Be it personal or professional, email is the most important and oft-used medium of communication today. And given that it lasts forever, you should make an effort to compose them with care.
Writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea though. But you don’t need to be a great writer to send a great email. All you need are a few sites and extensions to ensure quality messages.
1. DraftMap (Chrome, Web): Real-Time Improvement Suggestions
You can find some fantastic browser-based tools to write better, like Hemingway or Grammarly. DraftMap is in the same vein, but it also checks your style and word repetition. Plus, the Chrome extension adds the satisfying and intuitive experience of real-time suggestions.
DraftMap uses different colors to highlight different style suggestions. It will point out repetitive words, passive voice, adverbs, and cliches, and even advise you on the email’s readability and style. The principles are the same as Ernest Hemingway’s rules of writing. And the extension does all of this from right inside your Gmail composition window.
Don’t worry, DraftMap doesn’t change your words. In case you still have highlighted colors and send the email, the recipient won’t see those colors. It’s only for you.
Download — DraftMap for Chrome (Free)
2. Email Text Formatter (Chrome): Make Gmail Look Good
Gmail supports Markdown, which is one of the smart ways to write better-looking messages. But the downside of this is that when you copy-paste things from sites, it retains all the original page’s formatting. If you’ve ever received an email with weird fonts and sizes, you know how it can be a turn-off.
Email Text Formatter strips away all these fonts, colors, and sizes. Everything you pasted will be turned into the default Gmail text, but it will keep intact the capitalizations and links. It’s a simpler way to format your messages.
As usual, this Chrome extension also works with other Chromium-based browsers like Opera. Here’s how to install Chrome extensions in Opera.
Download — Email Text Formatter for Chrome (Free)
3. Email Oops Blocker (Chrome): Avoid a Common Faux Pas
The “BCC” feature is a basic tech skill everyone should have. It lets senders keep people in the loop, without inviting their express input. But if you don’t get that, then you’re in need of an etiquette lesson, along with this extension.
If you are BCC-ed, that generally means you need not take any action. But look, it’s a hard habit to break. The next time you are BCC-ed on an email and try to “Reply All” or “Forward” it, Email Oops Blocker will spring into action.
It will remind you that it’s bad form to take either of those actions on such an email, and make you reassess whether you really need to do it. Sometimes, a nudge is all we need to avoid a faux pas.
Download — Email Oops Blocker for Chrome (Free)
4. Brief (Chrome): Word Counter to Force You to Be Brief
One of the cardinal sins of emailing is to send messages that are far too long for any recipient. No one has the time or inclination to read essays in their inbox, let alone on their phone (which is where most people check emails).
Chrome extension Brief for Gmail forces you to choose your words wisely. Much like Twitter forces you to write under 140 characters, Brief imposes a 125-word restriction. If you go over 125 words, it won’t let you send the email. A ticker at the bottom shows how many words you’ve written or gone over.
And yes, we all know that sometimes, an email needs more than 125 words. Brief isn’t a stickler about the rule. You can bypass the restriction by triple-clicking the “Send” button.
Download — Brief for Chrome (Free)
5. Minimize.Email (Web): Anonymously Ask Others to Reduce Messages
We all have a colleague or a friend who sends far too many emails. Telling them to stop it would be a bit rude and impolite. But if you were to do it anonymously, you can spare their feelings slightly.
Minimize.Email handles the dirty work for you. Go to the site and add the email addresses of anyone whose messages you want them to reduce. It will automatically email the person to let them know of their transgressions, but in a friendly manner.
Yes, this one isn’t about writing better emails yourself, but a reduction in your inbox is a welcome change nonetheless. Plus, at least in the future, you won’t blow up in your colleague’s face about their incessant messages.
Do You Not Use Gmail?
Most of the tools in this article target Gmail because almost everyone we know uses it for their email needs. But we’re always curious to hear from the outliers.
Do you use Gmail or have you ditched it for something else? Which email service are you using now?
Image Credits: Christos Georghiou/Shutterstock