App of the Week: Alfred

Ditch Spotlight for this genius universal search bar on Mac

Spotlight is a powerful tool on the Mac, but it doesn’t even compare to the third-party app Alfred and its countless user-developed workflows.

By Taylor Martin of CNet

Apple’s Spotlight for Mac is a wonderful tool, but even with Siri and a third-party add-ons coming this fall, Spotlight doesn’t compare to one of my all-time favorite applications, Alfred.

Alfred looks and acts much like Spotlight. But with the add-on Powerpack, it gets a lot smarter. The $22.04 (£17.00 or AU$28.61) app adds “workflows,” which make your Mac do a chain of tasks with one command.

The best workflows for Alfred

If you’re ready to ditch Spotlight, install these add-ons to change the way you use your Mac. Seriously.

To install one of these workflows, follow the link to download it, double-click to open and the workflow will install itself.

  • Google Suggest does exactly what you would expect it to. It puts suggested searches inside Alfred. Press your launch command for Alfred (by default, it’s Options + Spacebar) and type “g” followed by a space. Then type your search query. With each keystroke, the list of suggested searches narrows. Use arrow keys or the hotkey (listed to the right of the result) to select one and load the search results in your default browser.
  • Amazon Suggest is the same thing for Amazon searches. Launch Alfred and type “amazon,” followed by your search query. Highlighting and selecting one of those results will launch the Amazon search in your default browser.
  • Curious how critics feel about a new movie? Use the RottenMovies workflow to find out. Type “rt” followed by the name of the movie. The workflow will search Rotten Tomatoes and you can see the score without ever visiting the website.
  • Sitting at a desk all day, it’s easy to let 10, 20 or even 30 minutes slip by unnoticed.
  • Sometimes you need to set quick reminders for yourself to respond to someone in 20 minutes or check the coffee pot in 5. EggTimer 2 is the perfect workflow for this. Launch Alfred and type “timer 5 Check coffee pot” to set a 5-minute timer with a reminder to check the coffee pot. You can also set alarms for specific times using the same syntax: “alarm 4:00pm Take a break” or “alarm 12:00pm Lunch.”

  • When writing, I’m constantly switching between my writing app and Google search for currency and unit conversions. With the Units workflow, I can make those same conversions without ever leaving my writing app. In Alfred, type “units” and type or select what you want to convert from the list of options (length, temperature, currency, etc.). Next type a number and select the starting unit from the options and finally select what you’re converting to. When you hit enter at the end, the conversion is copied to your clipboard for pasting. It will take a few tries to get the process down, but once you do, this is one of the most handy converters around.
  • The Recent Items workflow is great for helping you recall things you have been working on in the last few hours. Install the workflow and launch Alfred, then type “rec.” The workflow will suggest types of recent items, such as applications, downloads, folders or up to two custom items. Select one of the types of files from the selection (or begin typing to narrow the suggestions) and all the recent items of that type will appear. Selecting one will open it.
  • After you get used to a keyboard launcher like Alfred, it’s difficult to break the habit of launching Alfred when you want to do anything, even things that you don’t normally control with Alfred, such as adding new tasks to your task manager. Fortunately, you can add that functionality with workflows for Trello, Wunderlist and Todoist.
  • Sometimes toggling Wi-Fi will fix any connectivity issues you’re experiencing. It’s not a difficult task on OS X, especially with the menu bar icon. However, the Wi-Fi Control makes it a much faster process. You can turn Wi-Fi on or off with the workflow, but you can also restart Wi-Fi (toggle off and back on) with just a few keystrokes.
  • The Kill workflow is easily the one I use the most. If you have a rogue app that gets hung or you need to force quit, launch Alfred, type “kill” followed by the first few letters of the app and press Enter. It will immediately kill any apps or processes.
  • I also do a lot of link shortening for personal analytics. The Shorten URL workflow is fantastic. It includes support for goo.gl, bit.ly, is.gd, j.mp and more. With the workflow installed, launch Alfred and type “short” followed by a space, paste the URL you want to shorten and select the link-shortening service. The shortened link will be copied to your clipboard and automatically pasted wherever your cursor is placed.
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    • It’s easy to use the same password over and over. But if you use a password manager, quickly generating a new password is the more secure route. With the Password Generator workflow, type “pw” followed by a number for how many digits you’d like the password to have. Press enter and the randomized password will be copied to your clipboard.
    • Sleep is a sleep timer workflow for your Mac. Just type “sleep” followed by the number of minutes you want your computer to stay awake. After the timer finished, the Mac will go to sleep.
    • Who doesn’t love GIFs? Alphy puts Giphy search right inside Alfred. Just type “gif” followed by your search term. Highlight one of the suggestions and press Shift to preview it. Pressing Enter will copy the URL of the GIF to your keyboard, Command + Enter will copy the Giphy URL and Alt + Enter will open the GIF on the Giphy website.
    • There are several ways to quickly insert emoji with a Mac. Emoj is yet another way, and this one comes with search, which means you can find a specific emoji, even when you don’t know its exact name. The downside is that this requires Node to be installed on your Mac.
    • If you’d prefer unicode emoticons over emoji, Dongers is the workflow you’re looking for. Type “dongers” and your search term for a list of relevant emoticons, like the table flip. (ノಠдಠ)ノ︵┻━┻
    • One of the first things I do if my internet connection is having problems is run a speed test. The SpeedTest workflow allows you to do this without loading the speedtest.org site in your browser. Type “speedtest” press enter and wait. When the test completes, you will receive a growl notification with your uplink and downlink speeds, as well as your ping.

     

    Have you tried Alfred? What are some of your favorite workflows? Sound off in the comments below!!

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    App of the Week: Five Interesting Mac Apps Worth Checking Out

     

     

    By Juli Clover of MacRumors

    Apps created for the Mac don’t receive as much attention as apps made for iOS devices, so we have a bi-monthly series here at MacRumors that’s designed to highlight useful and interesting Mac apps that are worth checking out and potentially investing in.

    This week’s picks include apps for streamlining your email, focusing on tasks, checking the weather, cleaning up your Mac, and managing all of your messaging services. Many of our highlighted apps this week were chosen by MacRumors forum members.

    Focus (Free with in-app purchases) – Focus is a time management app and monitoring service that’s designed to help you keep track of your time so you can stay on task. It encourages users to work in focus sessions, which are 25 minute blocks of time for working accompanied by a 15 to 20 minute break. There’s an included task manager so you can stay on top of tasks, along with detailed statistics so you can see how you’ve spent your day. Focus is free to download, but it costs $4.99 per month or $39.99 for year to use across all of your devices.

    Carrot Weather ($11.99) – Carrot Weather is a well-known weather app that delivers weather information with a little bit of attitude to make checking outdoor conditions more fun. It has different dialogue and graphics for various weather conditions, and what comes up is always a surprise. Carrot Weather uses data from Dark Sky so it’s super accurate and it offers up tons of data like 7-day forecasts, rain and snow predictions, weather maps, and a time machine so you can see past weather conditions.

    Dr. Cleaner (Free) – Dr. Cleaner from TrendMicro is an app that offers a Disk Clean Map so you can see what’s taking up space on your Mac, a memory cleanup feature for freeing up memory, a scanner for large files, and a junk file cleaner that’s designed to get rid of temporary files, trash, and other unwanted items taking up disk space. Dr. Cleaner is free from the Mac App Store, but there is a $19.99 Pro version that finds and eliminates duplicate files, shreds deleted files, and uninstalls apps.

    Canary Mail ($19.99) – Those who previously used the now-eliminated Newton Mail might be looking for a new mail app, and Canary could fit the bill. Canary Mail offers one-click encryption, natural language search, smart filters, read notifications, snooze options, email templates, one-click unsubscribe, and more.

    All-in-One Messenger (Free) – This is technically a Chrome extension rather than a Mac app, so it’s limited to Chrome users. All-in-One Messenger is designed to combine all of your chat and messenger services into one convenient web app so you can keep up with all of your chats in a single spot. It works with a wide range of messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Telegram, Slack, Discord, Google Hangouts, and more.

    Many of this month’s app picks came directly from recommendations from MacRumors forum members, and it’s these recommendations that have helped make this series useful.

    What are you’re favorite Mac Apps? Sound off in the comments below!!!

     

    App of the Week: TextSoap 8

    Hands on: TextSoap 8 cleans up your text for online and publishers

     

    By William Gallagher of AppleInsider

    TextSoap 8 is supremely handy, easy to start. and hard to master —but so very powerful for writers of all ability levels.

    From 1998 to around 2004, every website editor at BBC Worldwide in the UK had an extra button in their copy of Microsoft Word. When you clicked it, Word would ready your text to go into websites without any of the usual problems of the time. Smart quotes, the 66 and 99 marks, used to break the sites, for instance, so they were changed to plain ones. The BBC system had problems with dashes and certain types of parentheses too, plus a constant difficulty with the British pound symbol.

    This Word button handled four or five such common issues but it was the quote marks it was known for. So much so that since it was changing smart quotes into dumb ones, it could’ve been called the Dumber. Instead, since “thick” is British slang for stupid, it was called Thickify. It made smart things more thick.

    I know all this because I wrote Thickify. It was the single most successful piece of work I ever did at the BBC and hardly anyone who used it had any idea that it was mine or that it was a Word macro. They believed that it was part of Microsoft Word and when they’d upgrade that word processor, they would actually shout at IT people for apparently removing their big button.

    A dozen BBC websites used it. Probably twenty editors, news editors or assistant editors used it. So did most of the writers on each of these sites. To this day I am proud of that work —and yet I see it was total rubbish compared to TextSoap 8.4.7.

    TextSoap is the same idea and it does the same things. However, where my Thickify for BBC fixed four or five problems, TextSoap 8 does more than a hundred.

    Paste some text into this Mac app and it will remove extra spaces, it will take out extra returns, it can remove every tab and so on. If you paste in the HTML source code from a web page, it will extract all the actual text from it.

    Better and better

    You don’t have to paste text into the app, though. Instead, you can call up TextSoap’s features from within practically any Mac app. Just select some text then click on the app’s name in the menu bar. Choose the little-used Services item from the menu that drops down and then TextSoap does its work.

    In the background, it’s taking that selected text and putting it into its own app before cleaning it up and pasting it back.

     

    It puts that text into its Clipboard Workspace but it’s also possible to open or create documents in TextSoap. It’s oddly resistant to closing them again, though.

    We’d run it from the Services menu a few times and would sometimes find that it had opened new documents for each occasion. So we’d close them but the next time we’d run TextSoap, it would occasionally reopen a dozen. It’s probably something to do with macOS’s way of making apps reopen the last documents you were working on, but still we had positively chosen to close them.

     

    When we’d run it from within another app like Pages or Word or Ulysses, though, we wouldn’t notice the documents at all because we stay in that app as it works.

    Still, there’s a reason that macOS Services menu is so little used. You forget that it’s there and also to choose it you have to take your hands off the keyboard and use the mouse or trackpad. Since we’re doing this to speed up preparing text that we’ve typed, it would be great if you could just use a keyboard shortcut —and you can.

    At the foot of the Services menu there is Services Preferences option. Choose that and you’re taken to the right section of System Preferences. It’s the Keyboard pane and Shortcuts/Services will already be highlighted.

    If you’ve not been in this before or haven’t looked at Services on the Mac, your head will jerk back at the sheer number of options. Every app you’ve ever installed can provide a Service and so many do that your list is going to be long.

     

    However, scroll on down and you will reach one called Clean with TextSoap 8. It will also say “none” next to it. Click on that to record a new keystroke that will open the Service for you.

    After that, using TextSoap is a matter of selecting some text, pressing that button and taking your hands off the keyboard while it works. Depending on how much text you’ve selected, you may have to wait a while but it’s going to be enough time to flex your fingers, not enough time to get a coffee.

    Takes all sorts

    Perhaps it’s just because we are more habitually used to clicking on menubar items, we use Services only when we remember. The rest of the time, we click on TextSoap’s menubar app.

    This does also have the advantage that where Services shows you only one or two TextSoap cleaners, the menubar app lists about 20 by default. So we can go directly to Straighten Quotes if we know that’s all we want.

    There is more, though

    If this all you use TextSoap for then you’re in good company: this is chiefly how we’ve used it for years.

    However, it is preposterously more powerful and has practically a ludicrous number of options that we’ve explored from time to time.

    They’re all to do with creating what TextSoap calls your own cleaners. The built-in option that straightens or thickifies smart quotes is a cleaner. The one that removes double spaces after a sentence is another.

    While most of the time you’ll use one called Scrub which is actually a collection of many routines, each time you run TextSoap you are choosing a cleaner to work on your selected text.

    It’s just that you can make your own. You have to open the main app, you can’t do this from the menubar version. Choose File, New, Custom Cleaner.

    This gets you an editor window that’s divided into three key areas. Down the left there is a list of actions or existing cleaners that you can use. Each one comes with a detailed explanation of what it does and the only reason you’ll take a long time to get through this is that there are so many.

    Then the greater part of the editor window has two sections arranged horizontally. At the top there is a Properties window and then underneath is an Actions one.

    Or that’s the theory. We spent a frustratingly long time trying to understand how this section worked because we didn’t have that Actions part. It turned out that this was because we also didn’t have the very latest version of the software: while TextSoap has had this particular feature for some years, it somehow wasn’t displaying in our copy. Not until we updated.

    When we did, this suddenly because much more familiar territory. If you’ve ever used Workflow, Automator or Keyboard Maestro then you’ll recognize the idea. You have a pot of actions to choose from and you drag in the ones you want into the order you want them to work.

    Then you can edit them to make an action be more specific.

    For instance, we created a cleaner called The Ize Have It where words written with the British English ending -ise were changed to the US English -ize.

    We dragged in a Find and Replace action, then entered a pair of words like “equalise” and “equalize” and from now on this cleaner will make that swap. It was a bit tedious because we had to do a different Find and Replace for each pair of words. It would be better if you could load in a spreadsheet of them.

    Still, no matter how many pairs of words we add, we’re adding them to one cleaner. Which means, every time we want to check and fix this problem, we run that and it’s done.

    Worth the effort

    TextSoap is worth putting some effort in to create your own cleaners because the time you spend now is saved later. You do it once and this tool is available forever.

    It could be friendlier but really for the giant majority of times we use it, TextSoap is quite clear. We’d just like it to have some up to date documentation for those times we want to go further.

    TextSoap 8.4.7 costs $65 direct from the developer. It’s also available as part of the Setapp subscription service.

    There is a trial version available from the developer’s site which also points out that TextSoap has been around for 20 years. I could’ve just told the BBC to buy TextSoap version 1.0.

    App of the Week: VSCO

    Here’s the app you need to make your iPhone photos good enough for Tim Cook to share!

    By Martha Tesema of Mashable

    It’s World Photography Day, which means Tim Cook is celebrating in a very Tim Cook way: sharing #ShotOniPhone snapshots.

    On Sunday, the Apple CEO tweeted the breathtaking work of John Bozinov — a photographer who focuses on wildlife and portraits. Bozinov is a master of iPhone photography, and the images that Cook shared are breathtaking examples of his work capturing life in Antarctica.

    But it’s kind of hard to believe they were actually shot on an iPhone, especially when you compare them to the smartphone pics we normally see on our timelines.

    At first glance, it’s easy to assume Bozinov attached a newfangled lens (perhaps from the masters of iPhone accessories, Moment), but as he told Mashable in 2016, there are no extra gadgets involved when he takes pictures. It’s just good, old-fashioned editing with an app that has revolutionized iPhone photography: VSCO.

     

    The app has been quietly improving your Instagram feeds for years, with easy-to-use tools that adjust everything from color saturation to exposure. For those less formally trained in photography (no shame!), VSCO also offers a bevy of presets that do the job for you.

    VSCO, which stands for Visual Supply Company, was founded by Greg Lutze and Joel Flory in 2011. Since its inception, it’s grown into a community hub offering grants along with editing tools and presets. The app also doubles as a platform on which to share your work (every user has “journals” they can post images to).

    Seven years later, the app’s impact is obvious. The internet is saturated with how-to-guides on creating the perfect image and maximizing the tools on the app.
    That said… VSCO can’t fix what’s already broken. If you’re looking to be Cook’s next featured tweet on #WorldPhotographyDay, here are some things you can do to make your iPhone photos sing before opening up any app.

    1. Focus on lighting

    “A lot of my work is outside, and the iPhone works really well with that, because there’s lot of light around,” Bozinov said in his 2016 interview with Mashable. That abundance of lighting is what makes his photos stand out compared to the pics on your personal camera roll.

     

    Keep an eye out on how much light there is next time you whip out your phone. The more light, the clearer the image – and the easier it will be to make the technical adjustments that you need to transform your iPhone pics into masterpieces that you’ve always wanted.

     

     

    2. Don’t forget to maintain stability

    “Whether I’m shooting in portrait or landscape mode, I like to hold the iPhone with my left hand and release the shutter with my right thumb. I recently learned that the camera shutter isn’t released until you take your thumb off the shutter button on the touch screen,” photographer Cotton Coulson told National Geographic.
    Since that’s the case, making sure you have as steady of a hand as possible when capturing a shot is key. You have to be a human tripod.

     

     

     

    3. It’s ultimately all about composition

    Composition is essentially just how you arrange the photo, so next time you’re walking down the street, pay attention to the colors, shadows, colors, and scenes — and frame it up in a way that looks interesting!

     

     

     

     

    What’s your favorite photo editing app for your phone? Tell us in the comments below!!

    App of the Week: What’s the best calendar app for iPhone?

     

     

    By Bradley Chambers of 9to5Mac

    Calendar apps for iPhone are a tough thing to advise for because different people use them in different ways. Some people are busier than others (meeting wise), and others use their calendar as a to-do system (personally I question your sanity if you are this way). All of the primary calendar apps I tried are great but might not fit how you use a calendar app.

    When using third-party iOS apps, it’s straightforward to try new ones because they request access to your calendar data using Apple’s APIs (so it works with Exchange, iCloud, Yahoo, AOL, and Outlook.com). This feature keeps you from having to set up different apps individually. I’ll explain what I like about each one, and which one I like best.

    Apple’s Calendar App

    There is a lot to like about Apple’s default calendar app for iPhone.

    It shows the date icon on the home screen (something no other app can do without using a notification badge). When I’m using this app, I stay in the “List View” so I can scroll my upcoming events. I don’t have a lot of events on my calendar (I tried to avoid meetings like the plague). I do like to be able to get a quick glance at my week to know what I have coming up. It’s heavily integrated with the rest of Apple’s platform.

    Apple’s app does a lot of things well. It integrates all of your calendars into a single app, provides timely travel time information (pulling the data from Apple Maps traffic data), and is easy to use. Where it could improve is in its “time to enter an appointment.” While it has added things like auto-complete, it really should add better natural language input for quick entry. For many apps now, that is a standard feature. If you are entering a lot of events on your iPhone, Apple’s calendar app will get tedious quickly.

    Fantastical

    When I asked people for their recommendations on Twitter of their favorite calendar apps, Fantastical was mentioned by many people. That is with good reason as well. It’s long been a gold standard for third-party calendar apps. It’s the pioneer of the natural language input for calendar apps (unless I am missing an app that did it so well first).

    Fantastical has a lot of things going for it. It’s extremely fast to add new events using its natural language input (dinner with mom Saturday at 7:00 pm will add it). You can add in your iOS reminders, use Google Maps as your default map app (when you tap on an address), and it has a beautiful design. Fantastical also has an excellent Today widget for getting quick access to your calendar.

    Fantastical for iPhone is $4.99 on the App Store which includes an Apple Watch version.

    Week Calendar

    If you have a hectic schedule, Week Calendar may be an app you’ll want to check out. It includes a number of different views (week, list, month, agenda, etc.). The week view is probably the most interesting one. You can see your entire view from a single screen. You can drag and drop events to new dates/times.

    It lacks a natural language input, but it does have a Calendar Store. The store is an exciting add-on. You can add things like weather forecasts, famous birthdays, sports calendars, and more to your list. Adding these calendars requires a $2.99 per year in-app purchase (or $5.99 for three years).

    From a customization standpoint, it’s probably got the most significant feature set. You can customize the icons it uses, the default new event layout, and the various colors.

    If you have a lot of events on your calendar, I highly advise you checking out Week Calendar.

    It’s $2.99 on the App Store.

    Calendars 5

    Calendars 5 is from the folks at Readdle. They are the developers of some of the best iOS and macOS apps (Documents, PDF Expert, Spark, etc.).

    Calendars 5 reminds me a lot of Fantastical. They share a lot of similar features (natural language input, the ability to use Google Maps, and integration with Apple’s Reminders). It has a variety of views: List, Day, Week, and Month. Like I mentioned earlier, I probably prefer a list view, and Calendars 5 shows me the least amount of information compared to Apple’s app or Fantastical.

    Overall, it’s a great app. It’s easy to create events, has multiple viewing options, offers plenty of customization, and much more.

    Calendars 5 is $6.99 on the App Store.

    Google Calendar

    You might be wondering why I am listing the Google Calendar app on an iPhone calendar app roundup. Well, it can show more than just your Google Calendar. It defaults to it, but you can quickly add any calendar that you’ve already added to your iPhone.

    Google Calendars on the web has always been a first class service. The iPhone app is no different. It contains natural language input, deep integration with your Gmail/G-Suite account, and some exciting extra features (showing a haircut theme if your appointment is a haircut, etc.).

    There’s nothing I dislike about the app, but something about the design doesn’t sit well with me. Functionally, it all works, but it just feels like the design doesn’t fit in with the iPhone.

    Google Calendar can be download for free on The App Store

    BusyCal

    BusyCal is probably best known for its long standing macOS app. There is also a companion app for iPhone, though! It contains a similar view to other apps (list, month, week, and day). You can create events using natural language. You can also add tags to events (could be helpful with project management).

    Out of all the apps I tried, it reminded me of Apple’s Calendar app the most. In fact, if it was called Calendars+, that would be an appropriate name. It includes a live ten-day weather view (helpful for planning outdoor events). Like some of the other apps, it can also integrate with Apple’s Reminders app so you can have both tasks and calendar in a single app.

    BusyCal was also one of the few apps I found (outside of Apple’s) that contained travel time notifications.

    BusyCal for iPhone can be bought on the App Store for $4.99.

    Wrap Up

    Overall, I am torn between two apps. I find a lot to like with Apple’s default calendar app, but Fantastical also fits my needs. If you like Apple’s app for specific features, then you can probably stick with it. If you want something a little bit more, check out Fantastical. If you are a heavy meeting person, Week Calendar is one I’d recommend. In reality, I didn’t try one that I couldn’t easily use day to day. We are extremely fortunate to have so many great options.

    What’s your favorite Calendar App? Share it with use the comments below!

    App of the Week: TickTick

    TickTick helps get your to-do list finished [50 Essential iOS Apps #33]

     

    By Ian Fuchs of CultofMac

    When Apple rolled out iOS 5 way back in 2011, one of the software’s highlights was a new app — Reminders — to help you keep track of tasks.

    Since that time, Reminders hasn’t evolved much. However, the type of task manager people are looking for has changed dramatically. TickTick offers greater control, more granularity, and is an all-around better to-do list app.

    What is TickTick?

    TickTick is a task manager app for iOS and Mac. The app features tagging for organization, user-created lists, flexible due date options, recurring tasks, and even allows for nested to-do items.

    Why it’s great

    Unlike the stock Reminders app, nested tasks in TickTick are great for complex projects. Instead of huge lists of tasks, or project-based categorization, task level to-dos allow you to make sure each step of a large project is completed before marking it complete. By using these subtasks, you can also quickly get a visual understanding of how much is left to do.

    Another great feature of TickTick is Siri support (this requires a premium subscription). Adding a task by voice can be done in one of two ways. The main way is by asking to create a reminder in TickTick. The other way is to use the stock Reminders app and allow TickTick to intelligently import from Apple’s app. To make it even better, TickTick can automatically remove any tasks from Reminders after import, allowing it to fully replace the stock app.

    The final great feature of the service is collaborative lists. Using these allows a group to share a task list in TickTick, add descriptions or notes, and complete various tasks. Tasks can also be assigned to others through the app, making it great for individuals and multiperson projects alike.

    Who the TickTick to-do app is for

    If you find yourself wanting a more robust to-do list/task manager app, you need to try TickTick. It’s intuitive, cross-device and works well for individuals and groups.

    Bottom line: TickTick is the best task manager.

    Where the iOS Reminders app falls short, TickTick excels. With robust, pro-level features and a simple interface, it’s the best task manager app for iOS.

    Price: Free (unlock premium features for $2.99/month)

    Download from: App Store

    Do you have a favorite task manager? Tell us about it in the comments below!

    App of the Week: Gmail Archived Mail

    What It Is and How to Use It?

    Need to save that email? Try archiving it

    By Scott Orgera of Lifewire.com

    We live in a world of seemingly endless emails; many of us send and receive a ton of emails every day. Whether it be for professional or personal purposes, our inboxes can eventually become a cluttered repository of disarray.

    While many of these emails are disposable, there are some you may want to keep for future reference. No matter the motive, storing everything in your inbox can become problematic for a number of reasons.

    What is the Gmail Archive?

    Rather than deleting an email and losing it for good, you can choose to archive it instead. As soon as a message is placed in the Gmail archive, it is removed from your inbox and tagged with the label “All Mail.” These messages remain within your Gmail account and can be easily retrieved at a later time, but for now they are out of sight and out of mind.

    Note: If someone replies to an archived message, it’s automatically returned to your inbox.

    How to Archive Email

    Sending a message to your Gmail archive is very easy, so much so that many people often mistakenly archive emails by clicking on or tapping the wrong option. For more information on how to retrieve archived messages, visit our step-by-step tutorial.

    Archiving Emails on a Computer

    • 1 To archive a message on a computer, first access the Gmail interface via your preferred web browser (Google Chrome is recommended).
    • 2 Select the email or emails that you wish to archive by clicking on their accompanying checkbox(es) so that each of them becomes highlighted.
    • 3 Click the Archive button, represented by a folder with a down arrow in the foreground and circled in the accompanying screenshot above.
    • 4 Your message(s) will now be archived, and a confirmation message should appear along with a link labeled Undo – which will revert this change if clicked on.

    Archiving Emails on an Android or iOS Device

    Moving messages into your archive is even easier on smartphones or tablets when using the Gmail app. Simply swipe from right to left on a message in your inbox or other folder and it will instantly be archived, assuming that your swiping settings have not been previously modified.

    To validate your Gmail swiping settings beforehand, take the steps below.

    Android users: From the menu button, take the following path: Settings > General Settings > Gmail default action and ensure that Archive is selected.

    iOS users: From the menu button, take the following path: Settings > “account name” > When removing messages, I prefer to…and ensure that Archive is selected.

    Muting Gmail Messages

    In addition to archiving individual emails, Google offers a similar feature with one key difference. While messages are still moved to the “All Mail” repository when muted, they are not automatically returned to your inbox when someone replies. To mute a message, take the following steps.

    Muting Messages on a Computer

    • 1 To mute a message on a computer, first access the Gmail interface via your preferred web browser (Google Chrome is recommended).
    • 2 Select the email or emails that you wish to mute by clicking on their accompanying checkbox(es) so that each of them becomes highlighted.
    • 3 Click the More button, found in Gmail’s main toolbar.
    • 4 When the drop-down menu appears, select the Mute option.
    • 5 A confirmation message should now be displayed, letting you know that the conversation has been muted. Click the Undo button to revert this setting.

    Muting Messages on Android or iOS Devices

    • 1 To mute a message within the Gmail app on a smartphone or tablet, first select the conversation in question.
    • 2 Next, tap the menu button – represented by three vertical dots and located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
    • 3 When the pop-out menu appears, select Mute.

    What best practices do you have for managing your email? Tell us in the comments below!