Pima Community College

woman sitting on couch working on notebook computer

User Guide: Email

red and yellow squares yellow square The D2L course email inbox. A callout explains that course email is email that you can send and receive within D2L only.

The Email tool allows you to send email from within Brightspace. You can also organize received email using folders and store email addresses using the Address Book.

Option Description
Compose Choose Compose to create and send emails.
Refresh Choose Refresh to reload this page and check for new emails.
Folder Management The Folder Management button takes you to a page where you can sort the messages you receive by saving them in folders you have created and organized.
Settings iconSettings Choose Settings to open a page where you can customize your email and display options.

Understanding How Brightspace Email Works

Internal email addresses are addresses created by Brightspace and tied to an instructor or student Brightspace account.

A D2L email inbox. A callout notes that regardless of which course you are in, when you select this Email link from a navbar it will take you to your internal D2L email inbox.


The Address Book window with a list of D2L email addresses that can be inserted into the To:, Cc: and/or Bcc: fields.

Pima uses Course Email, or internal email. Course Email provides students and instructors with an email account that they can use to send and receive emails from other students and instructors in Brightspace. Students and instructors cannot send emails to or receive emails from external email accounts within this system. The system will automatically populate your address book with contacts from the courses you are enrolled in.

Composing Email

  1. From the Inbox page, choose the Compose button.
  2. Select the Address Book button at the top of the page to locate an address from your Address Book.
  3. Choose one or more recipients and select the To, Cc, or Bcc links to add them to the Recipients area above.
  4. Once you select all your recipients, choose the Add Recipients button to add these recipients to your New Message.
  5. Type a brief description of your email in the Subject line.
  6. Type your message in the large text box.
  7. Choose theSpell check iconSpell Check icon to check for misspellings.
  8. Select Send.

Using Replacement Strings to Personalize Emails

Brightspace allows you to use "replacement strings" to personalize messages. These allow you to replace the information you would normally type, like a student's name, with the replacement string (i.e. {FirstName}) and the system generates the name based on which email address you're writing to. Here are the strings you can use:

{FirstName}- will put in the first name of the person whom you are emailing.

{LastName} - will put in the last name of the person whom you are emailing.

The Compose Message view of an email message with the replacement string {FirstName} used. It shows the email recipient's view with their own name in place of the string, so the message is personalized.

Managing Email

Filtering Email

The Filter By feature allows you to quickly sort and view your messages (and contacts) by specific course associations; by group or section within a course; or, as in the case of contacts, as either personal or course-related. You can also view messages (and contacts) not associated with a course offering using this feature.

The filter drop-down and options you can access within your email inbox.

Use the Filter By dropdown list to display your messages by one of the following criteria:

Filter Option Result
All Course Offerings Displays messages associated with any course
No Course Association Display messages not associated with a course
Specific Course Associations (including groups and sections) Display messages associated with a specific course. All courses that a user is enrolled in are displayed.

Use the Folder dropdown list to display messages kept in a specific folder. You can also access your Address Book through this list.

Emailing a Specific Class

Even if you are in a specific course when you enter your Email, you will still see All Contacts in your Address Book at first. You must select the dropdown list and select the specific class you want to email. Follow these steps to ensure you are emailing only the class you intended to, and not everyone in your Address Book:

  1. Select Compose.
  2. Select Address Book from the pop-up window.
  3. In the Filter By dropdown menu, select the class you want to email. The Address Book will now only show you students from that specific class.
  4. Select your entire class by marking the checkbox at the top of the list of contacts. You will see that all of the contacts are now selected.
  5. Select the link for To, Cc, or Bcc and select Add Recipients.
  6. Continue composing your message as normal.

Reading Email

Unread messages appear in bold. To read a message, select the subject link of the message. The message opens in either a preview pane or new window, depending on your settings.

An email in a D2L inbox highlights how a subject line is the link to open an email.

Marking an Email Message as Read

  1. Select check box next to the message or messages you want to mark as read.
  2. Select theMark as Read iconMark as Read icon at the top of the message list. Note: To mark a message as unread, open the message and select Mark Unread from the More Actions dropdown menu in the Message Preview page.

Replying to or Forwarding an Email Message

  1. From your Email Inbox, select Settings.
  2. Make any changes you want (Note: it can be helpful to select Include original message in email replies so that someone who receives a high volume of email can quickly remember what the original message was about). Select Save.
  3. Choose the message you want to reply to or forward by selecting the message's subject link.
  4. Select the Reply, Reply All or Forward button.
  5. Enter the recipient name/s in the To field and/or select the CC and/or BCC links to open those fields. Alternatively, use the Address Book. For Reply and Reply All, the recipients are automatically populated, but you can add additional recipients if desired.
  6. Add any additional content, including attachments, to the message.
    Note: you can drag and drop files into the attachments area.
  7. Select Send.

Note: If you want your students to include your original message in their replies to you, you will need to instruct them how to adjust their Email settings.

Searching for an Email Message

Use the Search For field to search and find messages in the Message List. Type the word you are searching for in the Search For field and select Search.

Select the Show Search Options link to search specifically in the From, Subject or Body fields of messages in the Message List.

Sorting Email Messages

To sort the message list, on the Message List page, select the icon or title representing the type of sort you want to perform.

You can sort the messages in the Message List by their priority, whether they contain attachments, as well as their To/From, Subject, Date and Size attributes.

Sort by Description
Priority iconPriority Sorts messages by shared priorities
Attachments iconAttachments Sorts messages by if they have attachments or not
From/To Alphabetically sorts messages by sender and receiver names
Subject Alphabetically sorts messages by subject lines
Date Chronologically sorts messages
Size Sorts messages by size

Organizing Your Inbox

A helpful practice to keep your Inbox organized is to use the Folder Management tool to create folders for each semester you teach. To organize your messages in this way, follow these steps:

  1. Select Folder Management.
  2. Select New Folder.
  3. Name your new folder something that represents your organization system (i.e. 2012_Spring).
  4. In the Parent Folder dropdown menu, select Inbox. Select Save.
  5. Select Inbox to return to your Inbox.
  6. Using the Filter By dropdown list, select a course from the semester that you want to put in your new folder.
  7. Select the checkbox at the very top of the list of messages to select all of them.
  8. In the Move To dropdown list, select the folder you created. Your messages are now located in your new folder.

Adding an Attachment to Your Email

  1. From the Compose New Message page, create a new email as usual.
  2. In the Attachments section, do one of the following:
    • Select Upload and select the file you want to attach from your computer.
    • Select Choose Existing and locate a course file to attach from Brightspace.
    • Drag and drop a file from your computer into the Attachments area.
  3. Repeat step 2 if you want to add another attachment to the message.
  4. When you are finished attaching, select Send.

Note: If you add an attachment and want to delete it before sending, select the "x" link beside the attachment.

The following file types cannot be added to or downloaded from email messages in Brightspace: .asp, .aspx, .exe, .bat, .dll, .com, .asa, .asax, .ascx, .asmx, .axd, .cdx, .cer, .config, .idc, .cs, .csproj, .java, .jsl, .licx, .rem, .resources, .resx, .shtm, .shtml, .stm, .vb, .vbproj, .vjsproj, .vsdisco, .webinfo, .ini.

Note: You will receive a warning message if your attachment is larger than the allowable size.

Deleting an Email Message

  1. Select the checkbox next to the message or messages you want to delete.
  2. Select the Delete iconMove to Trash icon. This will move it to the Trash folder. Deleting the message from the Trash folder removes it permanently from the Brightspace system.

Using the Address Book

The Address Book lets you to keep an online list of your contacts and organize personal contacts into groups. Contacts in the Address Book are automatically added based on your course enrollments (i.e. instructors and other students that you are in a course with will automatically be available in your Address Book), or user created in the case of personal contacts. Reminder: Brightspace will not send email to external addresses.

The Address Book for your D2L email inbox. A callout notes this is an automatically populated address book. A filter for the course MUS102 has been applied in this example.

Accessing Your Address Book

Do one of the following:

  1. Select Address Book on the Folder List pane.
  2. From the Message List page, select Address Book in the Folder dropdown list.
  3. Select the Address Book button at the top of the Compose , Reply, Reply All or Forward pages.

Adding a Contact to Your Address Book

Reminder: Brightspace will not email external addresses. You should only add email addresses for users within the Brightspace system; in other words, to users whose address ends in @d2l.pima.edu.

Tip: If you know a person's Brightspace username (not their actual name), which is also in the first part of their Pima email address, their Brightspace email address is that username with @d2l.pima.edu added on the end (i.e. user demostudent01's email address would be demostudent01@d2l.pima.edu).

  1. From the Address Book page, select the New Contact button at the top of the page.
  2. Choose a folder to store the new contact's information in the Folder dropdown list. By default new contacts are stored in the main Address Book folder.
  3. To create a new folder, select the New Folder link beside the Folder dropdown list.
  4. Enter the new contact's information in the appropriate fields. (Fields marked with an asterisk are required.)
  5. Select Save.

Editing an Address Book Contact

  1. From the Address Book page, select the Name link of the contact you want to edit from the list of contacts.
  2. Update the contact's information as required.
  3. Select Save.

Reminder: You can only edit Personal Contacts in your Address Book.

Creating a Contacts Group

  1. From the Address Book page, select the Folder Management button.
  2. Select New Folder.
  3. In the Folder Type section, select Contacts Folder.
  4. Enter a Folder Name.
  5. To make the new folder a sub-folder inside an existing folder, choose the existing folder from the Parent Folder dropdown list.
  6. Select Save.

Moving Personal Contacts to a Contacts Group

  1. From the Address Book page, select the contacts you want to move.
  2. Select a contact group from the Move To dropdown list to move them to that group.