Color code your mail

It seems most software has a lot of features, that we don’t know about or don’t use. Some of these features can actually prove themselves highly valuable in the every usage of a given program, and one of the small but powerful tips is how to color code your mail.

I used to have an inbox with more than a thousand messages lying around. Through some heavy vetting and through cleaning it’s rarely below a hundred messages. While a 100 messages isn’t too uncommon its still too many to conquer in a single glance and there are an easy way to break it down further.

By using the number keys (zero to five) in Thunderbird (by preferred mailreader) I can easily assign different colors to the mails in the inbox. I’ve made a little system of my own where one color means urgent, another “less important todos” and so on.

Using the colors systematically makes it easier for me to find the mail I may be looking for, since I only need to focus on the mails in the correct color when browsing down the list.

My mailbox is IMAP-based and through the magic of IMAP, the color codes even carries themselves between the different machines I use (and works within Apple’s Mail.app too).

It may not revolutionize your life, but it sure helps me just a little bit – each and every day.

  • Tim

    Great post – I am curious how you were able to get the color labels to show up in Mail.app – I’m using Gmail with IMAP and have been using the color labels in Gmail for a little while now but curious how I can translate that to my home computer running Mail.app.

    Thanks!

  • Tim

    Great post – I am curious how you were able to get the color labels to show up in Mail.app – I’m using Gmail with IMAP and have been using the color labels in Gmail for a little while now but curious how I can translate that to my home computer running Mail.app.

    Thanks!

  • Tim

    Great post – I am curious how you were able to get the color labels to show up in Mail.app – I’m using Gmail with IMAP and have been using the color labels in Gmail for a little while now but curious how I can translate that to my home computer running Mail.app.

    Thanks!

  • Hash

    does this actually work?? i want color codes to sync between different machines but doesnt seem to work with IMAP

    • Sort of. You’re labels seems to be roaming between the different machines, but you do need (one time only) to setup the configuration in each mail client you use.