Kiss your email problems goodbye

Throughout my thesis writing I found techniques to solve a variety of small-scale IT problems, lifehacks in so many words.
I won’t bore you with them. With one exception: My email setup. Here’s what it achieves:

– No lost emails “ever”, and no need to delete emails
– No more worrying about SMTP servers when on the road (after six months you’ll forget that there ever was a problem)
– The ability to have all one’s emails in one big archive (if you’ve stored your historic correspondence somewhere)
– All this without changing your email address(es)
– Use all your email addresses through one webmail interface

The solution, of course, involves Gmail. The following assumes that you want to use an old-school email client.

Do this:
– Get a Gmail account
– Have your current email account(s) forward everything to your Gmail address
– Under Gmail settings, add your current email account(s) so you can send from them through Gmail (mark one of them as default)
– Setup your current email addresses to send through Google’s SMTP. See the instructions (to store all your outgoing mail in Gmail as well).
– Set up your email client to delete email on your account(s) when they are downloaded (alternatively: Set the accounts to forward AND delete if you have that option)
– Set up a “filter” in Gmail (under settings). In the “To” field insert your new Gmail adress. Choose to “Forward” to your actual email address. For instance, I have this filter: Matches: to:(jonasheidesmith@gmail.com) Do this: Forward to jonas@autofire.dk. This makes it unnecessary to check your Gmail account for messages AND it ensures that you get email sent to your Gmail address.

With this setup you needn’t tell anyone about your Gmail account – they can just keep using your normal address.
There are plenty of other Gmail setups which could achieve the same thing. But this one really has worked for me.

Update: What are the drawbacks? Well, you trust Google to not suddenly pull the plug on your archive. Also, some truly paranoid spam filters may not like that your emails get sent through Gmail with a non-Gmail “from” address – but I haven’t had any real issues with this myself.

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