Software

Five email clients to help ease you away from Outlook

Jack Wallen suggests some alternative and cheaper email clients that make migration away from Outlook a possibility.

Outlook is one of the most widely used email clients in the business world. But with more smaller-sized companies starting to migrate to other, cheaper, solutions a lot of users are finding email clients that handle the tasks, without the headaches (and cost) that often accompany Outlook.

This blog post is also available as a screenshot gallery.

Email clients offer a variety of features; some features map perfectly to Outlook, some may not. Some email clients offer calendars, some stick with just the basics. In the end, what's important is that you find a client not only offers you what you need, but does so reliably and within your budget. I've found five solid email clients to help you migrate away from Outlook. Give these a look and see which one(s) might work.

Five Apps

1 Opera Mail

Opera Mail is one of those clients that surprise a lot of people. Most have heard of the Opera browser, few know about the mail client. That is a shame as Opera Mail is quite solid, supports POP, IMAP (no Exchange support), newsgroups, RSS, and Atom feeds. Opera Mail has a nice list of features: Threaded views, spam protection, allows you to browse websites within tabs, and has a very simple (and lightning fast) user interface. Opera Mail is free and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

2. Dreammail

Dreammail is another lesser-known client that plays well with POP3 (no support for IMAP or Exchange) and allows you to set up and use multiple accounts and multiple-users. Dreammail does offer some handy features like templates and signature management, anti-spam, message filtering, address book, search, a built-in webmail tool, RSS support, and ESMTP/Google/Yahoo support. Dreammail is free and available for Windows XP/Vista/7 (no support for Windows 8 yet).

3. i.Scribe

i.Scribe doesn't have the most modern-looking interface. What it does have (more than most other email clients) is speed. If you're looking for the one email client that will work faster, and more efficiently, than nearly all others (except maybe Claws Mail), i.Scribe is the one you want. This mail client features: Support for most major protocols as well as international standards, can be used from portable drive, has a built-in baysian spam filter, enjoys frequent updates, and runs on both Windows and Linux. The i.Scribe email client is free.

4. Postbox

Postbox is one of the best email clients for Gmail integration you will find. This application (available for both Window and Mac) is the only one on the list that isn't free (cost is only $9.95 per license), but does offer enough features to make the cost valid. Postbox includes: Social networking integration, native Gmail label support (even has a dedicated view for "Important" labels and support for Gmail keyboard shortcuts), fast access to your favorite accounts, integration with services like Dropbox, and much more.

5. Evolution

Evolution is the Linux equivalent of Outlook. Evolution is also the only email client on the list with Exchange support. This client offers email, calendar, tasks, contacts, memos, LDAP compatibility, multiple account support, plugins, intelligent junk mail, powerful folder search, built-in encryption support, collaboration server support, and much more. Evolution is only available for Linux and is free (and open source). Evolution includes the Eplugin system. By default you can enjoy a number of plugins such as: Attachment reminder, Backup and Restore, Default Sources, Calendar publishing, Mailing list actions, and more.

Bottom line

Email is the single most important means of communication in the office. If your email client doesn't work well with your requirements, that communication is going to suffer. Though not every one of these clients offers a feature-for-feature replacement for Outlook, they will work splendidly with Gmail and POP (and IMAP, in some cases). Give these clients a try and see if they don't serve your email needs well.

Also read:

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

109 comments
l_aga
l_aga

Hi, Jack

I recommend you include The Bat! developed by http://ritlabs.com in the list as well

PGP, GnuPG and S/MIME support; Internal HTML Viewer; Safe handling of attached files; Selective download; Powerful filtering system; The Bat!’s own Address Book; RSS Feed subscriptions and others. 

renyattechrepublic
renyattechrepublic

Can we also do a mail merge from any of these client using MS Word?

pallavkaushish
pallavkaushish

Should definitely try out Mailbird (www.getmailbird.com). It works super fast, has sleek UI and supports IMAP, POP3. Did I mention its lite version is free.

Heart's joy
Heart's joy

Can anyone point me in the direction of an email client that works on Windows 8.1 similar to Outlook, that allows me to include background colour and font style direct from Word? I want to send out a newsletter type email without it going as an attachment.

John Benedict Tigers
John Benedict Tigers

Postbox is not very good, it is buggy, inconsistent and does not handle multiple accounts very well. It especially does not like a mix of clients such as comcast and gmail. It puts emails in different accounts seemingly at random such as in Important or Archive. I have spent hours trying to resolve these issues and got nowhere. Tech support is essentially non-existent but I didn't expect much for the low price. I guess you get what you pay for. Postbox would probably be good if you only had one email source such as gmail. I am looking for alternatives.

john_keith
john_keith

try mailsoc client like www.emailsoc.com what is said to be the next generation mailing just registered its great.....

pauliep100
pauliep100

I want to download attachments from multiple e-mails simultaneously.  For example, highlight ten e-mails and then click ??? to download all attachments to a folder.  Anyone know how to do this in Windows Live Mail or another e-mail client?

archetuthus
archetuthus

I'd say these substitute for Outlook Express, but not Outlook. 

None are described as having a full-featured calendar, or a way to assign and track tasks. 

Since so many businesses and people need Word, Excel and/or PowerPoint—and Outlook comes in that package—I don't see that Outlook is expensive at all. 

Yes there are still, after all these years, great stupidities in Outlook (and Windows Explorer) but there's no point in switching from the MS Office "productivity package" just so you can brag you no longer use a MS product. 

Gisesan
Gisesan

Out of the way of Outlook, i have to say best option by my experience, is a Chrome extension, and this is what mxHero offers with also a bunch of great an easy to use features, like self destruct email, trackin of attachments, and mail schedule. You should try it! http://toolbox.mxhero.com/

Andrea Loubier
Andrea Loubier

 Add Mailbird to the list! Made it on PC's best productivity tools of 2013. Full IMAP support is finally going live in the beta today!!

mrdrew9
mrdrew9

Hi Jack, 


Just finished installing opera mail, having used Outlook Express, WLM, Outlook, Pegasus, & Thunderbird. Got to say although I did want to try a new client, I am puzzled as to why Opera gets the top billing as its been the most difficult client I've ever installed! I think the developers were lazy when they designed the add account wizard, & decided to keep error messages well hidden (an exclamation mark inside an orange triangle). After spending most of my free time getting it working, my inbox went missing,so I uninstalled.

I learned 2 things from my experience: if you make a mistake when setting up your mail account, don't try & correct, just delete the account & start again, & if you're looking for an email client, don't try opera mail.

windowsistheworst
windowsistheworst

I can't believe how bad Microsoft live and/or outlook is!!!! Who cares if it syncs everything when it is ridiculously poorly conceived on the basics - everything! Outlook express was much better. Microsoft is simply the worst. The Worst! Inexcusable garbage.

I'm going with MAC everything for now on.

ultrageoff
ultrageoff

I would always miss seeing them if I was away from my desk - they pop up and then go away again - so I was never reminded. I did get some sort of system hacked together with Thunderbird and a Gmail account, but Thunderbird just got slow and clunky - and 'benefitted' from frequent updates that would cause some other thing to stop working. I had Outlook 2007, if that's relevant.

ultrageoff
ultrageoff

As a user who doesn't have to worry about anything enterprise-ish, I can't believe how good Windows Live Mail is. It integrates multiple email accounts, has a calendar with reminders, imports other calendars and best of all, allows me to block mail from everyone except those I want to hear from. No more missing client emails because they're buried in spam and bacn. Thunderbird falls apart every time it - or one of the components it depends on to achieve a working level of functionality - is getting its fortnightly upgrade, and it never seems to be truly 100% at any time. And it is s-l-o-w to boot up, also, it won't hold a default account for sending (which means... Oh, forget it. Just get Windows Live Mail and stop fretting about your email program. It just works, perfectly. I own Outlook, but I use WLM.

Ed.
Ed.

No mention of compatibility with the Outlook pst files Having an almost infinite store of email messages in my system backup I need to import these to any new Email client, and similarly export to a system backup.

Ed.
Ed.

Time and again I read of alternatives to Outlook. Never, that I can recall, is there a mention of a backup and restore facility. Outlook has that by the simple expedient of backing up the .pst file.

SlowPCHelp
SlowPCHelp

I've never tried any of these alternatives because I switched from Outlook the Thunderbird about 3 years ago and haven't looked back. For the most part I like Outlook and the improvements it's made over the years but I love Thunderbird with it's tabbed interface and significant, steady updates. I recommend Lightning calendar add on. Also much faster and memory efficient than Outlook on my Dell laptop.

bobp
bobp

I just stumbled across this on sourceforge.net: DavMail POP/IMAP/SMTP/Caldav to Exchange Ever wanted to get rid of Outlook ? DavMail is a POP/IMAP/SMTP/Caldav/Carddav/LDAP gateway allowing users to use any mail client with Exchange, even ... I haven't tried it, but one of the complaints I am seeing in this discussion is lack of compatibility with Exchange. Bob Pegram

bobp
bobp

Outlook (or Express) is a bad idea for home users or other basic users. I have seen both "lose" lots of emails when the file containing them reaches the maximum size. I happens without warning. I have been using Thunderbird for a while now and, according to what I have read, that limit doesn't exist in Thunderbird. If I were in a corporate environment it might be different, but for the home and small business user, Thunderbird is likely to cause problems.

DSchr
DSchr

Last November Jack Wallin also wrote an article entitled Five email clients to help ease you away from Outlook. Is this the same one?

glenn_larson
glenn_larson

There is a Windows MSI version. I have it installed on my Win 7 64-bit. Have to emulate XP SP2 to make it work correctly. (just used the Win 7 repair dialog when it froze up and Win 7 fixed the settings).

_rge_
_rge_

Zimbra Desktop in combination with a Zimbra Server is a perfect replacement for Outlook/Exchange, and it supports ActiveSync too

dorianearl
dorianearl

How to recover corrupt outlook PST file with any third party software like Kernel for PST repair tool to revive data from inaccessible, corrupt, damaged and broken PST. It support MS Outlook version 97, 2000, 2002 (XP), 2003, 2007 and 2010.

vbconz
vbconz

1 - Lotus Notes - With a user base of over 50 million it is a player on par with Outlook / Exchange. However it is not much used in the personal use arena. It does LDAP, RSS, iMap, POP SSL, TTL, HTTP. Calendaring, Tasks, Todos, instant messaging and social media. It allows off line reading, full encryption of email and robust security features. It also runs on linux, Apple, Microsoft and other platforms and comes with an offline capable html / java version. It is one of the few contenders as being close to outlooks functionality - Thunderbird, pegasus etc are all excellent mail clients but as an outlook replacement? Not even close.That's like comparing my grannies bog standard, economy verson nissan with a Rolls Royce - not even close. Apple Mail - not even mentioned yet it is a huge player in the personal market. Statsitcally it is growing rapidly. like almost ofvery mail client message mentioned except maybe claws it is crippled in comparison to outlook - no calender, rss, instant messageing etc but it is still a robust player. Lastly, lets not forget the Cloud / Web based offerings. Google apps, open source CRMs and similar often a portal of full experience with voice, rss, blogs, messaging, clendars, shared contacts etc - all in a single portal. what is more with the huge increase in moble platfor uptake they ar emre viable than Outlook in th elongterm (only Lotus notes has any chance of competing of any mentioned asit has mobile versions nad is fully html / css compatible). If you are going to write an article at least lease compare apples with apples,not chalk with cheese. BTW - This was written using lynx, and i email via pine wth filters reads anything, fast and furious, no hassles with viruses and fully compatible with all comers :) viva the command line.

kadam
kadam

The Microsoft Outlook CLIENT is free with Office, which most enterprises already have in production. And training on another Microsoft Office product is minimal if it occurs at all, versus going to with an entirely new vendor. And don't forget SUPPORT. Actually, cheaper is not even the point when an enterprise has to consider "not every one of these clients offers a feature-for-feature replacement for Outlook." Not cheaper, not better. Hmm. Not migrating either.

deirdre
deirdre

I have used it since it came out and have like it better than Outlook for years, now.

ultrageoff
ultrageoff

I had to move away from Outlook because I really, really need reminders to keep my day on track as I juggle parenting with work appointments. Apparently, some folk complained loudly enough about their reminders getting in the way of their work - demanding attention by taking focus until they were dismissed - that MS decided not to let the reminders do any reminding. Unless you happen to be watching the screen when one pops up, an Office 2007 MS reminder can come and go without you ever knowing about it. I found another solution (Thunderbird and Lightning with Gmail) and would need to be completely confident that a replacement, especially one I had to pay the price of a Kindle HD to get the use of, had functioning reminders. Sorry, it's just one failure but it's a killer - in an otherwise good email/calendar/reminders app.

MadMattAu
MadMattAu

@Heart's joy  I doubt you will find one.  Word is a word processor and you can do things in Word processors that you simply can not do in the subset of HTML that is used for Email.  Outlook tries, and makes an unholy mess of things to the point that some users only get a winmail.dat file as an attachment.  The underlying problem is not the mail client,  it is your expectation you can use a word processor to write mail effectively.  You can not.


I suggest you get a HTML editor such as Blue Griffon or a mail client like Thunderbird that actually composes in HTML.
MadMattAu
MadMattAu

@archetuthus Outlook is $130 and its price is factored into your version of Office.  Your paying for it. and it is an expensive purchase for a mail client.

Thunderbird has a full featured calendar,  it also integrates with exchange through the use of add-ons or the davmail program, which makes all ICAL and IMAP clients able to access Exchange viathe OWA API.

In my case I save thousands a year by using open source.Libre office handles word processing, Thunderird does mail and calendat and Ithe little use I have for a spreadsheet is done also with libre office.

I like your closed mind... "Since so many businesses and people need Word, Excel and/or PowerPoint"  I actually challenge most business people, you included to prove such a statement.  Not in terms of "I know Word" or "Microsoft is good" in terms of features that the Microsoft suite provides that are unavailable in the open source alternatives.

sim8
sim8

@archetuthus  Many (or most?) versions of Office available exclude Outlook (They are typically Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Onenote - just look on Amazon to see that), and Outlook on its own costs around the same again as the Office suite. The Office365 package that does include Outlook is an annual recurring expense.  Either way, using Outlook is an expensive way of obtaining functionality available elsewhere much cheaper or even free.

MadMattAu
MadMattAu

@ultrageoff Yep get that Windows Live Mail.  It is the most basic and useless mail program.  Better yet delete it and use outlook.com or Gmail.com  They provide more and don't take up space on the PC.

MadMattAu
MadMattAu

@Ed. Then your using Outlook till you die Ed, get used to it.


PST files are Microsoft Outlook Proprietary.  Or you buy a mail conversion program and convert your proprietary mail into standards type formats such as EML and MBOX

333239
333239

I am currently running Outlook 2010 and Thunderbird (only for news without email or Lightning) and they are both talking up 91MB according to task manager. Once you add-in Lightning, Thunderbird takes up significantly more memory than Outlook 2010, so I switched back to Outlook quite a while ago.

houtbayblogger
houtbayblogger

@SlowPCHelp Just wondering what you use for notes. Have you found any application that can import notes from Outlook? For some reason it takes a few seconds before the content appears - is this normal? Otherwise I am enjoying my relatively new experience with Thunderbird.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

Max size of a pst file is 20GB. Is a bad practice to allow the file to grow so big. I have about 3 Terabytes of PST (mail archive old users) data and have no issues at all. I just split the PST in years or by size. No issues at all! I have extensive experience with PST storage, working with outlook enviroments since 1995. I have a set of tools to search email duplicates, to backup psts in incrementals or diferentials, etc.

marcdw
marcdw

Another alternative not mentioned here could be EssentialPIM. In the past it was just a PIM which I used as a mid-point between my Palm TX and Pocket PC. Today it has email, calendar, tasks, contacts, and all kinds of syncing (still supporting old Palm and Pocket PC but also Outlook/Exchange and over a dozen cloud services). Plus there's a network version and versions for iOS and Android. Portable, too.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I agree. Most enterprise already purchase Microsoft Office, and Outlook is included. Document management software like Pcdocs, filesite, desksite, etc integrates perfectly with Outlook (there is even certification for the integration) and this is not possible with other clients.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I use reminders every single day with outlook and don't have any issues. The wireless integration of outlook with my blackberry has been a great tool since lot of years now, so I get the reminders at the office with outlook and during mobile work, with my blackberry. I get notified even with emails in special ways, by creating rules in outlook.

BBR46
BBR46

@alexisgarcia72  Yes, I've used MS Office for many years, since it was the standard for every entity I ever worked for.  For all those years I added and updated info in Outlook and exported to every new PC I got.....so now, my "life" is all in Outlook.  I'm now retired and only need a bare-bones word processor and spreadsheet program......BUT I still need Outlook!  I refuse to pay the exorbitant price for a personal copy of Office in order to get Outlook - but haven't yet found anything to replace it.  Any suggestions or recommendations????



MadMattAu
MadMattAu

@BBR46 @alexisgarcia72 convert your mail to something else.  I use a program called maildev, which exports pst files to industry standard file.  Otherwise, Thunderbird will import PST files from a computer that has a working outlook (even a trial version) and it's storage format of MBOX is pretty well a defaco mail storage format.  There are lots of utilities for mbox files.

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