Beat e-mail hassles

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3 great Gmail tips

Free e-mail services, such as Google’s Gmail or Yahoo Mail, can take some stress off your regular mail program, and allow you to do things that are otherwise difficult. I prefer Gmail, because it gives me a lot of storage capacity—2.5GB at press time—without requiring extra fees.

1. Search Mailing Lists Fast I’m signed up for several mailing lists that include useful information I’d like to keep for reference. I created a new Gmail address just for lists so I can search through the messages using the familiar and fast Google search engine.

2. View Incoming E-mail Anywhere Microsoft Entourage runs all the time on my office Mac, but I often want to check new mail from home. I set up an Entourage mail rule that automatically redirects all my incoming e-mail to my Gmail account. (Redirected mail looks like mail from the original sender, as opposed to forwarded mail, which appears to come from the forwarding address.) This means that I can log into my Gmail account from any Net-connected computer, Mac or Windows, and see all the mail that came into Entourage at the office. Also, Gmail can use any of your e-mail addresses in the From field, which means I can reply to messages without letting my correspondents know that I’m not in the office.

3. Share an E-mail Account Sometimes I write books with my wife, and our books have an e-mail address for reader questions and comments. We automatically forward those messages to a Gmail account that we share. That way both of us see all the reader mail, and either of us can answer it.

The miser’s archive

Sure, archiving utilities are fast and convenient, but you don’t have to pay for one to solve e-mail overload. Instead, stash old messages in a free e-mail client. (I prefer Mozilla Thunderbird.)

Most e-mail clients save messages in the standard .mbox format. But Apple’s Mail doesn’t. To convert Mail 2.0 messages, use CosmicSoft’s emlx to mbox Converter (free [donations accepted]). Launch the utility and Mail 2.0. Select a Mail mailbox to archive, and drag it to the desktop. Open the mailbox (it’s actually an mbox folder) and then open the Messages folder inside to reveal the messages (.emlx files) within. Select and drag them to emlx to mbox Converter’s window to add the files to the utility’s list. Click on Save Mbox.

Download Thunderbird and create a user account. Quit the program and travel to / your user folder /Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/defaultprofile/Mail/Local Folders. Open the mbox folder created by emlx to mbox Converter and drag its .mbox file with your old messages to this Local Folders folder. Launch Thunderbird and select the Archived entry in Thunderbird’s Folders list. —Christopher Breen

[ Longtime Macworld contributor Tom Negrino has his e-mail messages sorted, archived, and whipped into shape. ]

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