject:" line will reveal more detailed information about the message, such as the recipients in the "To:" and "Cc:" fields.

Some attachment types may also be previewed without the need for an external viewer. For example, click on JPEG attachments to see a preview. Click on the attachment to preview or download the attachment.

Turning Off the Preview Panel

You can temporarily disable the Preview Panel by clicking the [X] button located at the top right of the panel. This will minimize the panel until you maximize it or sign off.

Preview panel "options"

The "options" selector allows you to perform a particular action for any e-mail message:

  1. Choose "View Source" for complete header information, including routing information as well as the complete source of the message.
  2. Choose "Open in Browser" to see the message in a separate browser window.
  3. Choose "Mark Unread" to have the message flagged as unread.
  4. Choose "Create Filter..." to automatically create a new filter based on information in this message.
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Sending & Receiving E-Mail

Sending & Receiving E-Mail


The toolbar shown above is common to both your Inbox and custom folders and is used to perform standard operations on incoming e-mail, such as creating a new e-mail message.

Contacts and Email

Optimum Online E-mail provides a number of quick ways to create a new message:

  1. Click the Newbutton in the toolbar, shown above.
  2. Select New Message from the E-mail Menu in the Dock.
  3. Click on the E-mail icon on a specific Contact (or Group). This icon will appear when you rollover a contact in your address book. You can also click on the arrow on a specific Contact (or Group) and select Compose an E-Mail.

A new window is displayed, with To, Subject, and content fields. After you have filled them in, you can click Send or Save as Draft.

Note that Optimum Online E-mail supports multiple windows, so you can read and compose multiple messages and move back and forward between each one as you wish.

If you have more than one e-mail account setup, you can select which account to send an e-mail from. A pull-down will appear in the "From:" section, which will allow you to pick by e-mail address. The address selected will determine which outgoing server settings and e-mail address is used to send your message.

Receiving E-Mail

All incoming e-mail goes to your Inbox.

The left-most column in the folder pane indicates whether you have read, responded to or forwarded a message. If the message is unread, the envelope flap is in the "sealed" position. If you have replied to a message, the envelope icon is replaced by a left-pointing arrow.

Checking for New E-Mail

You can change how frequently the system checks for new incoming messages. Simply click Preferences, select your e-mail address and change the "Auto-Check Mail" setting.

Manually Checking

To manually check for new e-mail, click on the "Check Mail" button in the toolbar. You can do this even if you have changed the Auto-Check setting.

Entering an E-Mail Address

You can type in the e-mail address in a standard format, separating multiple e-mail addresses with commas (,).

Auto Suggest

If an e-mail address already exists in your address book, Optimum Online E-mail will automatically present you with a list of possible selections based on what you have typed in. Use the mouse or keyboard arrows to select which address you would like to add to your e-mail message.

Entering an E-Mail Address from Contacts

There are several ways to add a contact to the To, CC or Bcc fields from your Contacts:

USER TIP - Find Contacts fast by clicking on the Contacts Dock button at the top of the page.

Rich Text and Plain Text

The toolbar contains a button that toggles between Rich Text and Plain Text message composition. The default state when composing a new message is plain text editing. In this mode the Rich Text Composition toolbar is hidden and the button displays the words Rich Text. Clicking the Rich Text Button will display the formatting toolbar and permit text, color and styles to be specified on the message text. Note that the button will toggle to display Plain Text. Clicking again will display an alert prompting you to discard any formatting and revert to plain text to cancel the action.

Rich Text Editing

Rich Text Editing

Rich text editing is a standard part of composing a new message. This allows you to format messages with a wide variety of styles, fonts and colors. The Rich Text toolbar can be used to apply text styles (bold, underline, italics, font style, font size, and bulleted list) to text selections.

This is a list of the different types of formatting that you can do in Optimum Online E-Mail:

Spell Check

Select "Spell Check" in the Toolbar to perform a spell check while composing an e-mail message. This will replace the Rich Text Editing composition with the Spell Check toolbar. Utilize Spell Check for any message that you are composing.

Note that while using Spell Check, you will not be able to type in the message body. All correctly spelled words will display in gray and all misspellings highlighted. Misspelled words will then be highlighted (bold and blue) one at a time in the message body and in the Spell Check bar. All other misspellings in the document will be shown in bold red. You have the option of replacing the word with the first suggestions (in the drop-down), selecting an alternate suggestion, or ignoring the word. To summarize:

You can also set a preference to always spell check before sending. See managing preferences for more.

Sending Attachments

To send an attachment, click on the Attach button. A dialog box appears where you may upload one or more attachments to your message.

Integration with Contacts

You can drag contacts into two places in an e-mail compose window:

Users that receive vCard files as e-mail attachments can drag them into Contacts to create a new contact. To address an e-mail, you can also:

Including a Signature

You can include a pre-defined text phrase or "signature" with each message. To include a signature, click on the Insert Signature button. You can define as many signatures as you like. See preferences for instructions on how to create signatures.


Auto Save

The system will automatically every 60 seconds save unsent mail messages to the Drafts folder. Messages are automatically removed from the drafts folder when sent. The time of the last auto-save is displayed in the lower left of the compose window.

Forwarding Messages

To forward an e-mail message to another address, click on the Forward button. You can type in the name of the person or persons that you wish to send to, or select from your contacts. See Contacts.

Printing a Message

Select a message you wish to print and click the Print icon in the toolbar.

The Envelope Icon

The envelope flap is in the "sealed" position, and it remains that way until you reply to it, or until you click on another message.

Receiving Attachments

When you receive a message that has an attachment, a paper-clip icon will appear in the column to the left of the From field in the folder pane. In the header of the message there will a line that gives the name of the file, including the filename extension that is attached to the message.

To access the attachment, click on it. When the attachment is an image, such as a file with a .png extension, a new browser window will appear with the image displayed in it. If the file is an executable (.exe extension) or an unrecognized file type, a dialog box will appear asking you how you wish to proceed.

Messages Forwarded as Attachments

Optimum Online E-mail supports messages forwarded as attachments. These attachments are shown in the e-mail message as a link with the extension .eml. There is no limit to the levels of messages that may be nested (e.g. you can "forward as attachment" an e-mail containing a forwarded attachment and it will remain intact). Controls are provided to allow you to navigate up one level or go back to the original message.

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Organizing your E-Mail

Sorting, Resizing and Re-ordering Columns

The Message list contains the following list of columns:

The width of the From, Subject, Date and Size columns in the message list can be resizable by dragging the column divider. The messages may be sorted by clicking on one of the column headers. Clicking the column header again will toggle between ascending and descending order. You can also change the order of the From, Subject, Date and Size columns by simply dragging and dropping the column header to a new position. A vertical blue guide will appear when you've dragged the column header far enough to be repositioned.

Moving Messages

It is as easy as drag and drop. Just select the message you would like to move by clicking on it with your mouse in the message list and drag it over to the folder you would like to store it in. Once that folder appears highlighted, you drop the message and you're done.

Selecting more than one message

You may select individual messages, a block of multiple messages next to one another or a number of separate messages.

To select an individual message to move:

  1. Click on one of the messages you wish to move.
  2. While holding the mouse button, drag the message to your desired folder.
  3. Release the mouse button.

To select a block of messages to move:

  1. Click on the first message you wish to move.
  2. Move your cursor to the item at the end of the block you wish to move.
  3. While holding down the SHIFT key, click the left mouse button.
  4. Release the SHIFT Key, click and hold the mouse button over your selection and drag the selected messages to your desired folder
  5. Release the mouse button

To select a number of individual messages at the same time:

  1. Click on one of the messages you wish to move.
  2. Move to the next message you wish to also move.
  3. While holding down the CTRL key (CMD + click on a Mac), click the mouse button to select the message.
  4. Repeat Step 3 until your list is complete
  5. Release the CTRL or CMD key, click and hold the mouse button over any one of your selected items and drag the selected messages to your desired folder
  6. Release the mouse button

When you move (or delete) any of the highlighted messages, all will be moved (or deleted)

Searching Messages

Optimum Online E-mail allows you to search the To, CC, From, Subject fields as well as message content. Search is located to in the top left panel above the E-mail folder list. Simply enter your search criteria and click the search button. Your search results will be displayed in a new temporary folder called Search Results. This folder will remain available until you log out of Optimum Online E-mail.

Searching Messages

Expanded search options permit you to search different fields and folders. This will open automatically when you click on the search text field. Use the circle with the cross in it (shown on the left of the "Search" field above) to expand or close the expanded search options.

Deleting Messages

To delete a message, either click on the "Trash" icon while the message is highlighted, or click and drag the message to the Trash folder. Deleted messages remain in the Trash for 24 hours. If you'd like to permanently delete a message immediately, you can empty the Trash (right-click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash), or individually delete the message while you are in the trash folder.

Folder Lists

The folder list consists of Systems folders and Custom folders. Custom folders, as the name implies, can be edited, deleted, and nested within other folders. Systems folders cannot be renamed, moved, or deleted. When you select a folder, the Message List will update with the currently selected folder's contents.

Folders provide a way to organize your messages. The number of unread messages is displayed beside any folder unless all messages are read. There are five system folders. And while you cannot delete, rename or move system folders, you may create as many additional custom folders as you like.

System Folders

Creating Custom Folders

To create a folder, click on the New Folder button at the bottom of the "E-mail" panel. A field labeled "Untitled." will appear. Type the name that you wish to give to the new folder.

Creating a Sub Folder

All custom folders are created at the same level. Once you have created a new folder, simply drag and drop the folder into another folder to create a sub folder.

Deleting a Custom Folder

To delete a folder, click on the Delete Folder icon while the folder you wish to delete is highlighted.

Sorting Messages within a Folder

You can sort the messages in any folder. Simply click on the column header of the section that you want to sort by (e.g. To, Subject, etc.), and the messages will be redisplayed accordingly. To reverse the sort order, for example, from Z to A, click on the column header again.

Bulk Mail Button

The Bulk Mail button will move your selected message(s) to the "Bulk Mail" folder for processing.

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Managing Preferences

E-Mail Preferences

The Preferences panel can be opened by clicking the ‘Preferences’ button in the Dock (upper right corner). There is also a preferences button under the folder list.

General E-Mail Preferences

The General Preferences section is the first page displayed after clicking the Preferences link.

Important: Not all e-mail services support the Request for Return Receipt feature. If you send a request to an e-mail address where the feature is not supported, the recipient will not receive your request.

Account Preferences

Click on your e-mail address within the Preferences window to display Account Preferences for that e-mail account.

Note: External e-mail accounts do not have an auto-check interval. You must press the Check Mail button.


You can create as many distinct signatures as you like to use in different types of messages. For example, you might have one signature that you use on professional correspondence and another for personal letters. To create a signature, click New Signature, name the signature in the left panel, and type the contents of the signature in the preview pane. The name of the signature does not appear in the message; it's just a way for you to keep track of your signatures.

When Automatically Insert Default Signature is checked, your signature will automatically appear when composing a message.

When you have specified one or more signatures, they will appear in the Insert Signature menu at the bottom of an e-mail window. If you have not chosen to Automatically Insert Default Signature, use this menu to select and insert a signature.

Note: Signatures are also available for use with external accounts.

Blocked Sender List

If you do not want to receive messages from a particular person, add their e-mail address to this list. If you do not want to receive e-mail from an entire company, add their domain name (i.e.:badspammer.com) to this list. To accept e-mail from that person or company again, just remove their address from this list by clicking Unblock.

E-mail from these domains/addresses is placed in your Bulk Mail folder or deleted (depending on your selection).

Note: This feature is not available for external accounts.


Filters, sometimes called rules, can be accessed via the Filters tab in preferences. Filters are a set of conditions and actions that you can create to process and automatically organize or forward incoming messages. You can add a new filter or set an existing filter to be active (or not). Filters can also be duplicated or deleted.

Note: This feature is not available for external accounts.


With Optimum Online E-mail, you can set up an auto-reply to let people know you will be away from e-mail for a while. To set up a vacation message, simply check "Activate Automatic Vacation Response," enter your message in the field provided and click "Save." Optimum Online E-mail will automatically reply to incoming messages with your vacation message.

Uncheck the "Activate Automatic Vacation Response" box to deactivate the vacation message.

External Mail (POP) Accounts

You can configure Optimum Online E-mail to access additional Optimum Online E-mail accounts as well as non-Optimum POP-enabled e-mail accounts, like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. So you can use this program as a central location to access all of your e-mail!

To connect to an external POP account:

  1. Click Preferences from the top of your Optimum Online E-mail screen.
  2. Click the Add Account button from within the preferences window.
  3. Enter the external e-mail address and password. Make sure "Set up account automatically" is checked and click "continue."
  4. Verify the account information and click "Save."

Important: You may need to provide additional configuration settings and/or activate POP functionality for your external e-mail account before you can access your messages within Optimum Online E-mail. Please refer to your other e-mail service provider for the settings specific to that e-mail account.

Some notes about connecting to an external POP account: POP accounts will have an Inbox, Sent and Trash. You cannot create custom folders under a POP account. E-mail will be downloaded into the Inbox. Sent and Trash are not synchronized with the external mail account - only messages you send and delete from Optimum Online E-Mail will display in these folders.