The first message one could consider email was sent more than 30 years ago, and that's probably when people began associating angst and uncertainty with the words "Inbox" and "unread messages." The tools available to read and send emails have advanced considerably since then, but what you actually do with all that chatter, without eating up entire days of work time, is up to you. Luckily, we've covered a wealth of filtering and processing methods and software tweaks that make email less stressful and time-consuming over the years, and a list of our top 10 productive email boosters is after the jump.
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Keep a copy of your Gmail messages stored locally on your Linux machine with freeware application getmail. Googler Matt Cutts explains the process: after you install getmail, enable POP email on your Gmail account, and configure getmail to store your messages as mbox or Maildir, then run getmail. Because of a Gmail limitation, getmail will only download 99 messages at a time, so keep re-running getmail and you'll soon have a copy of your entire Gmail archive on your Linux box. Over a year ago, Gina described how to back up Gmail this same way using fetchmail on Windows. Do you back up your web-based mail on your desktop? Tell us in the comments. How to Back Up Your Gmail on Linux in Four Easy Steps
Matt Cutts, an engineer at Google, asked his blog readers for tips on how to improve Gmail—and he then compiled his responses on how to maximise your Gmail experience. While you can't currently paste images into your email, for example, Matt suggests previously mentioned Firefox extension DragAndDropUpload. If you want to only read unread email in your inbox, you can perform a search for label:unread label:inbox. If you're looking to compile an email but want to compose your message in a new window, hit the "C" button (whereas lowercase "c" allows you to compile the email without opening a new window). You can get even more out of Gmail with Lifehacker's Better Gmail 2 Firefox Extension. Have your own Gmail tips? Let's hear them in the comments. 11 Power Tips for Gmail
If you're both a Gmail junkie and Ubuntu user, you might have set up Thunderbird as your ultimate IMAP client. But non-Thunderbird users and those who prefer web emailing don't have to suffer through unnecessary clicks, thanks to a post at the CAL design NZ How-To Geek blog. By downloading and running a quick terminal command on a script file, you can have all email links on the web and elsewhere open up a Gmail composing window (assuming you're logged into Gmail). This trick should also work in any other Linux distro that lets you set preferred applications, and Windows and Mac users can still use Gmail notifier to get the same effect.