Web email programs like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail provide “anywhere, anytime” access to mails but there are certain limitations.
Which email do you want to use?
Let’s assume that you have two email accounts on Google - one is a Gmail address while the other one uses Google Apps. On top of it, you have also configured a desktop mail client (like Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird) so that you can read and write emails in offline mode.
Now here’s the problem - how do you tell the web browser which email account (or desktop client) to use when you click some email hyperlink (mailto) on a web page? Should it open Outlook or compose a new message directly on the Gmail website? If latter, should the browser use Gmail or your Google Apps account?
As you just noted, things can get a bit chaotic if you have more than one email account but you can very easily bring some order to your email life with the help of Affixa - a Windows-only utility that makes Gmail (and Yahoo! Mail) a part of your desktop.
Once the basic installation is complete, you just need to associate all your web mail accounts and desktop mail clients with Affixa and it will then present you with a list of choices when you click an email hyperlink on some web page or an Office file or a PDF document. There’s more but first a quick screencast:
Associate Different Emails with Different Web Browsers
I run the Firebug extension with Firefox and therefore always have trouble opening the Gmail website since there are some know compatibility issues between Gmail and Firebug.
The problem disappears with Affixa since it lets me decide which web browser to use with different email clients. For instance, if I want to compose a new message in Gmail, it will automatically open in Safari or Google Chrome even though Firefox is the default browser.
Upload Attachments without the Browser
If you want to attach a couple of files with your email message, you first need to open the the gmail website inside the web brower and than attach files one-by-one.
This can be a tedious thing so Affixa provides a simple desktop interface to upload files into your web email. You can drag and drop attachments into Affixa, choose the email program that you want to use to send those attachments and it will upload them for you in the background.
If you want to send restricted files (like EXE’s or DLLs) via Gmail, Affix will upload them to another storage service and then include the download links in the email message. It does the same if you are uploading big files(s) whose size exceed the maximum limit of Gmail.
The Free Version
The free version of Affixa offers almost the same features as the paid version but you can only use it with one email account. That may still be a useful thing to have because with Affixa installed, you can easily set Google Mail or Yahoo! as the default mailto handler without any hacks.
You can then right click any file on the Windows desktop and send it across via Gmail. Or you can click on any hyperlinked email address and it will open a new message inside Gmail. The free version can also be used for uploading files to Gmail outside the browser and these files are automatically saved onto the Drafts folder. So it’s like Affixa as a storage client for Gmail.
Or you can pay a very small subscription fee of $3 per year and get the full version that supports multiple email accounts among other features. Recommended.
Related: Move Emails Across Web Accounts