Postbox is one of our favourite email clients, and since it’s built on the foundations that Thunderbird laid down, it also supports lots of add-ons and extensions that can make it even better. Let’s take a look at some of the best, and how they can make your email easier to manage, and help you be more productive.
We’ve talked about why you might want to use a desktop email client and what those apps do better than webmail, and Postbox is one of our favourite desktop email clients. Postbox is cross-platform, and even though it’s powerful out of the box, you can add even more features with plug-ins and extensions. Here are some of the best ones to try.
Enigmail is a security extension for Postbox (and for Thunderbird) that uses OpenPGP to encrypt and digitally sign your email messages. We focus on it exclusively in our guide to encrypting your email. It works well and isn’t terribly difficult to set up. It integrates neatly into Postbox and securing your messages requires only a couple of clicks. You’ll need to download and install GnuPG to generate your keys and store them, but Enigmail hooks into it nicely.
Enigmail has been around for a long time, and while there hasn’t been a lot of movement on the development side, that’s OK because the utility is rock solid. Odds are any issues you run into have been seen before and solved, and a quick trip through Enigmail’s documentation, forums or mailing list archives will likely uncover the answer for you. One thing to note — if you want to use Enigmail with Postbox, you should download it either from within Postbox or from Postbox’s add-ons page.
Todoist is one of our favoerite to-do list managers, and it offers extensions for a number of email clients, including Postbox. If you use Todoist and want access to your tasks right alongside your email, the Todoist extension will give it to you. The plugin adds a button to Postbox’s toolbar that opens a frame to the left with all of your to-dos and projects in it. It’s especially handy if you’re tired of switching in and out of Postbox and Todoist’s native app to enter to-dos or reminders from incoming email.
All of the features from the webapp or native app are right there inside of Postbox, too — you can drag and drop, create new projects or to-dos, rearrange or reschedule the ones you have, prioritise them, set reminders, change due-dates, the works. One nice feature is that if you click the button while you’re reading an email, you’ll see a link in the Todoist frame labelled “add email as task”, which saves you the trouble of entering in all the details or copy/pasting from the message.
Send Later, as its name implies, lets you compose a message now and schedule it to go out whenever you want it to be sent. It’s another classic Thunderbird extension that works well in Postbox as well without any special tweaks. Just download it from the link above, and drag and drop it into Postbox.
Send Later shines if you want to send an email to someone on the other side of the globe when you know they will see it immediately, or you want a little buffer time between writing a message and sending it. When you’re finished with your message, press Ctrl+Shift+Return (or File > Send Later) to send the message in 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 2 hours from the time you write it, or set a specific time and date in the scheduling box. Click “Put in Outbox,” and as long as Postbox is running, the message will go out on time.
If you love the idea of canned responses or time-saving quick replies, QuickText gives them to you. You can compose and save snippets of text or whole emails to use as fill-in responses to common emails that you get, signatures you can easily swap out depending on who you’re emailing, or just to save time typing things you know you type often. Best of all, QuickText puts all of your saved templates right in the toolbar of the message compose window, so you don’t have to look far to get the template you need.
Think of QuickText as “canned replies on steroids”. The free version has more than enough features for most people, but if you’re a power user and want options like scripting support, auto-adding attachments, and additional advanced controls (filling in names from the sender field, for example), there’s a Pro version that will set you back 9 EUR.
Lightning is a calendaring add-on from the Mozilla team, that was originally designed to give Thunderbird the calendaring capabilities many other email clients (such as Outlook or Mail.app/iCal) already offer. The Postbox team have a slightly modified version that works with Postbox specifically. Lightning has all of the calendaring features you might want, and rolls them into Postbox neatly so you don’t have to leave your email app to schedule meetings and appointments that you get from your inbox. Plus, while Lightning is often used alongside Google Calendar thanks to the Google Calendar Provider for Postbox, you can also use it with Microsoft Exchange calendars with this Provider for Microsoft Exchange add-on. The link above outlines all of Lightning for Postbox’s features, current issues and stable versions.
One of the nice things about using a desktop email client is that you can really customise your email signature. It may sound a little dated for those people who don’t use a signature at all, but email signatures still mean a lot on a professional level. They often are the easiest way to get someone’s contact information, check out their website, or follow them on social media. Wisestamp is free(mium), but the free plan will meet most people’s needs. The Postbox extension is a quick install, and easy to set up. The video above shows you how it works — and even if you don’t use Postbox, you can use Wisestamp with webmail, too.
Wisestamp gives you the ability to tweak and customise your email signature so it’s not just a bundle of rich text, but also buttons to your social media profiles or any other web sites or resources you want the person to see. It’s especially useful if you’re applying for a job or trying to make a good first impression on someone without inundating them with links in the body of your email.
Postbox isn’t the lightest email client out there, and while its footprint isn’t huge, as you use it for multiple email accounts with more and more messages, its database and file store can get pretty big. Vacuum Postbox can help you tidy up the app’s footprint on your system and improve its overall performance. It may not be necessary if you don’t have a large volume of email, but if you’re using Postbox with an account that’s particularly busy or old and has a massive archive, doing this can make it much faster (and give you some storage back, which is always nice.)
If any of these look familiar, you may have seen them when we did a roundup of the best add-ons to supercharge Thunderbird a while back — many of them are cross-compatible, and some of them have versions designed to work specifically with Postbox. If you have trouble though, this guide will help you turn any Thunderbird extension into one that works with Postbox.