Get a better interface AND consolidate email accounts

Ok, so if you are like me, you’ve probably got a few email accounts huh?  I have the one which I use for web purchases, one that has a silly name I made when I was in school, one I made so I could use MSN, another that is just old… oh, and there is my Gmail address just because:)

Well, here at work, we have corporate email, but it’s hooked up to the gmail interface.  That gave me the idea of hooking up my own domain email accounts to use the Gmail interface, rather then the plain ol web1.0 mail style.  When setting it up, I noticed I could add others, five others infact.  Hmm, I really do like the dynamic/threaded style of Gmail, maybe I could also add Yahoo, AOL, and MSN there…  yeap, it can be done.

Now in-case you are thinking, yeah but it will get all cluttered, how will I keep track of them all?  Well you can use a trick that I’ve been using for a while, and those are filters.  Also, if I have some time, I’ll show you some nifty keyboard shortcuts you can use.

Basically we will be applying “labels” to designate the source of the incoming message.   You are probably familiar with folders.  Well in Gmail, labels take the place of folders and have the advantage of allowing multiple “labels” for any single message.  For example, you could have a “label” for  your brother, another for the source email address, and last one for projects.  Normally you could only put the message in one folder, but with labels, you can add numerous meta data to each message and also select messages based on multiple criteria.  For example, select all messages with the family label delivered t your yahoo account, or anything from your bother, regardless of which of your email addresses he sent it to.

Lets get started.

  • First you need a gmail account.  (go to gmail.com and  click “create an account” on the lower right”)
  • Next, lets create a filter to label emails from that google account.
    • click settings, labels, then in the labels area, type a new label name in the create new label area.  ie [username]_gmail
    • then click the filters tab at the top, at the bottom, create new filter, type your email in the “from” field, click next, then apply the label: (select the label you just made), click the checkbox for apply filters and click “Create Filter”
    • On the left, you will now notice your filter, and if you click on it, you will see all the emails associated with that account.
    • *this is a good time to clean up any emails in this account, it will be easier to do now rather then once you’ve aggregated your other accounts.  You might wanna start with “subject: FW” in the search mail box, I’m sure you don’t want to save all of those:)
  • Now that you are all organized, lets get more mail.  click settings, then accounts, then “add a mail address you own.”
  • Enter the external email address you want to use with gmail, next, enter your password
  • Now if it’s one of the popular email services, it should already have to pop server populated.   Go ahead and enter your password, I also recommend labeling the message which you can do by clicking the associate checkbox  and click add account.
  • Next, I recommend you setup the outgoing mail service now, click next
  • Type your full name, next,
  • I do want to be able to send mail as the account you are importing, not gmail.
  • Again, since it is probably a popular service, it will be prepopulated, except password, enter that now and click add account.
  • That other account will receive an access code, so one last trip over to the original email client to retrieve the key and paste it in the gmail window.
  • Now you should be back in the Settings, Accounts pane.  Make sure the “When receiving a message:” option to “Reply from the same address the email was sent to” is selected.
  • Give it some time, and you should have a ton of new messages again.  Good luck organizing them. Once done, repeat for each email address you own.

Add offline storage, and you’ve got a near perfect email system 🙂

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