Sunday, January 20, 2013

Make the best of email

Long before the popularity of the internet, email or electronic mail changed the way people communicated. A decade later emailing is still the most popular activity on the web. Many of us use an email client such as Outlook, Eudora or Thunderbird to check emails and almost everybody has a free webmail account (Hotmail, Yahoo!, etc). Most people do only three things when they log into their email account - read and reply to emails, delete unwanted ones and write new emails. We rarely use the optional features provided that can make our task easier for all future visits to our account.

Organise mails automatically

All mails sent to our email address land by default in our inbox. So if you are a heavy email user then in a very short time your inbox could be stuffed. Now think of the time you will waste if you start searching for a particular message in that heap. That's where the concept of folders and message rules comes in. If you are using Outlook, you could create a message rule by clicking on the Tools menu and then selecting Rules and Alerts. Alternatively you could open a message and then click on the Actions menu and select Create Rule. The rest of the process is self-explanatory. So when a new email message meets the criterion you've set in your rule, it will automatically go into the specific folder it is meant for. This helps remove clutter from your inbox and helps organise your mails.

When you are away

When on leave, you can use the auto-responder feature provided by most email services. Using the feature you can leave a message that would go as an automatic reply from your email account to all incoming emails or, if you so wish, only to emails from people in your contact list. Gmail provides this option under Settings and calls it Vacation Responder. Yahoo! calls it Vacation Response and you will find it under Mail Options. It's called Send Automated Vacation Replies under Manage Your Account under Hotmail's More Options.

Mark spam mail

Spam is always a nuisance. Today most email clients provide a feature to stop spam mail from entering and clogging inboxes. All popular email services are equipped with free spam filters. Just select the message you feel comes from a suspect source, and mark it as Junk or Spam.

Help for bloggers

Those into blogging can use email to both publish posts and promote blogs. If you have an account on, all you need to do is to log into your Blogger account, click on Settings and then click the Email option. If you did not create an address at the time of creating your blog, you can do so now. Now simply send an email to this address and it will be published as a blog post. Try it out! You could also use email signatures (to be found under options in most email services) to promote your blog. For this you need to put in a link to your blog with some text if desired as your signature. Your blog link with the text would then be added to the bottom of all email messages you send.

(The article was first published by Gulf News.)

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