The Curse of email addresses

Office for Mere Mortals
Your beginners guide to the secrets of Microsoft Office
Invalid email address
Tips and help for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook from Microsoft Office experts.  Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.  Office for Mere Mortals has been running for over 20 years, we've never, ever revealed or sold subscriber details.  Privacy policy

Do you know all the email addresses you have available?

Remember when you got your first email address? What an exciting time, giving it out to friends and hoping for incoming emails. Even your first spam might have been interesting.

These days the problem for many people isn’t one email address but the many they’ve accumulated over time. We’ve noticed many cases of people ‘not getting’ an email only to discover that it was sent to one of their email addresses, one they didn’t expect.

Not everyone properly updates their address book when people change email addresses or they might use an alternative address without realising (the AutoComplete options in email clients like Outlook can perpetuate the use of obsolete addresses).

Companies and online accounts will keep the email address you gave them and it’s easy to lose track and not update them all.

In this issue we’ll talk about the addresses you might have and keeping track of them.


What addresses do I have?

While you may have one ‘main’ address you use, mostly likely there are other email accounts or aliases you’ve created or had created for you.

Here are just a few suggestions:



  • Created by an ISP when setting up an Internet connection.

  • Work email accounts

  • Club or hobby related

  • From any domain you’ve purchased

  • Email aliases created on your behalf.

And last, but hardly least …



  • Web based email addresses with Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail or many others.

Using email aliases is a great idea for managing email, especially if you have your own domain and can control all the email names for an entire domain.  See our feature on ‘The Five Types of Email Addresses‘ But that control comes with the responsibility to keep a track of what aliases and accounts are used and why.


Make a little list

It’s a good idea to make a list of the email addresses and aliases you have – both current and obsolete. This will help you ‘corral’ your email addresses and accounts into some order.

It will help you find a message that has gone astray – you can check all the possible locations for a missing message. Email aliases re-direct messages from one address to another account so you need to know where messages to an alias address end up going.

Your list could contain the following information:

Email accounts:



  • Email address

  • Password

  • Server access details; POP, SMTP or IMAP

  • Any re-direction of messages to this address.

Email aliases:



  • Email address

  • Where msgs to the address are forwarded.

  • How to change the alias re-direction (login details or contact person).


Let none of them be missed

Make sure you include obsolete addresses in your list. Even though you might not use the address anymore or the address doesn’t work, the address might be recorded for you on some web site, company or person. Even a general web search can reveal old email addresses, some naïve people believe that an address they find on the web must always be current.


True Story: about a year ago an old friend said they’d been emailing me but the messages were bounced. I thought that was strange until I discovered he was using an old Compuserve address that I haven’t used for over a decade!

Latest news & secrets of Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office experts give you tips and help for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.  Office Watch has been running for over 20 years, we've never, ever revealed or sold subscriber details.  Privacy policy
Invalid email address