31 Oct 2018

Mailplane in my world


I’m David Kravets and a satisfied, long-time customer of Mailplane. Devs Ruben and Lars asked me to write a brief review of their Mac email client, and to offer a few examples of how I use some of its unique features as part of my consultancy business.

I stumbled on Mailplane years ago while searching for an alternative to the native Mac client. I haven’t looked back, despite wasting my money on an untold number of other Mac clients. Along the way, I have been evangelising for the Gmail and G Suite centric app to whomever would listen.

When I was the senior editor at Ars Technica, for example, the site’s staff migrated from Microsoft Office 365 to G Suite. A ton of IRC chat among the staff about which email client would work well with Google had ensued. I recommended that my Mac-using cohorts try Mailplane. They could even expense the $30 tab. I was met with initial resistance. “This is just a web browser wrapper, so what’s the point?”

Powerful desktop application

It’s so much more than a web wrapper. Initial looks can be deceiving.

If you take the free 15-day trial, you’ll understand that there are many good reasons to partake in the app Ruben and Lars have created. It’s a native Mac email desktop client experience for users who want the best of both worlds—a powerful and modern desktop application packaged in a web interface.

With Mailplane, say goodbye to downloading gigabytes of emails. There’s much better search than with a desktop client, too. There’s best-of-class email threads, labels instead of folders in addition to all the other good stuff provided by Google.

Let’s not forget “Google quick compose,” one of Google’s latest features that finishes the writing of your sentences as if the mail-compose window was reading your mind. Use any Google-supplied theme you want, or create your own.

Sure, you could use your Gmail or G Suite accounts right in the browser. But you won’t get the desktop experience. Try managing multiple business and personal accounts in the browser. It goes without saying: having multiple session logins in different browser tabs often results in a hair-pulling nightmare.

Third-party apps

With Mailplane, I can seamlessly integrate with third-party apps like DevonThink, Omnifocus, Todoist, Receipts, Evernote and more.

As part of my workflow, I regularly use the task manager Omnifocus. When I need to create a task with an important email, I hit Mailplane’s “clips” button in the Mailplane toolbar. It automatically saves the email’s contents, and allows me to create a title and send it to whichever Omnifocus project I want. The text of the email, in addition to a link to the email, is now a task in that project. Now, when I open Omnifocus on any of my Macs, I can click the Mailplane link in the task, and it will take me back to the email in Mailplane. I use this feature multiple times daily. It’s one of my favorites. In my judgement, this feature alone is worth the $30 price tag.

I have not encountered another Mac email client that seamlessly integrates this well with Omnifocus to enhance my productivity.

There are eight new integrated Chrome extensions including: Grammarly, FullContact, LinkedIn, Gmelius, Docsify, RMail, Salesforce, and Zoom Scheduler. That’s on top of the already supported extension for RightInbox, Streak, Boomerang, and Clearbit Connect. Thank goodness that Grammarly is included. Grammarly ensures that my messages are clear, mistake-free, and impactful. I’d feel naked without it when composing email.

You have mail

Another favorite feature of mine is the Mailplane menu bar icon. It shows me how many unread emails I have. I can click on it to read my messages, in addition to creating one right from the menu bar. I use this all day long.

And of course there is mailto support, too. And as I already mentioned, you can reply to email from Mailplane’s desktop notifications. I use this feature all day long, too.

Mailplane has deep macOS integration with AppleScript, too. Among other things, you can compose messages with AppleScript. I have not found a need for this, however. Maybe that’s because I’m a Luddite at heart.

Google calendar integration

If your like me, the best tool for accepting Google calendar invites is in the body of an email in Gmail or G Suite. Many other email clients are clunky at best when it comes to this. This key feature alone is one factor why I choose Mailplane.

Also, with Mailplane, I can view multiple calendars with a click of a tab, too. And I can create calendar entries, events and invites just as seamlessly. A Google Meet dial-in number and video-conferencing link automatically will always be created, too. And when I know one of my clients isn’t using Google, I can use Mailplane’s Zoom calendar add-on to send Zoom calendar invites. It’s ridiculously easy.

Shortcuts galore

What’s more, I have assigned global keyboard shortcuts in Mailplane to email like a pro and to create calendar events. Not only can I boost my game with shortcuts, there’s quick navigation features allowing me to instantly click to a label, tab, account or even a bookmark. All day long I search messages across multiple accounts, too.

When it comes time to sharing files, like invoices or projects for example, I use Mailplane’s drag-and-drop feature. What’s more, Mailplane allows me to annotate and shape screenshots right in the app.

Let’s not forget that Ruben and Lars offer great customer service, too. They would always answer any of my emailed questions. That’s how I met them.