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Summarize Mode in Postbox 3.0.3

March 5, 2012

Summarize is one of the coolest features in Postbox! It enables you to send simple, clean, and beautifully formatted who-said-what-when digests to message recipients, which is much nicer than quoted replies that get messy over time.

This post will touch on what’s going on under the covers with Summarize, discuss some of the changes in Postbox 3.0.3, and some tips that will help you get the most out of this feature.

Postbox Summarize Mode

To start, it’s important to note that Conversation View is different from Summarize, even though they appear to work similarly. Conversation View will display every message within a particular discussion, for example:

  • John emails Sam and Karen with information about focal reviews
  • Sam replies to John, and :CCs Karen, with questions about raises
  • Karen replies to John, but not to Sam, with questions about promotions
  • John forwards these emails to his boss Barbara, but removes Sam and Karen from the discussion

As you can see, a lot can happen during the course of a conversation! While this discussion would display in its entirety in Conversation View, Summarize will only include messages that respect the appropriate reply references, and this is one reason why some messages are not included in Summarized Replies.

Now, in order for a message to be included in Summarize, the Postbox indexer has to know about them, and this can sometimes be tricky from a technical perspective. For example, if you filed a message using your iPhone, the Postbox indexer will need to look within that folder in order to include that message in the Summarized Reply. But we don’t want Postbox to be continually checking each and every folder for new messages as this could impact performance.

In Postbox 3.0.3, Summarize is more proactive about gathering the messages it needs from the Sent folder. Additionally, if you would like the Postbox indexer to look for new messages within a storage folder (so that they can appear in Summarize), then simply right-click the folder, select Properties… from the contextual menu, and select Check this folder for new messages. This has the side benefit of improving Conversation View, particularly if you do a lot of server-side filtering.

Here are a few more tips for using Summarize:

  • You can more narrowly focus a Summarized Reply by first selecting an individual message in Conversation View (a blue outline will glow around the selected message) before clicking the Reply button.
  • You can set the default summarize behavior (Quote, Summarize or last used) on a per identity basis under Preferences or Options / Accounts / [your desired account] / Composition and setting the preference for Automatically quote the original message when replying… By.
  • You can control whether profile pictures are included in Summarized Replies on a per identity basis by going to Preferences or Options / Accounts / [your desired account] / Composition and setting the preference for Include contact pictures for each participant when summarizing.
  • You can control the number of messages to be included in Summarized Replies by going to Preferences or Options / Composition / Advanced and setting the preference to Include at most # messages when summarizing. On this panel, you can also set a preference to display either the oldest or newest messages first.
  • Finally, if you wish to not use Summarize, simply toggle the Quote button in the toolbar. Postbox will default to the last preference selected for all future emails. Click the Summarize button in the toolbar to revert back.

Posted by Postbox