If you need to email friends or colleagues in a hurry, then you'll find Windows 8 Metro offers a quick and easy way of managing all your messages. Here's how to set up email in Windows 8.

Email is vital for all of us these days, whether at work or at home. In many instances, it's the only way to communicate certain types of information; a spreadsheet, for example. Capable of providing more detail than texting and able to support attachments, it holds its own against other, newer ways of communicating such as Twitter or Facebook.

Microsoft's operating system has supported email for a long time, and Windows 8 has integrated email support. This time around there's an email app within the Metro interface, providing a visually rich, finger friendly way of managing messages. If you've used a Windows Phone, the interface will be familiar; if not you'll find things look and feel rather different to the way they do within Outlook, but getting to grips with everything is easy.

The email client in Metro has its limitations, and if you don't want to use it then you've got the alternative of Windows Live Mail in the desktop view. This looks a lot like Outlook and may be preferable for some people. Here, though, we'll show you how to set up and use the Metro email client. (See also: Windows 8: the complete guide.)

Set up email in Windows 8

1 When you first create an account in Windows 8 you'll be offered the opportunity to log in with your Windows Live ID. If you don't have one, it's worth setting one up. Once you've done that, and signed into Windows, open the Metro interface and click on the Mail icon.

Window 8 Mail app

2 You'll see a screen with three panes on it. The far left one shows your accounts, the centre pane your messages, and the far right one displays your Hotmail (aka Windows Live) calendar along with any alerts there might be. This is great, but what if you want to add other email accounts?

Window 8 Mail app

3 You can add a new account with the Settings charm. Sweep a finger inwards from the right side of the screen, move the cursor vertically to the top or bottom corners of the right edge of the screen, or hit the Windows key and ‘C' at the same time. Then choose Settings and then Accounts.

Window 8 Mail app

4 A new pane will appear. Tap ‘Add an account' to enter the details for a new email account.

Window 8 Mail app

5 Pick the account type you want from the selection on offer. You can choose between Hotmail, Google and Exchange.

Window 8 Mail app

6 Now just type in your email address and password for the account you want to add, and choose Connect. You can repeat this process to add multiple accounts. If you want to delete an account, just tap and hold, or click and hold on it and a delete option will appear.

Window 8 Mail app

Windows 8: Limited email accounts

As we wrote this guide, we were working with the App Preview rather than the final version of the Metro email client. At this stage, the email client in Windows 8 Metro view would cater only for Hotmail, Gmail and Exchange accounts. It's not clear at present whether you will be able to add other account types in the final version, including POP3 accounts.

If you do end up with just Hotmail, Gmail and Exchange in the metro email client, it will be rather limiting. Anyone relying on other types of email client may find it doesn't hit the mark for them. But if you really need POP accounts, then you can use Windows Live Mail in the desktop view.

Buy The Complete Guide To Windows 8.