Outlook is a great email service offered by Microsoft as part of its Office package. Creating an Outlook email account is completely free for personal use. In this article I will explain:
- What is Outlook
- How to create an Outlook account
- Create a new Hotmail account (Outlook)
- How to secure your new Outlook account with two step verification
- How to create a personalized email address with Outlook
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A bit of background: what is Outlook email?
Outlook is the email service offered by Microsoft. Over time, the name of the email service from Microsoft changed several times. In the past, it was called Live mail, Hotmail and MSN mail. The good thing is that old Microsoft accounts (with a different domain such as @live.com) can still be used with Outlook!
Let’s now take a look at what makes a Microsoft Outlook Email account great. The first good point of an Outlook email account is its enhanced safety available for all users. With the growth of cyber crimes (such as identity theft), the safety of your email account is becoming more and more important! When choosing an email provider (like Outlook), the safety of your data should always be one of the most important criteria. Fortunately, Outlook is well encrypted and extremely safe. Outlook also offers a two step verification process (comparable to what online banks do). Later in this article, I will explain how to set up two step verification to secure your account against cyber criminals.
Can I have more than one Outlook account?
Do you already have an Outlook or Hotmail account (remember, Outlook and Hotmail are the same)? Don’t worry, you can always create a new Hotmail/Outlook account for free. Having more than one email account is really useful. For example, you could create a new Outlook account to use only for very important communication. You can also create a new Hotmail account to use for unimportant emails or to register to websites. However in this case I would recommend you to use a 10 minute email service instead! This will fully protect you from spam.
Outlook Create Account: How to?
Now that you know what an Outlook (or Hotmail) account is, it is time to learn how to create a new Outlook account. This is really simple and can be done from both your mobile device or your PC/Laptop. However, I would recommend creating a new Hotmail account from your PC or laptop.
How to create new Hotmail account (Outlook) from your PC or Laptop
The first step to creating a new Outlook account is to go to https://outlook.live.com/owa/. If you are not already logged in with another Outlook account, this will bring you to the page to create a new Outlook account. In case you are already logged in with another Outlook account, you will be redirected to the inbox of your old email account.
If you landed in the inbox of your old Outlook account, click on your initials on the top right of the page and then click “Sign out” (as in picture below).
This will bring you to the homepage of Outlook. If you now go back to https://outlook.live.com/owa/, you will land on the starting page to create a new account.
Click “Create free account” to start creating your free Outlook/Hotmail free email account.
This will bring you to the page to create your new Microsoft account. As I previously said, Outlook and Hotmail are the same, being a Microsoft email account. This becomes really clear at this point of the Account creation process. In fact, you can now choose whether you want to have an @outlook email address or an @hotmail email address. As there is no technical difference between the two, just choose the one you like the most. Same goes for the letters after the “.”. You can choose between “.com” or “.your home country” (in our case “.ie”).
Fill in your email address in the “New email” field (see below) and click Next.
As an email address needs to be unique, you cannot create an email address that is already used by someone else. For example, if you try to create an email address with a really common name, like “email@example.com” Outlook will inform you that the email address is already used (see screenshot below). If you cannot come out with any good new ideas for your email address, you can always click “claim one of these that’s available”. This way Microsoft will suggest some available email addresses similar to the one you wanted to create.
After clicking “Next” you will land on the page to create your password. Choosing a secure password is very important for your safety, so when you create a new Hotmail account, you will not be allowed to use a simple and unsecure password. The minimum requirements to create a password are: “Passwords must have at least 8 characters and contain at least two of the following: uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols”. If your password does not match the requirements, you will get a red warning and you will not be allowed to continue with the Outlook create account process. Just fill in a safe password and click “Next”. I suggest not selecting “I would like information, tips, and offers about Microsoft products and services”, else you will get advertisement from Microsoft.
The next step will be to fill in your First and Last name. Fill them in and click “Next”. After that, you will be asked to select your “Country/Region” and fill in your date of birth. It is important to correctly select the region, as this enables the full potential of your Outlook email address. After filling in your data click “Next”.
At this point, you will be asked to verify the fact that you are a human and not a “robot” trying to create an email address. You can verify this by either entering the characters from a picture (as below) or by listening to an audio and type in the text you heard. As the characters you need to read are automatically generated, they are not always easy to read. In case you have issues reading the characters, just click “New” to get new characters. After filling the verification characters, click “Next” to continue towards the final steps of the creation of your new Outlook email account.
Congratulations! The Outlook create account process is finished and you are already in your new Hotmail/Outlook email inbox. You can already start using your Outlook email account. However, I would strongly recommend securing your account with a two step verification process before starting to use it.
How to secure your new Hotmail account with two step verification
Two step verification means that you will have to both insert your password and verify your identity to login to your Outlook account with a new device. The verification of your identity is done via an app on your phone. This way, you will have to know your password and have access to your mobile phone to sign in to your account. This makes it very difficult for cyber criminals to hack your new Hotmail account as they do not have physical access to your phone.
Install the Microsoft authenticator app
The first step to activate two step verification is to install the Microsoft authenticator app on your phone. The app is freely available on the Play Store for Android and on the App Store for iPhone.
Insert an alternative email address or a phone number
The second step is to activate your two step verification from your Microsoft account. Go to the Microsoft security center and click “Two-step verification Turn on”.
Before activating two step verification you will be asked to insert an alternative email address or phone number. This is needed in case you lose your password. Without registering a phone number or alternative email address you will not be able to recover your password and you will lose your email address forever! Fill in either a phone number or an email address and click “Next”. Insert the confirmation code you received on your alternative email or phone number and click “Next”.
After doing this, you will be asked to fill in your recovery email address (or phone number) to get a second verification code. Fill in your recovery email address and click “Send code”. Insert the code you just received and click continue.
Finally activate your two step verification
At this point you need to open the Authenticator app from your phone, tap the three dots on the top right of the page and then tap “+ Add account” and then select “Personal account”.
This will open a popup to add a personal account to Outlook. Select “Sign in with Microsoft”.
Fill in your Email address and click Next. The next step is to fill in your password and click Next.
Outlook will now verify your identity by sending a confirmation code to your alternative email address. Select your email address by tapping on it (as in screenshot below).
As you noticed, your alternative email address is partially masked with “****”. Outlook will now ask you to fill in your full email address. This is an extra step to verify that it is really you. This is a smart trick as hackers cannot know your alternative email address. Fill in your alternative email address and click “Send code”. This will send a verification code to your alternative email address.
Go to the inbox of your alternative email address and refresh it. You should find an email with a confirmation code in there. Note down the code and fill it in in the Outlook Authenticator app. Note that I encountered a bug at this point. In fact, the keyboard of my mobile would not open and I would not be able to fill in the code. If this also happens to you, just lock and unlock your phone and the bug will be fixed.
Congratulations, you are done creating your new Outlook account and adding the two step verification!
How to create a customized email address in Outlook/Hotmail
If you want to have a more professional email address, you can choose to get a personalized email domain instead of an Outlook domain (@outlook or @hotmail). In this case, your new Hotmail account will no longer be free and you will have to pay a few dollars for it. But let’s face it, a personalized email address (such as @yourcompany.com) looks much more professional. If you want to give good credibility to your business, you really need a personalized email address.
Fortunately, a personalized email address is included in the Microsoft 365 subscription. I would really recommend getting a Microsoft 365 subscription as it will also give you access to the premium version of the Outlook app and all the Microsoft Office (such as Word Excel and PowerPoint). By using this link, you can get the Microsoft 365 subscription for just $6.99 per month!
Get the best out of your new created Outlook account
An Outlook account can really boost your productivity. Let’s take a look at some steps you can take to get the best out of your outlook account.
Connect your new Outlook account to your mobile phone
Connecting your Hotmail account to your mobile will allow you to receive your mail on your mobile in real time. This functionality is called “Push notification” and it will prevent you from reading emails too late. How to do this? Easy. Just download the Outlook app (from the Playstore for Android and from the App store for iOS) and login with your credentials!
Use the Outlook calendar
Outlook offers much more than just emails! In fact, it also offers a great calendar function. By using the Outlook calendar you can create meetings and invite people to your meetings in just a few clicks. You will also be able to read your calendar appointments from any device where you are signed in. This means that if you create a meeting from your phone via the Outlook app, you will be able to also see if from your PC and laptop
Create a nice email signature
Have you noticed that many people have a nice text with their name and profession at the end of their emails? This is called email signature and it is your business card in the digital world. How important is it to have a good business card during business meetings? A good email signature is as important to give yourself the credibility you deserve. The good thing is that an email signature is completely free to create and use. Take a look at our free article and learn how to create a great one in just a few minutes!
Alternatives to Outlook/Hotmail email account
An Outlook account is surely one of the best free email hosting services available on the market. In addition to that, you can even get a customized email address for free as part of your Microsoft 365 plan. However, Google’s Gmail is a great alternative to Microsoft Outlook. To be honest, both Gmail and Hotmail have pros and cons and there is no definite answer on which of the two is the best free email hosting service. The only sure thing about Hotmail and Gmail is that they are the best two free email hosting services and that everybody should have both a Gmail and a Hotmail account.