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PocoReport: Tuesday Tips

Have you signed up for PocoReport yet? It brings you the latest happenings at Poco Systems and every month it carries a useful tip.

Below is the archive of PocoMail Tips sent out in the past. Tips will be added to this archive on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, special offers on products published in PocoReport are often time sensitive and cannot be archived, so to access those you need to subscribe.

Contents

Issue 01.00: Quick Filter Now!

Issue 01.01: PocoMail Post-its

Issue 01.02: Show Only what you are looking for

Issue 01.03: Mark Messages

Issue 01.04: Sign E-mail Fast

Issue 01.05: Protect your privacy with Image Toggle

Issue 01.06: PocoMail Pane Layout

Issue 01.07: "Syncing" PocoMail and PocoMail PE

Issue 01.08: Downloading and using alternative dictionaries

Issue 01.09: Using Styled Messages

Issue 01.10: Customizing Mailboxes

Issue 01.11: Moving Between PocoMails


Tips

Issue 01.00: Quick Filter Now!

If you receive a lot of mail, the quick filter feature can help you organize it. For example, this e-mail is from and the Subject contains text [PocoReport]. You could filter all your PocoReports or newsletters into one mailbox.

Use either the Index Pane or the Preview and the Message Panes to easily make a quick filter.

In the Index Pane, highlight a message for which you want to make a quick filter. Right click to access the drop down menu and select Quick Filter for. A new filter entry will be launched for you to complete. The nicest feature of making a quick filter from the index is that the newly created filter can be customized by the column you right-click in. For example, if you want to create a filter on the subject line, right click on the Subject column and that will be the first condition of the filter.

In the Preview and Message Panes, you can only launch the new filter entry from the address fields - either from the From: or the To: header. Right click on either of these to create a filter.

If you are filtering to a new mailbox, for example to "Newsletter" mailbox, it is a good idea to create it before you Quick Filter.

Issue 01.01: PocoMail Post-its

Do you use Post-its? PocoMail's Annotate Message feature is an e-mail post-it allowing you to make notes on any e-mail without altering the message's text.

PocoMail's Annotate Message is as easy to use as a post-it note. Simply right click on the e-mail message you wish to annotate and click on Annotate Message from the context menu, and type your note into the dialog box.

You will then see a little yellow note tag next to your message header in the index pane. If you hover your mouse above it you will see the text of your note, or just click on the note icon to edit the note. If you use short headers (default headers) your note will appear in the header of your message. Very handy indeed.

Issue 01.02: Show Only what you are looking for

Maybe you don't filter all your email into different mailboxes, and you need to find that certain message in your In mailbox but going through the whole mailbox and reading each message seems too painstaking. The Show Only Bar will cut your work down. The Show Only bar at the top of the index pane is a handy feature that allows you to find just what you are looking for in a specific mailbox. The Show Only bar default is "Show all mail"  and by clicking on "all mail" you will find an array of options, including "mail from", "mail to", "mail sent on", and the list goes on. For example if you wanted to find all of the PocoReports, you would click on "Show mail with subject", and then you would type in "PocoReport" and click on the GO button, and voila, only the PocoReports are shown in the current mailbox.

If that sounds like too much work you can simply press and hold ALT key and click on any Index Field in the Index Pane and the mailbox will show only the messages with that field. Press ALT and click again on the same field and all mail is shown again. Show Only is not only handy, but invaluable, and the more you use it, the more you'll agree.

Issue 01.03: Mark Messages

If you receive a lot of email and are losing track of what is where PocoMail's Mark Message Feature can rescue you. By marking messages in the Index Pane with a specific colour that attributes a meaning or category you can see immediately what needs to be done. You can mark important messages requiring a reply in red, so that they are easily spotted when you enter the mailbox.

Apply a mark by right clicking on the message and select Mark, ,  or even quicker, use the shortcut keys Alt+1 to Alt+8 (Alt+1 correspond to the first Mark, Alt+2 to the second mark and so on). To clear a Mark, when you no longer need to emphasize the message, right click on the message and select Mark, Clear Mark, or just press Alt+0.

The Mark Message feature also allows you mark messages automatically from a specific sender or with a certain subject. For example you could mark all your PocoReports by pressing F4, New Filter, and then selecting  From in the Search Field, PocoReport in For, Mark Message As in the perform field and then choose the Mark you want to use for PocoReports. Next time you receive a PocoReport it will show up in the Mark colour you chose, so you won't forget to read it! How do you change the default colours and descriptions? Just go to Options (F7), and click on the Message Marking section.

Issue 01.04: Sign E-mail Fast

To sign an e-mail quickly, use the handy shortcut CTRL+G, and your default signature, for example your work signature, will appear quickly at your current cursor point in the message. To use another signature, perhaps for personal e-mail, select Insert, Any Signature and then choose one of your pre-named signatures.

Creating your signature in PocoMail is also quick and easy to do. From the main PocoMail window select Tools menu and Edit Signatures. You must then a type a name for your new signature to make sure you don't overwrite the original signature unless you want to. Next, delete the existing signature text and type your new signature. When editing the signature you can also add special text tags that are expanded when you use the signature. For example, entering %day% as a part of your signature (with the enclosing percent signs) will be expanded into the current day of the week when you are composing the message. For the complete list of Common Variable Tags take a look in PocoMail Help (F1) under PocoMail Makeover.

When done editing the signature click the Save button and close the window. To select this new signature as the default for any account go to Accounts Setup (F3), click on the Optional tab and select the new name in the Signature drop box.

Issue 01.05: Protect your privacy with Image Toggle

One of the advantages of HTML email is that images can be sent within the message text. Often, these pictures are not sent together with the email, but are fetched from a remote server when you open the message. When this type of image referencing is used by a reputable advertiser or an e-mail newsletter it results in smaller messages being downloaded, without images taking up space on your computer. But a malicious sender (read spammer) could encode those image references to uniquely identify your message. In this scenario reading the message will initiate the image download, which in turn will leave your fingerprint on the spammer's server, confirming that your e-mail address is live and being read. Furthermore, the spammer will also have your IP address which can expose your computer directly, and give the spammer more information about your approximate physical whereabouts (down to the city level or better).

Fortunately, it is easy to disable remote image loading in PocoMail. To toggle the download of images from remote servers in PocoMail, click the Download External Images icon (it's the red, blue and green icon in the message preview pane or the message window). You can also reach this toggle under File, Download Message Images menu, or by pressing Shift+F10.

Issue 01.06: PocoMail Pane Layout

PocoMail's default pane layout has the mailboxes and address book on the left and the message index and preview panes on the right. If the default layout is not to your liking, you can change it to suit your preferences. Fortunately, PocoMail lets me have my favourite pane layout, and chances are it can be accustomed to your preferences, too. To change the pane layout in PocoMail, click on Options under Tools menu (Shift+F7). Expand the Appearance category and open Pane Layout. You can now choose your favourite layout from the diagram of available layouts. Click OK to apply the new pane layout.

To further customize PocoMail's appearance on-the-fly remember these handy shortcuts and panes will never be in your way. All the keys are toggles, which means they will hide and show the affected pane.

When you need more space to view the mailbox index hide the Preview pane quickly with F10. If you need more space for the Preview pane just press F11 to maximize it. Similarly, F6 will toggle the Address List pane on and off, while F8 will do the same for Mailboxes pane. You can keep both of these closed if you are using PocoMail on a small screen and only show them when needed.

Issue 01.07: "Syncing" PocoMail and PocoMail PE

While this tip is primarily meant to address the ever-popular question of syncing PocoMail with PocoMail PE, it also contains useful information for those of you that do not use PocoMail PE, but would like to sync two separate installations of PocoMail.

PocoMail and PocoMail PE share common file formats and structures so syncing the information they contain is quite simple. Unfortunately, PocoMail PE often runs on space-starved removable drives, so doing a complete sync of the two is often not desirable. Generally, you will want to sync program settings, while leaving the large mailboxes and attachments stored in PocoMail. The simplest way to proceed is to start PocoMail, go to File menu, Backup and Restore, and click on Backup. You can uncheck Mailboxes and Attachments to prevent those from being backed up and speed up the process. Make sure to enter a directory that is not on the same drive as your PocoMail PE, to minimize on wasted space.

After the backup is done, start PocoMail PE, go to File menu, Backup and Restore and click on Restore. Select the parts of the program you would like to sync and point the Restore operation to the same directory you used above. PocoMail PE will restore those parts of the program onto your removable drive, ready to be taken with you.

For those more technically inclined, you can selective sync certain parts of PocoMail by copying the individual files from the program directory. For example, copying FILTERS.INI from one PocoMail directory to another will sync the filters of the first installation with the second one. Using this method you can copy your important mailboxes directly to PocoMail PE, without copying all of your mail. Just find the files in PocoMailMail directory with correct name (MailboxName.*) and copy them into the same Mail directory in PocoMail PE installation.

Issue 01.08: Downloading and using alternative dictionaries

PocoMail 2 Only: PocoMail is not limited to just the English dictionary that comes with it, you can download dictionaries for several other languages as well. The process is quite simple: first visit the following URL for a list of compatible dictionaries:

http://www.addictivesoftware.com/addict2/dicts.html

Apart from dictionaries for other languages, you will be able to find bigger English dictionaries as well. Download dictionary files into PocoMail's main application folder then extract them by double-clicking on them. Finally, you will need to tell PocoMail to use the new dictionary: go to message Compose Window, and click on Configure Spelling under Message menu. Next, click on Add under Main dictionaries. Select the dictionary you just downloaded and make sure it is active. From that point on PocoMail will spell-check using the new dictionary.

Issue 01.09: Using Styled Messages

PocoMail has the ability to send styled messages in HTML format. All you have to do is make sure that the Styled button is pressed in on the Compose Window toolbar. Keep the following tips in mind to get the most out of HTML email:

It's best to stick to standard Windows fonts when sending messages, since using a font that is not present on the recipient's computer will display your message in an unpredictable font. Attaching the correct font to the message will not help, the recipient would need to install it first before viewing the message.

Some users of older email clients cannot read HTML mail properly; in that case it's better to send them a plain text message (DEpress the Styled button), or at least check "Include plain version when sending styled" menu under the Message menu in the Compose Window. This will include an alternate version of the message text without HTML formatting. You may have to use plain text mail in other circumstances as well, when netiquette calls for it. A lot of mailing lists prefer plain text messages. In these cases, just make sure the Styled button is not pressed in before sending mail. Any formatting inside the message will not be sent out.

You don't need to use HTML to send images to another person - attaching them like regular attachments is a good and compatible way to share images. When you need to put images in context within the message text you will need to use HTML - use Insert, Image menu to select and insert the image anywhere within the text.

Issue 01.10: Customizing Mailboxes

You will often find that not all mailboxes should be treated equally. For example, when viewing the Sent mailbox you may want to display only the To column, since you most likely know who the messages in that mailbox are From. To enable custom column settings for any mailbox first select that mailbox from the Mailboxes pane. Next, under the Mailbox menu select Mailbox Properties. Just place a checkmark next to "Use custom column settings for this mailbox" to enable individual mailbox settings. You can also turn off any columns you don't need for this mailbox, like the From column for the Sent mailbox.

When you press OK, you will see your new column arrangement. At this point, you can click and drag column headers to re-arrange them in any order that you see fit, and that order will be retained just for that mailbox. If you ever need to disable this feature, you would just uncheck the above checkbox and the mailbox will switch back to your application-wide column order.

Mailbox Properties also allow you to force any mailbox to thread its messages by topic, or even password protect a mailbox to keep out unwanted visitors. Customizing mailboxes will make you feel more at home no matter what mailbox you have to deal with!

Issue 01.11: Moving Between PocoMails

Some of you may want to try PocoMail 3, but want to have a clear exit strategy if you decide you prefer to stick with PocoMail 2.6. Or you may want to run both versions side by side until you decide which you like better. This tip is for you!

PocoMail 2.64 and 3.01 share most of the file formats. This means it's easy to switch between the two programs, though going from 2.6 to 3 is easier than going back. PocoMail 3 understands 2.64 formats and will upgrade them automatically when you first start PocoMail 3 on your imported data. So going from PocoMail 2.6 to PocoMail 3 is quite easy.

  • Moving from PocoMail 2.6 to PocoMail 3

    We strongly encourage you to backup your previous PocoMail installation before installing PocoMail 3. That said, PocoMail 3 can be installed directly over older versions, though we recommend a clean install and import of your old information into the new install. This means that you should let the installer install PocoMail 3 into a different program directory from the one you used in PocoMail 2.6. This just makes your exit strategy easier to achieve, if you ever need it. Next, the first time you start PocoMail 3 the Wizard will have a link for importing data from another PocoMail install visible on the first page, click that link and follow the import procedure to copy your data over. This import option is also available under File menu, Import, Data from another PocoMail install, at any time after starting PocoMail.

  • Moving from PocoMail 3 to PocoMail 2.6

    Going back to 2.6 takes a little more work and some forethought. There are two sets of files that are not fully downward compatible from 3.0 to 2.6: folders and address books. You can use File, Backup and Restore, Backup menu from PocoMail 3 to backup your files to a new directory; then use PocoMail 2.6 Restore feature under the same menu to restore those items into the old installation, just uncheck address books to avoid the above incompatibility (there are several ways to import address books from 3.0 to 2.6, email us for details). After the restore process is finished, you will need to do some manual clean-up of your Mail directory to avoid the folder incompatibility.

    PocoMail 3 allows folders to act as mailboxes, while PocoMail 2.6 doesn't. So after starting PocoMail 2.6 on mailboxes imported from PocoMail 3, any folders you created will not be visible. To restore those folders you need to close PocoMail 2.6, open Windows Explorer and navigate to your mail directory (normally C:Program FilesPocoMailMail). You will find that for each directory (which represent your folders in PocoMail 2.6) there is a newly created .mbx file just outside that directory. So if you had a folder called Friends, when you look into the parent directory of Friends you will see
    Friends (directory)
    Friends.mbx (file of zero size)
    Deleting the file Friends.mbx will make the Friends folder visible next time you start PocoMail 2.6.

    The simplest way to try PocoMail 3 and continue using PocoMail 2.6 is to simply set PocoMail 3 accounts to leave mail on server for a few days. Then you can check mail in both clients and slowly transition to PocoMail 3 on your own schedule. Above all, remember to backup before you attempt switching - it's always better to have the safety net of recent backup when playing with a new application.

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