Microsoft’s metro-style Outlook.com has launched and is already receiving plenty of praise for its ease of use and clean approach to design. Early adopters are also going to be treated to a much bigger choice of possible email addresses when they sign up.
Hurry through this process and if you're lucky you might find all sorts of juicy addresses still free. We’ve already managed to create a Batman-themed one as well as a a personalised address for Qui Gonn Jinn.
If you are after something a bit more realistic, you might even manage your name without all the 1s and 2s usually needed - unless it’s John Smith, of course.
Step 1: Go to Outlook.com
A bit of an obvious start we know, but Outlook.com is the place to be for signing up for Microsoft’s new email service. Right below the picture of the rather trendy looking hipster is a clickable sign-up link. Hit that.
Don't worry if you already have a Hotmail address or Live account, you can dodge the entire process by signing in with your normal password and address in the box that says Microsoft account above it. Doing so will allow you to skip step 2.
Step 2: Hand over your details
At the top of the page you should see that there is the option to sign in using things like a Hotmail or Live address. This means if you are already set up with one of the old Microsoft services, Outlook.com will just get up and running straight away.
Otherwise you need to hand over all your personal details. There is also the option here to choose your personal email address. Experiment and see what you can get away with, but you would be amazed at how many options are still left.
Step 3: Rename your account or make an alias
Go to settings and under the "Managing your account" section choose either to "Create a Outlook alias" or "Rename your email address". The former means you can create an alias for your Hotmail account. That's handy if you want still to use your Hotmail account on your Windows Phone or Xbox Live, without breaking it.
If you don't care about that and are happy to reset those devices, opt for the "Rename your email address" option.
Step 4: Start using Outlook
After the relatively painless sign-up process, Outlook will fire up straight away. This is when things get interesting as Microsoft has done some brilliant work to simplify email.
Your inbox should open immedieatey. On the left are clickable tabs to things like junk, drafts and your sent mail. You can create folders in which to store collections of emails.
The really useful part of Outlook.com is the Quick Views tab. This essentially searches your mail for anything like spreadsheets or Word documents and then collates them all under one single tab.
Connect various social networks to your Outlook address and you should see a feed from friends appearing on the right-hand side of your mailbox, amazingly in place of things like adverts.
Outlook.com also lets you import contacts from other email addresses as well as to set up so mail from your other accounts is forwarded to your Outlook address. All this is done via the selection of grey boxes on the right of the screen.
Like the sound of the new Outlook service? Let us know in the comments below ...