Although it’s the content of an email that really matters, formatting can be a good way to add clarity, emphasis or even a bit of fun. AOL Mail gives you the ability to change the format of the text in your messages much in the same way you can in a word processor like Microsoft Word.
So, this post will serve as a crash course in email formatting options in AOL Mail. We’ll go through all of the basic tools you can use to change font style, size, color, etc.
In this tutorial, we’ll assume you have already created an AOL account, know how to sign in to your AOL Mail inbox, and compose a basic email. We will start on the “Compose” screen with a blank email like this:
Formatting toolbar in AOL Mail
All of your formatting options for emails can be conveniently found in one place: the formatting toolbar. This is located at the top of the composition screen, between the “Subject” line and the body of the email.
However, if you don’t see it there—if it’s just a white space with no format buttons—don’t worry.
Just go up to the main action buttons in the toolbar above the “To:” field. The second from the right has the familiar B, I, and U for bold, italics and underline, respectively. Clicking on this button will show or hide the formatting toolbar. So, if there is no toolbar under the subject line, all you need to do is click on this button, and it should appear.
Email formatting options in AOL Mail
For the sake of illustration, in this tutorial I will use the sample email shown below. We’ll start with the basic, unformatted text, and then play with each of the AOL formatting buttons in order from left to right. (Obviously, you don’t have to use them all when writing your own emails.)
The first formatting option, on the far left, has a button that looks like two capital “F”s. This button is used to change the font style. Arial is the default font in AOL Mail, but you can change any text in your message by highlighting it to select, clicking on the “FF” icon, and choosing the new font from the list of options. I’m going to change the font in my entire email to Tahoma:
Moving to the right in the formatting toolbar, the next button looks like two capital “A”s, a large one and a smaller one. This is what you will use if you want to change the font size in your email. 10 pt is the default font size, and you can choose a font as small as 8 pt or as large as 36 pt. In my example, I’m going to change the font of just the first section of the email to size 14 pt:
These next few buttons might look familiar to you if you have spent any time using a word processor program. In order, they are the Bold, Italics and Underline tools. To bold any text in your email, just highlight it and click on the “B” for bold.
Note: You can also use the standard hotkeys here, such as Ctrl + B to bold text on Windows OS.
Just after bold, we have “I” for italics.
Followed by “U” for underline.
Next, you have a button that looks like a small eyedropper, which is an icon that is often used to mean color selection. In AOL Mail, this is how you change the color of your font. All you have to do is use your mouse to highlight the text that you want to change to a new color, click on the eyedropper, and then choose your desired color.
Darker colors are usually best for most emails with a standard white background because they are easier to read.
The button to the right of the font color icon allows you to change the background or highlight color of the text. You may have guessed this from the fact that the icon itself looks like a pen being used to highlight something. Just like with font color, just select the text you want to “highlight”, click on the button and select the highlight color.
When your font color is dark, light colors are preferred for highlighting to aid in readability.
Moving to the right, you will now see the text alignment option. You can choose to have your message be aligned left (default), centered, or aligned right. Just select the text whose alignment you wish to change, click on the alignment icon, and choose your desired alignment. In this example, I’m going to center just one line of text to make it stand out:
If your email will include a list of some sort, formatting it with either numbers or bullets can be helpful for the recipient. The next button, whose icon looks like a numbered list, allows you to add numbers or bullet points to your email in AOL Mail. Since I have included step by step directions to my house in this sample email, I will create a numbered list by selecting those lines, clicking on the list button, and choosing “Numbered List”.
The next button allows you to increase or decrease the indent of any text in your message. For example, if I want to set off my email sign-off, I can just select those two lines, click on the indent button, and click on “Increase Indent” as many times as it takes to get the text where I want it to be. I only had to increase it one time to shift it to where it is in this sample email (see the completed email at the bottom of the post).
A horizontal line can be a good way to clearly divide an email into different sections. You could type one in with a bunch of repeated hyphens or underscores, but AOL Mail has an easier way. First, click on the line where you want the horizontal line to go, as if you were going to type on that line. I’ve marked this line with a star, and you can see that my blinking cursor is there. Then, click on the horizontal line button, and a line will be inserted right there.
Emoticons, emojis, smileys… whatever you like to call them, they have practically become a language of their own. While generally not appropriate for formal emails, they can be fun to add to personal messages.
Just like with the horizontal line, you need to click on the spot where you want to insert the smiley, so that your cursor is blinking there, as if you were going to type. As in the previous example, I’ve marked my cursor with a star so you can see where the smiley will end up. Then, just click on the smiley button and choose your desired emoticon. It will appear wherever your cursor was blinking when you selected it.
Finally, there is something called “Stationery” in AOL Mail, which—in theory—allows you to add festive backgrounds to your emails for special occasions. However, I was not able to get this option to work despite trying several times in various ways. I suspect that you are supposed to get a menu of stationery options when you click on the button, from which you would then make your selection, but I was never able to get anything to happen after clicking on it. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did!
And that is all of your formatting tools in AOL Mail! Here is a zoomed-out version of my sample email so that you can see everything we did to it in one shot:
Now you have all the knowledge you need to add a personal touch to all of your emails with formatting options. To keep your AOL account secure, make sure you check our next post on security tips for AOL Mail.
I was hoping to give you a tutorial today on using AOL’s famous chat app, AIM instant messenger, but unfortunately, it would be pointless. AIM chat was officially shut down last month, on December 15, 2017. This affects all AIM products and services, including associated data (sent and received files, chat logs, etc.) that wasn’t backed up somewhere else prior to that date.
If you use AOL Mail, you should know that your email account is still fine and operational. The only difference now is you will no longer see some email options that had to do with AIM, like displaying your screen name and online status on AIM in your emails.
You can find more detailed information on AOL’s help pages. When you try to go to the old AIM homepage, www.aim.com, you will be automatically redirected to the help page about the instant messenger shut down.
Why was AIM chat discontinued?
The first questions that are listed on the AIM messenger help page ask why the chat app was discontinued, and what new product has replaced it. As you can see, the answers given to these questions are not particularly satisfying.
However, a statement from a spokesperson from AOL’s new parent company (which also owns Verizon and Yahoo, among other major brands) offers a better explanation, saying that AIM was a pioneer in its day, “But the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed.”
Knowing that many people had given up AIM chat years ago in favor of newer products like Facebook, WhatsApp, or SnapChat, the decision to shut down the instant messenger didn’t exactly come as a surprise. Still, the program had just celebrated its 20th birthday, so there is still a bit of a nostalgic sting to the loss.
Nor is this a decision without precedent—MSN Messenger was discontinued the year before (it was no longer needed due to Microsoft’s ownership of Skype), and Yahoo Messenger was also shut down (and later reincarnated).
So, instead of a tutorial, this post is a farewell to AIM chat. You can almost hear its iconic sign out notification sound as the door closes one last time.
These days, with mobile devices having become extensions of our physical person, any email that can’t be accessed through a mobile app is almost not worth bothering with. If you can’t check your mail on the go, you may as well have fallen off the grid compared to the rest of the constantly-connected world. With your AOL Mail account, you can stay connected virtually anywhere using the AOL App on the majority of mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets running Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.).
The official website and help pages offer lots of useful information about the AOL App, more than we could possibly get into in this post. But we will cover the basics, including what you can expect to get when you download the AOL mobile app, some of its core features, and how to install it on all your devices.
What is the AOL App?
AOL’s mobile app combines their most-used services into a single application for Android and iOS operating systems: AOL Mail, news, and videos.
Basically, you can do anything you would normally do in AOL Mail in a streamlined version on your phone or tablet, with optional push notifications so you never miss an important email.
From the AOL App official homepage, aolapps.aol.com, you can access some frequently asked questions about what the application can do, and tutorials for using the mobile version of your mailbox, newsfeed, etc.
You can also find information and download links from the AOL help pages, at help.aol.com/products/aol-app
How to download the AOL App
There are a few ways you can locate the right version of the AOL mobile app for your device. First, as you saw earlier, there are download links on the app’s homepage for Android, iOS and Amazon. All of these buttons will take you to the official market for each type of device (Play Store, iTunes, and Amazon, respectively).
Likewise, you can use the links from the help pages to do the same thing.
The other option is to search directly from your device’s app market, which might be the most convenient route if you have your phone or tablet in hand right now. Since most devices have an icon on the home screen or in the app drawer for this purpose, it’s just a matter of opening it up and searching for the AOL App in your device’s official store.
For example, Android users can simply open up the Google Play Store on their smartphone or tablet, and type “AOL” in the search bar. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you would follow basically the same steps, only using the iTunes App Store to do your search.
You will get a page of search results listed in order of relevance usually. Approximately the first two rows are apps developed by AOL, but the one you want to download is the first one, “AOL-News, Mail &…”. Click on the thumbnail to go to the detail page, where you can get more information, see screenshots of the AOL App, and download it to your Android device.
Here, on the AOL App detail page, you can scroll through screen shots of the application so that you can decide whether you like it or not before downloading. There is also a description of the app and its functions and features farther down on the page, along with user reviews. Up at the top is the “Install” button. Tapping on this will start the download on your device, and then it will be installed automatically.
Most devices will automatically create a shortcut icon for the new AOL App that you’ve installed, placing it on either the home screen or in the app drawer. All you need to do at this point is tap on it to open, and then sign in to your AOL Mail account using the username/email and password that you would normally use on your PC.
Email is a great way to stay in touch with contacts and get all the latest news from your favorite websites. But you know what’s not so great? Spam messages. The more you use your AOL email address to register on websites for online shopping, email newsletters, special offers, online services, etc., the more likely you are to see unwanted messages showing up in your inbox.
Sometimes, email platforms like AOL Mail have built-in spam filters and will automatically sort out emails that look suspicious. They don’t get everything, though, so it is possible that you will have to go in and manually mark and delete spam in your AOL Mail account. In this post, we’ll show you how to do just that, so that you don’t have unwanted and potentially dangerous emails cluttering up your inbox.
For this tutorial, we’re going to assume you have your AOL account created and that you know how to log in. We’ll be starting from the AOL Mail main page, where you can see the email navigation menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
How to mark emails as spam in AOL Mail
The “Spam” folder is a default folder in your AOL account, listed in the left menu underneath “Sent” mail. You can check what’s in there at any time by clicking on it in the list. Depending on how actively you have been using your AOL email address, you may find that there are already some messages in there. For new accounts, though, it will most likely be empty.
There are two simple ways to mark an email as spam so that it gets moved into the “Spam” folder. First, you can do it without opening the message, straight from your inbox view. Second, you can label an opened email as spam as you are reading it.
Mark a message as spam from your AOL inbox
Often, you can tell just by looking at the sender or the subject line of an email that it’s spam. And, considering that there can be dangerous links and attachments in spam messages, there is good reason not to want to even open an email that you suspect is spam. Fortunately, you don’t have to open an email in AOL in order to send it to the “Spam” folder—you can do this directly from the list view in your inbox.
This is a two-step process. First, find the unwanted email in your inbox, and check the box next to it in order to select it. (You can also select multiple messages at once to label them all as spam simultaneously).
When you have at least one email checked off, some action icons will appear at the top of your AOL Mail inbox. Second from the left is a button that looks like a “Do Not Enter” sign. This is the button to “Mark as Spam” any emails you have selected. Simply click it, and any “checked” messages will be moved to the “Spam” folder.
Mark a message as spam with the email open
If you are reading an email and you realize that it’s spam after it’s been opened, you can label it as such with just one click.
With the email open, you will see several icons at the top of the email with actions you can take. The second button from the right looks like a “Do Not Enter” sign (just like the one in the inbox view) and is used to label the open email as spam. All you have to do is click on it, and the email you were looking at will be sent to the “Spam” folder.
AOL Mail spam folder
Whichever of the two methods you use to mark an email as spam, you will get a small pop-up confirmation saying that it was successfully moved to the “Spam” folder.
If you don’t believe me, you can click on “Spam” in the left-hand menu to view the folder and everything that is inside. As you can see, the message I moved is right here where it ought to be.
While you are inside the “Spam” folder, you have an option to mark emails there as “Not Spam” by clicking on the round “OK” button at the top of the screen. In theory, you can just check the box next to the email that was moved here by mistake, and then click the button.
However, I would advise you to be very careful when marking spam email in AOL Mail. When I tried to do this, the message did leave the “Spam” folder, but it did not go back to my “Inbox”. I was actually not able to find it anywhere, so use caution when you do this.
(Because I was not able to recover that email, I had to move a different one to the “Spam” folder for this next step.)
Keep in mind that moving an email to the “Spam” folder doesn’t technically delete it. Most email platforms will automatically delete spam messages after 30 days or so, but you can also empty this folder manually.
When you are inside your AOL Mail “Spam” folder, you will see a small trash can icon next to the folder name in the left-hand menu. Clicking on this will permanently delete all the messages in the “Spam” folder.
And that’s all there is to know about marking and deleting spam messages in AOL Mail! Make sure you check out our next post about the mobile apps you can use to manage your AOL account on the go.