While Outlook Express doesn't match a paper and pencil in terms of intuitiveness, once you get familiar with the program, you'll find it faster and more efficient than letter-writing ever was.
The first thing you probably do when you get to work (or wake up, if you tend to sleep under your desk) is check your email. For many, email has become the single most important form of communication. If Outlook Express doesn't automatically check your email when you start it, click the Send/Recv button on the Outlook Express toolbar to check for new messages.
You can also check for new messages by pressing F5.
Outlook Express also checks for new messages every 30 minutes. You can change this setting by choosing Tools→Options; change the number of minutes in the "Check for new messages every" number box, or turn this feature off entirely.
When you get a new mail message, it appears in your message list with bold text and a closed envelope icon next to it, indicating that you haven't read it yet. To read it, click the Inbox icon if necessary, and then click the message's name once in the message list (Figure 12-2).