Gah, I sit in front of my machine swearing a lot. I try to sort my last 3 weeks mail looking for tasks I might have forgotten or not. It is a pain – so much noise: ongoing conversations about tasks not related to me, loads of mails with attachments such as signature images – a couple of times forwarded, wrong combined threads, no related sent mails, some mails seem to be disappeared. Why is it so difficult to get a satisfying solution serving all my requirements when it comes to mail management? I am not greedy!
What I want:
Can deal with IMAP
- show all folders w/o subscribing them
- immeadiately show new mails
- allow to create new folders in frontend
- can be configured by folder
- turn off / on by desire
- allow to split threads
- hiding mails in threads (full / consolidated view)
- thread contain also sent mails
- easy UI for tagging mails (instead of folders) – such as project name
- rule based tagging
- different flags such as todo, read it later, follow up by <date>
- allows to watch threads (favourite settings)
- prioritize income mail (to split between helpful / important mail and random muttering) – I don’t care which priority is set by the sender. I want to configure the level of importance to me.
- allow commenting of mails
- get reference to a specific mail (a file system link which can be used in a to do management tool) – I don’t want to get a mail client with it’s own to-do management system, i want to combine it with my existing system. not every mail causes an todo, not every todo is related to a mail.
- preview without formatting
- switch between show mail as text or with original formatting
- hide attached
- no form for search but pseudo language similar to what google offers
- fuzzy search – such as ‘ad hoc’ returns ‘adhoc’, ‘ad-hoc’, ‘ad hoc’ etc.
- search result can be saved as link
- mass change on found mail (such as category)
- being intelligent enough to define multiple forwarded mails with the same content as one hit.
- multiple signatures configurable
- signature based on rules – depending on the recipient (containing pattern), if replied / forwarded / new mail etc.
- add tags, flags and follow up configuration if necessary – without popping into 4 windows
- on click send as text / formatted
- attachments upload in background
- mail as attachment can be chosen as well (yes, sometimes this is required!)
- forwarding: detect and ignore images in signatures automatically
- fast, intuitive, basic UI – no features, no advertisements, no additional functionality i don’t need.
- runs on mac, windows and in the internet
- can deal with 10K+ mails
- nice address book management: identifying major information e. g. from email footers
- tbc :)
- Gmail: lots of my requirements can be solved by GMail. But, alas! I might be identified as spam due to the way how external email addresses are handled. I worked around my requirements quite a bit to get them solved with GMail it slows it down and breaks it on every other browser.
- Mac Mail on Zimbra: this is my current solution and just makes me swear – a lot. Mac Mail doesn’t load mails immediately, threading doesn’t work as desired. Finding mails is impossible. It randomly sorts mails in different folders – for unknown reason there are tw sent folders and I don’t see a pattern which mail gets sorted into which folder by which condition. I suspect mac mail also either hiding or deleting messages as there has been more then once the situation about ‘I knew I got that mail but I don’t find it’.
- Zimbra Desktop client: no! it is heavy, ugly and not intuitive to use, it needs too many clicks to get to a specific result, the UI is not configurable, the Mac ingtegration (address book, calendar) doesn’t work properly, it has a huge Yahoo search button which I every so often hit accidentally when I want to search for mails. The search UI is crap.
I haven’t tried anything else yet. I used Outlook quite a bit, it’s similar to GMail: it solves half of my requirements. Entourage I didn’t try at all after my desperation earlier this year.
Why is it so important?
- working in a company which is spread around the world email is a key communication channel. easy access to the information is important.
- I get about 100 new mails a day – some directly to me, some interesting in mailing lists and some other to mailing lists I don’t need to follow up.
- I hate being inefficient by manually (!) searching for mails, browsing through noise to find something specific.
Feel free to recommend work flows, tools, mail clients etc. I am happy to learn.
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