Tag Archives: Mailbox

How To Merge All Of Your Inboxes Into One

Who is this for? Anyone looking for step-by-step directions for merging all of your email inboxes into a single Gmail account.

As promised, I’m going to walk you through the initial setup and tools I use to manage a single inbox.

The Service

A Google Apps for Business account serves as the backbone of my email setup. This costs $50 for a single email address. The account offers 30GB of storage, the search cannot be beat and—if you’re a fan of their interface—the keyboard shortcuts are fantastic. It also makes it easy to setup and maintain a one inbox approach.

The Setup

Step 1. Select a primary email address. First things first, choose an email address you plan on having for a very long time. Don’t worry if you need to make a change down the road, though. It takes some effort, but if you ever find that you need to move from one primary account to another, you can always use a service like Backupify’s Migrator for Google Apps to move your data from one Google Apps account to another.

Step 2. Start forwarding alternate email accounts. You should begin forwarding messages into this primary account. This process will vary by email provider. If you’re using an alternate Gmail account, you can do this by clicking on the gear icon in Gmail, clicking on Settings and then clicking on the Forwarding and Pop/IMAP tab. Click on Add a forwarding address and add your primary email account.

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You will need to confirm that you own this address by email. Once you receive this verification, click on the link to confirm that you own the account. Now you will be able to set Forward a copy of incoming mail to your primary inbox. You should also decide what you would like to do with the emails in this account. I would suggest archiving messages rather than deleting them in case you ever decide to go back to separate email accounts.

Step 3. Setup your additional Send Mail As addresses. Next you need to setup proper reply-to email addresses for every account you own (these are also known as domain aliases). This ensures that, when using Gmail, a message will respond from the correct account (or whatever account you specify). Go into the settings panel in your primary Gmail account. You can do this by going to your inbox, clicking on the gear and then selecting Settings. Once you’re in the settings go to Accounts to make sure that When replying to a message: is set to Reply from the same address the message was sent to and then select Add another email address you own.

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Enter your address and leave Treat as an alias checked. You can Specify a different “reply-to” address if needed, otherwise an email will reply from the email address it was sent from when using the Gmail interface.

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You will be asked to verify each email address. If you’ve already setup the forwarding, these messages should arrive in your primary inbox.

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Enter the verification code and you’re good to go.

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Step 4. Add some labels (optional). While not necessary, I’ve found that the strategic use of labels can be helpful, especially since I have several email accounts. All work related emails (which accounts for over half of my email addresses) get the same label. This allows me to filter out all work only messages. I don’t use this all that often, but it’s a valuable tool on the days where I cannot even consider checking personal messages when processing my inbox. To do this, go back to the Settings menu, select Filters and click Create a new filter.

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Include the email addresses you would like to apply a label to in the To field. You can do this for a single email address or create a filter for multiple addresses by placing OR between each email address (i.e. Work@Email.com OR OtherWork@Email.com OR YetAnotherWork@Email.com).

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Once you’ve added your email addresses click on Create filter with this search. Last but not least, click on Apply the label and select your label (or create a new one). Once you create the filter, all messages received from this account (or accounts) will automatically include the correct label when it arrives in your inbox.

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The Apps

Not all applications honor these domain aliases (including the built in mail applications on OS X and iOS), so be sure to confirm that your email application of choice honors these settings. My preferred apps are Mailplane on the Mac and Mailbox on iOS.

Mailplane essentially wraps the Gmail web interface into its own application, so there are no additional settings required.

Mailbox just added Gmail domain aliases in a recent update. Click on settings, select your email account and choose Gmail Aliases. From there you’ll have to add each address manually. You only have to do this once as your aliases will sync across the Mailbox app on various devices. Be sure to test that all of your domain aliases are working properly. For some reason, I had to completely close the application and reopen it to get things working. Excluding this one hiccup, I haven’t had a single issue since.

The Day-To-Day Use

Once this is all set, there will be no more checking multiple inboxes and no more worrying if you replied from the correct address. You’ll want to be careful when creating new messages as most email applications default to your primary account, but all of your responses are handled perfectly. The setup takes some time and effort, but it makes juggling far too many email accounts far easier.

The Right Note at the Right Time with Evernote Reminders

Who is this for? Those looking for a better way to recall important reference materials at a specific time or date.

From the Evernote Blog:

Reminders are here. Our three most requested features rolled into one small package:

  • In-app and email Alarms
  • Quick note based to-do lists
  • Pinning notes to the top of your note list

The Reminders feature is currently available on Evernote for Mac, iOS and Evernote Web.

The list features will likely only appeal to power users of the application, but there’s a lot to be excited about with the addition of in-app and email alarms.

Applications like Mailbox make it possible to have an email return at a specific time and the powerful search in Evernote makes it possible to find a well named needle in a haystack, but there’s never been a seamless solution where your tools remind you of essential information at the exact right moment. Especially if you tend to store that information in Evernote.

When someone emails me a meeting agenda and relevant attachments, they all go into a note in Evernote. In the past I’d then create an OmniFocus tasks that links to this, but the new in-app or alarm feature significantly streamlines the process. Now when creating the note, I can set a reminder and have the information I need return to me at exactly the right moment.

Reminders only currently exist within the Evernote applications themselves. I hope we don’t have to wait too long to see this functionality make its way to the Evernote web and email clippers. More often than not, the types of notes that warrant a reminder are created in my web browser or email application, so it would be helpful to set an alarm without ever having to enter Evernote.

Regardless, Reminders is a great new addition to an already powerful and useful tool.

Send an Email from Mailbox to your Task Manager with a Swipe and a Tap

Who is this for? Anyone using Mailbox and any task application that allows you to create tasks by email.

Clever and simple email to task manager workflow. Create a new list in Mailbox. Whenever you send a message to it this IFTTT recipe will forward the message directly into your favorite task manager.

Hat tip to Thibaut Dutartre

Mailbox-Like Email Deferment on a Mac

Who is this for? Mailbox users who would like a similar ability to defer emails while ensuring they come back into the inbox on a Mac. Keyboard Maestro and a Mac that is always on are required.

From Jeff Hunsberger:

What I needed was something that did what Mailbox did so well; when a trigger event occurred, it would move the email back to the Inbox. This move was essentially flagging the email to indicate that the email needed to be dealt with again.

As so often happens, Keyboard Maestro offered a solution. On my Mac Mini “mail robot” (if you don’t have a Mac Mini home server, you’re missing out – those things are really useful), I set up a Keyboard Maestro macro that selected anything in the Later box and moved it to the Inbox every day at 7:30PM. The result is a flexible and extensible workflow that simulates what Mailbox does except with my Fastmail account. Problem solved for now.

While this requires a Mac that is always on, it’s a clever way to get emails out of your way while ensuring that they do not get overlooked. Jeff’s Keyboard Maestro macro is setup for Mail.app, but could easily be adapted for several mail clients including Mailplane or the Gmail web interface. This is a nice stop gap, but it makes one hopeful for a Mailbox plugin for Gmail.

A Wish For Mailbox and Dropbox

While on the subject of fantasy apps, Dropbox acquired iPhone email startup Mailbox today. At the moment, all this seems to ensure is that Mailbox will continue to have the resources and talent it needs to continue creating a world class email application.

While I’m tempted to rattle off my wish list for Mailbox, I find myself thinking bigger.

Take the storage capabilities of Dropbox and add in the fact that Mailbox already needs to pull your emails onto their servers. Then combine that with real talent and resources. While you’ll certainly get a better email application, this could also lead to a better email service.

What Mailbox is able to accomplish using the labels in Gmail is impressive, but limiting. A lot more becomes possible when you’re actually building a better inbox, rather than a better app on top of it. While it’s unlikely that this will come to be, it’s enjoyable to imagine what could emerge if both teams decided to push the limits and blend the benefits of their services. We just might find ourselves with a real alternative to Gmail…

Once again, it’s fun to dream.

Check out our Mike on Mics interview with Orchestra CEO Gentry Underwood from earlier in the year to learn more about Mailbox and their future plans for the app. Congrats to Gentry and the team at Orchestra, this acquisition is well deserved.