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November 12th, 2013

Getting Started with Postbox

Posted in: Tips

Note: This post is the first in a series to help you get the most out of Postbox. If you are new to Postbox, this initial post is for you!

Benjamin Franklin famously said: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Like many things, email works best when it's properly set up. To help you do that, here are some tips to make installation and setup within Postbox a breeze.

Setting Up Accounts

Account Migration vs. Clean Install

Once you install Postbox, you are first greeted with the Account Migration Assistant. If you previously used other email clients such as Thunderbird or Apple Mail, Postbox can import your accounts and preferences automatically.

Alternatively, you can click the Cancel button within the Account Migration Assistant, which will initiate a "clean" install. Whenever possible, we always recommend a clean install. This ensures that each account will be setup with the most current settings, and that message files will be downloaded directly from the server (avoiding any file corruptions that may currently exist on your hard drive). The Postbox Account Wizard will walk you through the setup process. Simply enter your name, email address and password and Postbox will recommend the settings for your particular account. Postbox knows the proper settings for many popular email services, such as iCloud, Gmail, and others, as well as many hosting providers like HostGator or Bluehost.

If you have any trouble connecting with your mail servers, please be sure to check with your ISP or IT administrator on the correct settings to use.

Choosing between IMAP or POP

By default, Postbox will attempt to set up your account using the IMAP protocol for incoming mail. While there are pros and cons for both protocols, IMAP is best suited for use with multiple devices. This means that if you check your email on your phone, tablet, or on multiple computers, any changes made on one device will automatically be made on the rest of them.

Additionally, IMAP stores all of your email on the server. This means that there is an online mailbox for each of the mailboxes you are accustomed to seeing in your email client. Most importantly, IMAP provides an online backup of your mail in case your computer is damaged, lost or stolen.

If your email service doesn't support IMAP, or you prefer POP3, then within the Account Wizard enter your name and email address, and then click the Manual Setup link. From here, you will need to change the default port to the one your email provider specifies for POP3 email. This will usually be 110 for insecure email and port 995 for an account using SSL/TLS encryption.

For more information, please see our Guide to POP3 vs. IMAP.

Configuring Postbox

Indexing Messages for Search

Postbox has powerful search capabilities that makes it easy to find messages within any account or folder. For best results, Postbox needs to first download and index your emails. Postbox will automatically index your email when it detects that your computer is idle, but if you would rather not wait, you can manually index your messages by selecting Indexing > Index All Messages from the Tools menu. If you have a large number of messages, we recommend that you index at night, or at some other time when you will not be using your computer.

Setting Selection Order after Archive or Delete

An important setting is how emails are selected in the message list after a delete or archive action. The default behavior in Postbox is to select the next email in chronological order. However, you can reverse the selection order by going to to Preferences/Options > Advanced > General, then select your desired option in the pop-up menu labeled: After deleting a message select the...

Subscribing to IMAP Folders

Depending on your email provider's settings, there may be extra IMAP mailboxes that you don't use and don't want cluttering up the Folders pane. Simply right-click on the desired mailbox or account and select Subscribe. You will then have the option to subscribe or unsubscribe from any of the server-based mailboxes associated with that account. Don't worry about losing anything, as unsubscribing does not affect the mailbox on the server. It only affects whether it is displayed within Postbox, and this can be changed at any time.

Checking IMAP Folders for New Messages

For IMAP users, you can configure Postbox to check folders other than the Inbox for new mail. This is particularly useful if you have server-side filters that move messages into other folders, or if you wish to keep your Sent and Archive folders up-to-date. Right-click on the folder in your folder tree, choose Properties... from the context menu, then select Check this folder for new messages.

Web Services

Dropbox integration can be a critical tool for file sharing since many ISPs and email providers put a limit on the size of attachments. This can make it difficult to share videos or other files that surpass those limits. With Dropbox integration, Postbox will create a shareable Dropbox link anytime you drag and drop a file from your Dropbox folder onto the email composition window. Regardless of the file's size, your recipient will receive an email containing a download link to the file, bypassing any email size constraints.

These are just a few of the setup options that will help you get up and running with Postbox. Our next post will focus on features that will enable you to customize the Postbox interface.