There are lots of desktop email clients to choose from. We’ve taken an in-depth look at them elsewhere on the site. But for Windows 10 users, there is one app that’s often overlooked: the built-in Mail app.
Does it deserve to be mentioned in the same conversation as more established software like Mailbird and eM Client? The answer is a resounding Yes!
Here are seven amazing things you can do with the Mail app. If you think I’ve overlooked something, make sure you let me know in the comments.
1. Pin Inboxes to the Start Menu
Like all good email clients, Mail can act as a hub for as many email addresses as you want. Some of those addresses you might use more than others.
It can be tedious to open the app and scroll through a long list of inboxes every time you want to check an email. You can save yourself some time by pinning your most-used addresses directly to the Start menu.
To do so, right-click on the address in question, select Pin to Start, and choose Yes on the confirmation screen.
If you want to really streamline your workflow, locate the freshly-pinned app on the Start screen and enable the “live tile” (right-click > More > Turn Live Tile On). You won’t even need to open the app to see whether you have new mail!
You can apply the same process to individual folders within an email address, such as Inbox, Sent, or Drafts.
2. Link Inboxes
In the above example, I’ve used the premise that you use some email addresses more than others. But what if you frequently need to use all your addresses? Perhaps you’re a freelancer who has multiple work addresses, or you have several personal addresses for different types of communication.
Thankfully, Mail offers an easy way to create a unified inbox. Best of all, you can select which addresses are included in the unified inbox, even create several unified inboxes.
To create a linked inbox, click on the gear icon in the bottom right-hand corner and go to Manage Accounts > Linked Inboxes. Give the new grouping a name and mark the checkboxes next to the addresses you want to include. When you’re ready, hit Save.
You’ll find your new linked inboxes under Accounts in the left-hand column.
3. Personalize Notifications
Mail lets you set separate notification preferences for each individual account. The feature is useful if, for example, you want to make sure you never miss an email on your work account but don’t want to be pestered all day by your granny’s chain mails.
To set-up your preferences, navigate to Settings (gear icon) > Notifications. At the top of the menu, select which account you want to apply the new settings to, then choose whether you want to receive a notification in the Action Center, whether to play a sound when new mail is received, and whether you want to be shown a notification banner.
If you want to edit the global notification settings for all your inboxes, check the box next to Apply to All Accounts.
4. Caret Browsing
Turning on Caret Browsing lets you use your keyboard to navigate the app. If you’re the type of person who likes using keyboard shortcuts rather than a mouse to control your computer, it’s an essential feature.
You’ll find the option in the Reading menu (Settings > Reading). Just toggle the slider, and you’ll never have to touch your mouse while in the app. The arrow keys navigate between messages, while Page Up and Page Down scroll through the body the mail.
The Reading Settings menu also let you choose whether to download images automatically, group emails into conversation threads, and specify when to mark a message as read.
5. Create Quick Actions
If you’re working on a touch-based interface, you can create Quick Actions to speed up your workflow.
Go to Settings > Quick Actions to select your preferences. There are two customizable fields; Swipe Right and Swipe Left. For each field, you can choose from Set Flag, Clear Flag, Mark as Read, Mark as Unread, Archive, Delete, and Move.
You can create different rules for different inboxes. For example, you might want a Quick Action to act as Delete on your personal account, but Mark as Unread on your work account. Just choose which account you want to apply the settings to from the drop-down menu at the top.
6. Save Emails
Sometimes you receive an important email you need to save, perhaps because you need to access it offline at a later date or share it with someone whose email address you don’t have.
To save a message, open the email in question in the reading pane. Next, click on the three parallel dots in the top right-hand corner and select Save As. Choose your preferred destination and hit Save.
7. Search Phonetically
If you work in a multinational organization or have family members in far-flung countries, you might receive emails in multiple languages. If you’re not fluent in those languages, it can be an issue. How can you find a vital piece of info in a message full of words you don’t recognize?
Mail has a solution: the “Find by Sounds Like” feature.
To see it in action, you need an email written in a foreign language. Make sure you have it displayed in the reading pane, then click the three dots > Find.
A search box will pop up at the top of your window. To access the feature, click the gear icon on the left-hand side and mark the checkbox next to Sounds Like.
You can now type phonetically in the search box, and the app will automatically identify matching words in the body of the text.
What Are Your Favorite Features?
I’ve shown you seven cool features that are not necessarily replicable on other mainstream desktop email clients.
But in truth, I’ve barely scratched the surface. Mail is loaded with great tricks and Microsoft is adding more with each update.
Which features stand out for you? What makes Mail a worthy competitor for its rivals? Let me know in the comments below.
Image Credit: S_Photo via Shutterstock.com, Subhashish Panigrahi via Wikimedia Commons
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