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Make Outlook Behave Like GMail

There are a couple sources of information out there on how to do this:

  • petroleumjelliffe.com describes how to "Make Outlook Work Like GMail" however it does not explain how to get sent messages to go into the inbox and not be marked as read (this is explained in the comments, however)
  • richardgoodwin.com explains how to "Sort your mail in Outlook" which makes it look a bit more like GMail except he sorts by date rather than by Conversation Index (which is better).

Here's how to do it all (at least for Outlook 2003), all documented for you here in one place:

The first thing you need to do is make messages you send get put in the Inbox. An additional thing you need to do is make them get marked as read (otherwise you'll always have tons of un-read messages from yourself in your inbox).[img_assist|nid=277|title=Outlook Gmail Rules and Filters|desc=This is what my "Rules and Alerts" look after after adding a "CC send messages to inbox" rule and a "Mark messages from self as read" rule.|link=none|align=center|width=435|height=335]

The next thing you need to do is make your e-mails show up in something that somewhat resembles GMails conversations. I set "Group By..." to "Conversation (ascending) and "Sort..." to Conversation (index).[img_assist|nid=278|title=Outlook Gmail Customized View Options|desc=This is what my customized view options look like after grouping by conversation and sorting by conversation index.|link=none|align=center|width=477|height=326]

Now your inbox should look a lot nicer now and finally, click on the column "Newest on top" to have them sorted by date properly and your Inbox should look as shown in the image.[img_assist|nid=279|title=Outlook Gmail Final Result|desc=This is what my inbox looks like|link=none|align=center|width=496|height=599]

Better Gmail Extension

I use GMail for email, Google Reader for feeds, and Google Calendar as my organizer. Yeah, I'm Google's bitch. I recently discovered this Better Gmail extension. It doesn't have that much useful stuff. The one thing I find really handy is the integration of Google Reader and Calendar into the GMail sidebar. I no longer need 3 Firefox tabs open for these apps. It kind of takes up a lot of screen real estate opening up Reader and Calendar in an frame within GMail but with more javascript hacking this could be improved even more. Maybe Google will more tightly integrate these apps now that someone else has done it as a proof-of-concept.

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My GMail is Locked Down

[img_assist|nid=215|title=GMail Lockdown Screenshot|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=300|height=119]
All of a sudden I was logged out of GMail and when I refreshed the page, I got this message about "unusual usage of your account."

I do use checkgmail and I sometimes have GMail open on two different browsers, one at home and one at work. Never caused any problem before. I think I'll fill out their form.

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Complex GMail Filtering

A few days ago I ran in to a situation where I wanted Gmail to filter something based on the OR of a From: filter and a Subject: filter. In other words I get email from a website and I want to catch their From: email address as well as another criteria based on the Subject: line. In this case, I want to catch emails with From:bookmooch.com OR Subject:Bookmooch OR Subject:"Book received" OR ... (there are a few other cases. If you enter the From: and Subject: conditions in the google create-a-filter wizard they will be logically connected with AND by default; however, if you put the following:

from:bookmooch.com OR subject:bookmooch OR subject:"book received"

in the "Has the words" field. This works like a charm. I will probably be able to compress a few of my old filters into one with this tip.

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