This article is part of a larger series on Business Email.
If you’re looking for advanced features in business-class email, Outlook is virtually unbeatable. With multiple apps at your fingertips (e.g., tasks, notes, calendar, and contacts), you can easily correspond, set up automated workflows to save time, craft complex rules to manage your inbox, and sync everything across all your devices. We explain how to set up your Outlook business email step by step below.
1. Select a Microsoft 365 Plan
To start, visit Microsoft 365’s website. Review the plans that come with Outlook business email by clicking on “Microsoft 365” at the top of the page and choosing the “Business” button. Once you find the one with the apps your business needs, click the “Buy now” button.
Compare Microsoft Outlook Business Email Plans
Open the tabs below to decide which plan best fits the needs of your business (each plan comes with a 30-day free trial):
Follow the prompts to set up your account, decide how to sign in, and input your business details and payment information. When everything is complete, confirm the details to continue your Microsoft 365 account and new business email setup.
2. Connect Your Domain (or Buy One)
Next, indicate whether you will connect a business domain name you already own or buy a new one for Microsoft 365 business email setup in Outlook. If you have a domain, select “Use a domain name you already own.” Then, input your domain name in the bar below and click “Verify ownership” to begin the domain verification process.
If you don’t already own a domain name, you can purchase one directly from Microsoft during the setup process. Alternatively, you can buy one from a domain name registrar like Domain.com for around $12 to $15 a year.
On a tight budget but need a domain? Check out some legitimate ways to get a free email domain with other services your business needs.
Verify Ownership of Your Business Email Domain
After inputting your domain name, Microsoft will look up your domain and request that you verify ownership of it by adding your domain’s DNS settings. This involves copying the provided TXT record information from Microsoft to your domain’s corresponding settings.
To do this, navigate to the domain name registrar you used to purchase your domain. Where to find your DNS settings will vary based on where you bought your domain name. We included links to set up information for several popular domain registrars below.
Once you’ve found the settings, copy the TXT value from Microsoft and paste it into your domain’s TXT value so the two match.
After updating your domain name’s DNS settings with Microsoft’s TXT record, navigate back to Microsoft and click the “I’ve added TXT record” button. Keep in mind that it can take up to 10 minutes to verify your DNS records. Once it’s been verified, you can move on to the next step of creating an Outlook email for business.
3. Create Your Email Address
Next, you will be prompted to input your email user ID and create and confirm a password to finish the email setup process and start using Outlook. The user ID is the username you want to use for your email address (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you’re unsure what to use for your email ID, learn more about choosing a professional email address format. After inputting your desired email address and password, click the “Sign up” button.
The format you decide on for your professional email in Outlook is important for brand consistency going forward. To be sure you have landed on the best format for your brand’s business email, read our list of professional email address ideas and examples.
4. Complete Your Purchase
The last step in Microsoft 365 business email setup is to add your payment and billing details. After verifying your domain and creating your email address, you’ll be asked to input the number of accounts (or user seats) you want to purchase. This is where you can add additional users for your business under the same plan.
After choosing the number of accounts to buy, click the “Next” button and input your billing information. When done, click “Next” again and input your payment information. Once you’ve completed the payment, you can access your new account and use your business Outlook email.
Next Steps After Setting Up Outlook Business Email
Now that you know how to set up Outlook business email and you’ve completed the steps above, it’s time to put this powerful app to work for your business. There are dozens of Microsoft Outlook features that can streamline your business email. Here are some basics to help you get more from your Outlook business email right out of the gate:
- Customize settings: On your Microsoft Outlook inbox, click on the “File” menu in the top-left corner of the Outlook window and select “Options.” From here, customize your inbox’s theme, font size, and notification settings. You can also access these settings straight from the Outlook ribbon by clicking on the “Home” tab and choosing “Options.”
- Set up calendar and contacts: Set up and customize meeting scheduling and contact storage tools by choosing either “Calendar” or “People” in the bottom left corner of the Outlook window. Outlook also allows you to sync with an existing email calendar, import, share, or create multiple calendars from the “File” menu.
- Organize your inbox: Use folders, flags, and categories to organize your inbox and keep track of important emails. Streamline email management and handling using filters and multi-layered rules.
- Add add-ons or plugins: Install add-ons from the Office Store to enhance your inbox functionality and integrate it with other apps and services. Although the best add-ons and plugins depend on your business needs, some of the most popular ones include Trello, Boomerang, ClearContext, and Evernote.
- Turn on sync with other devices: Set up Outlook to sync with your other devices (smartphone or tablet) to stay connected from anywhere. Download the Outlook app, one of our top picks for the best email apps in the market.
Ready to start exploring the advanced features and tools you get with business Outlook email? Get a closer look at the top reasons why businesses choose Outlook in our review of Microsoft business email.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, you can use the Outlook email app for free and even create a free Outlook email address (e.g., email@example.com). However, this doesn’t allow you to use a branded domain for business email, so it’s not best for business use. There are ways to get a free email domain—for example, the purchase of a domain with IONOS comes with a free email account. You can connect to Outlook, but you’ll still need a Microsoft 365 plan to do so.
Outlook can be better than Gmail in terms of security, email automation, and customization. However, Gmail vs Outlook would be good for different types of businesses. Gmail business email is great for remote teams or businesses that value collaboration, ease of use, and smart features. On the other hand, Outlook is excellent for larger companies needing extra security and advanced features.
SaasGenius reports that Gmail (and Google Workspace) has nearly 50% of the market share with smaller businesses. However, Microsoft 365 (and Outlook) holds the edge when it comes to the sheer number of features and tools available to users—attractive to large-scale operations. In fact, more than 80% of organizations with $10 billion in revenue rely on Outlook’s cloud email solution.
The main differences between Microsoft 365’s Home vs Business Office suite plans are pricing and the apps included. Home plans cost $6.99 to $9.99 with monthly billing and can be shared with up to five users, whereas Business plans range from $3 to $22 per user, per month. But business plans also include more apps, including Microsoft Teams’ collaboration and chat capabilities, plus tools for video conferencing and webinars.
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are both top choices for business email. Each comes with a suite of productivity and collaboration tools. Google Workspace (and Gmail) is usually preferred by collaborative teams, while heavy email users or those wanting automations and integrations will get more from Microsoft business email via Outlook business.
Microsoft Outlook is one of the best email providers for small businesses, thanks to sophisticated software and advanced features. The process for setting up a business email on Outlook is fairly straightforward and can be completed in a few minutes. Once complete, you’ll have access to advanced and varied features you can use for sales, marketing, operations, customer service, and more.
With your Microsoft 365 Office software plan comes world-class email in Outlook and a full suite of productivity and collaboration tools, including Microsoft Teams, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. Get started with Microsoft’s 30-day free trial today.