Mail for Windows is a basic email client that lets you manage multiple accounts securely, but lacks advanced features. You can’t create email groups or message templates.
IMAP, Exchange and POP Accounts in Mail for Windows
In addition to the classic (and rapidly disappearing) POP accounts, Mail for Windows supports IMAP (such as Gmail or iCloud Mail) and Exchange (such as Outlook 365).
The server stores all messages and folders, which Mail then syncs. By default, Mail for Windows configures a new account to only synchronize messages from the last month (or the last three months).
Of course, this is a good plan. How often do you really read messages from three months ago? Not only does this save time and bandwidth synchronizing, but it also saves you from having to deal with old emails.
Mail for Windows allows you to change the synchronization option to make all messages available. Of course, Mail for Windows should make this change more obvious.
A Brief Overview Description
In addition to managing IMAP, Exchange and POP email accounts in Windows,
- For each email account, you can control how much mail (up to a month’s worth) is synchronized while preserving local storage.
- An adaptive synchronization schedule balances getting new messages with laptop battery life.
- Multiple accounts’ inboxes and folders can be combined into a single account, and Mail for Windows can organize messages into threads.
- You can set the Mail app to not automatically download remote content to protect your privacy.
Email text can be formatted with rich formatting including images, and Mail for Windows also supports email attachments.
- Create an email signature for each account, which is added to emails as you compose them.
- Simple search finds text quickly in full message text and across folders, but no search operators to narrow results.
- Calendar integration has Emails with dates and times can be easily added to your calendar.
- You can set up an Outlook.com account to automatically reply to incoming messages using the Outlook Mail vacation auto-responder interface.
- Mail for Windows can notify you of new emails via a banner or sound in the Windows action center.
- The Mail app window’s interface color and background image can be changed, as well as the day and night themes.
- Mail for Windows 10 compatible
A Good Message Editor
Whatever you think of it, Mail for Windows is resource conscious. A “smart” schedule adapts to how often you receive new mail and how often you deal with it. Yes, you can set your own time.
What if you got your emails into Mail app? There’s a shortcut to spam-marking in Mail for Windows.
When you reply or write a new message, you’ll find a handy editor that lets you easily apply formatting. Of course, you can attach images. Unexpectedly, Mail does not directly integrate with OneDrive (or other file-sharing services) for sending files larger than attachments.
Signatures are also commonly attached to email ends. You get one text signature per account (no images or links), and it is either automatically included or not; you cannot set up multiple signatures per account or choose just when sending.
Mostly Missing Automation
Signatures can’t be used as text snippets in Mail. Nothing else can, either. No message templates, text modules, or suggested replies in Windows Mail.
Other automation options in Mail are limited. Mail for Windows cannot sort or mark mail based on senders, nor can it file messages based on recipient.
(For Outlook Mail accounts, the Mail app lets you set the server’s auto-responder. A similar interface for general server-side rules could be useful for other account types.)
A Search Without Labels
Filters cannot be used to apply labels or categories in Mail for Windows. This is because there are no filters, labels, or categories. Messages cannot be delayed either.
Mail app has folders and search for mail organization. Folders work as expected, and moving messages is as simple as using the toolbar or dragon. Oddly, there is no keyboard shortcut, and moving messages between accounts is not possible, either (neither is copying messages at all, by the by).
Search in Mail for Windows is generally satisfactory. This is due to the ease of use: enter your search terms, hit “Enter,” and get results. You can search the current folder or the account in Mail (though not across accounts).
You can also send Mail to the server to continue the search and return all results. This is a very useful way to access non-synchronized mail.
If you want precise results, you’ll miss search operators, filters, and sorting. Mail still has search.
Linked Inboxes to Unify Account
You may miss the sorting options in the inbox (or any other folder). Mail app always sorts by date. You can filter the folder to only show unread or flagged messages.
If you have multiple accounts, you will need to switch between them or use Mail for Windows to merge them. Linked inboxes combine inboxes, sent mail, and archive folders into one big account.
You can now search across accounts, though the results can be confusing as messages are not attributed to their origins.
Commanding Mail for Windows by Swipe, Mouse and Keyboard
Whether you keep your inboxes separate or merged, Mail for Windows lets you set up swipe actions. For example, you can archive, delete, or junk mail.
Sadly, there are no similar configuration options for the toolbars and context menu actions available, which can be a bit haphazard at times. They work well enough that you can do most of what you want.
Sadly, keyboard shortcuts are not the same. Even in a program that works well with a screen (and no keyboard), keyboard shortcuts should be considered. Moving mail or reading mail by the screenful are two examples of missing shortcuts in Mail for Windows.
No Opening Mail and Drafts in Separate Windows
Speaking of the area where Mail app displays your messages, there is no way to minimize or otherwise move a message draft out of the way while composing it so you can quickly refer to, say, the original message and then return to the draft.
Even if there is a way, I have yet to discover it in Mail for Windows. Mail app support is limited to a few questions.
Calendar and Contacts
Calendar is included with Mail for Windows, and it works well to synchronize and manage your schedule. A time and date in an email can help Mail app create a new event in the calendar with the time and the subject as a title. Sadly, that is the extent of the two programs’ integration.
Contacts are kept for Mail, and integration is limited. Another omission is the ability to create contact groups to easily mail multiple recipients. The Mail app has no real contact picker; it’s all auto-completion.
Mail for Windows is a basic email client that lets you manage multiple accounts securely, but lacks advanced features.
You can’t create email groups or message templates.
Pros vs. Cons
- Access multiple IMAP and POP email accounts with Mail for Windows.
- A powerful editor allows you to quickly compose richly formatted emails.
- Actions are easily accessible with swipe gestures and quick toolbars.
- Mail for Windows 10 allows you to set up email signatures per account and use HTML signatures.
- By default, Windows Mail shows only a portion of mail (with no indication whether more mail is waiting at the server)
- You can’t set up rules to filter mail or perform other tasks.
- The lack of keyboard shortcuts in Windows Mail (such as moving messages)