Setting Up a Gmail Account

If you're new to Gmail getting started is easy. Learn all about setting up a Gmail account here.

Introduction

Setting up a Gmail account is easy. You will begin by creating a Google account, and during the quick signup process you will choose your Gmail account name. In this lesson, we'll show you how to set up your Google account for Gmail, add and edit contacts, and edit your mail settings.

Setting up a Gmail account

To create a Gmail address, you'll first need to create a Google account. Gmail will redirect you to the Google account signup page. You'll need to provide some basic information like your name, birth date, gender, and location. You will also need to choose a name for your new Gmail address. Once you create an account, you'll be able to start adding contacts and adjusting your mail settings.

To create an account:

  1. Go to www.gmail.com.
  2. Click Create account.
    Clicking create an account link
  3. The signup form will appear. Follow the directions and enter the required information.
    Filling in the signup form
  4. Review Google's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, click the check box, then click Next step.
    Clicking the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy check box, then clicking Next step
  5. Here, you'll have an opportunity to set up recovery options. Recovery options are helpful if you forget your password or if someone tries to access your account. If you don't want to set up recovery options at this time, click Done.
    Recovery options page
  6. Your account will be created, and the Google welcome page will appear.
    The Google welcome page for your new account

Just like with any online service, it's important to choose a strong password—in other words, one that is difficult for someone else to guess. For more information, check out our Creating Strong Passwords lesson.

Signing in to your account

When you first create your account, you will be automatically signed in. Most of the time, however, you'll need to sign in to your account and sign out when you're done with it. Signing out is especially important if you're using a shared computer (for example, at a library or office) because it prevents others from viewing your emails.

To sign in:

  1. Go to www.gmail.com.
  2. Type your user name (your email address) and password, then click Sign in.
    Signing in

To sign out:

In the top-right corner of the page, locate the circle that has your first initial (if you've already selected an avatar image, it will show the image instead). To sign out, click the circle and select Sign out.

Signing out

Mail settings

Occasionally, you may want to make adjustments to Gmail's appearance or behavior. For example, you could create a signature or vacation reply, edit your labels, or change the theme. These adjustments can be made from your mail settings.

To access your mail settings:

  1. Click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the page, then select Settings.
    Going to mail settings
  2. From here, you can click any of the categories at the top to edit the desired settings.
    General settings category

Adding contacts

Like all major email providers, Gmail lets you keep an address book of contacts so you don't have to memorize everyone's email addresses. You can also add other contact information, like phone numbers, birthdays, and physical addresses.

To add a contact:

  1. In the Gmail drop-down menu, select Contacts.
    Clicking contacts
  2. Your contacts screen will appear. Click Add new contact.

    Clicking add new contact

  3. Type the person's name or email address. If they have a Google+ profile, it may appear below. Click Create to add the contact.
    Clicking Create to type additional information
  4. You can also type additional contact information if desired. All changes you make will be saved automatically.

    Typing the contact’s name and email address

To edit a contact:

  1. In the Gmail drop-down menu, select Contacts.
    Clicking contacts
  2. Click the contact you want to edit.
    Clicking on a contact
  3. You can now make any changes you want to the contact.
    Editing a contact’s name

By default, when you send an email to a new address, Gmail adds the address to your contacts. You can then go to your contacts to edit the person's information as needed.

Importing mail and contacts

You may already have a contact list from another email address, and it would be a lot of work to re-enter all of this information manually. Gmail allows you to import your contacts from another email account, and you can even import all of your email messages from that account. Several email providers are supported, including Yahoo!, Hotmail, and AOL.

To add other accounts:

  1. Click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the page, then select Settings.
  2. Go to Accounts and click Add a POP3 mail account you own. You can then follow the instructions on the screen to import your mail.
    Importing mail


Challenge!

  1. If you do not already have a Gmail account, create one.
  2. Open Gmail.
  3. Navigate to your Gmail settings.
  4. Set your preferences in your Gmail settings.
  5. Add a new contact. You can either add one you already know, or if you'd like you can create one with the following information:
    Name: Julia Fillory
    Email: jfillory@gmail.com