News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Alternatives to Outlook

    Posted on PStepanas Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This topic contains 32 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  OscarCP 3 months ago.

    • Author
      Posts
    • #1840138 Reply

      PStepanas
      AskWoody Lounger

      Hi everyone,

      Surprised to find us on a new site, but it feels a bit like coming home. 🙂

      I’ve been running Office 2010, but am upgrading my hardware. Seems it may be time for a newer version of Office. But Office 2019 doesn’t include Outlook, nor Access. So it looks like I need a new, free email client.

      I’m looking for recommendations for good email reading/management software that includes the following:

      • Free (or cheap — I’m unemployed)
      • Good IMAP system connecting to Gmail
      • Faster than Outlook to delete a message and switch to the next
      • Supports both local and IMAP files with subfolders
      • Colour coding based on sender and other factors (fully customisable)
      • Conversion from PST to its own format
      • Text and marked-up reading and writing of email
      • Other standard features

      The colour coding is particularly important (and probably the hardest to find).

      I’d love to hear your suggestions, and why you think they would suit me.

      Thank you,

      Paulius

    • #1840152 Reply

      PKCano
      Da Boss

      I’m using Mozilla Thunderbird (US link).  It’s free. Works on Win, MacOS and Linux.
      You may have a problem converting .pst content (using any other client).
      Works with both POP and IMAP (I use both in different situations).
      The rest you will have to test drive yourself.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1840400 Reply

      mn–
      AskWoody Lounger

      Actually… it is incorrect to say that “Office 2019” does not include Outlook – because it *does*.
      And Access too. Same as it was with other recent versions…

      MS Office Home & Student 2019 – the cheapest package – doesn’t include Outlook or Access, or a number of other things. And, the license terms are rather restrictive – do check the license wording carefully before using it to write job applications, do any volunteer nonprofit work, or anything like that. (This will also depend on local laws.)

      MS Office Home & Business 2019 has Outlook, but still no Access. License terms are reasonable though.

      MS Office Professional 2019 has Outlook, Access and Publisher.

      That’s just the one-time purchase variants; subscriptions will get full features earlier (Outlook, Access and Publisher are in 365 Home, Personal, Business, Business Premium and…)

      Now, Thunderbird can do at least most of what you specify anyway. (Sender-based coloring will have to be via custom tags from filters, but is possible.) And actually better than Outlook, given the line about “standard features” … Outlook is very much nonstandard.

      Outlook is the only application with *full* support for the PST format, there are ways to work around this (like the readpst tool which isn’t 100% but usually works). Doing the Outlook->Thunderbird migration on your old system via MAPI and then moving Thunderbird to the new system is the best method, anyway, but, with readpst and Thunderbird’s ImportExportTools add-on, you’re likely to be able to get every message out too if you just have the .pst… See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Import_.pst_files for more on that.

      Thunderbird is also a whole lot cheaper than the IBM Lotus Notes client (which is also nonstandard in various ways). Or “The Bat!” or Mailbird or eM Client, for that matter.

      I’m sure there are other alternatives too, especially as you didn’t specify any nonstandard features like addressbook or calendar…

      Hm, actually, there’s no mention of needing to run on Windows, even… does Apple Mail do per-sender coloring?

      I’d recommend Mutt except it lacks markup support in composing.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1841719 Reply

      PStepanas
      AskWoody Lounger

      Thanks, PKCano and mn.

      I am hoping to side-step testing *every* alternative — hence the post.

      I did forget to mention it will be running on Windows 10. Oops.

      I couldn’t find any mention of Office Professional 2019 on Microsoft’s website — they’re hiding it *very* well.  And my memory is that the middle product is just called Office Business, rather than Home & Business, but that’s probably my mistake.  In any case, I’m not unhappy about switching away from Outlook, nor about avoiding paying for Access (I’ve seen reports that it’s being killed off, anyway).

      Actually, the easiest way I know to convert PST files to any other client is to copy the individual emails to Gmail within Outlook (or even email them to myself). Easy, but very messy!

      No interest in calendar — my phone does all I need.  Some form of address-book would definitely be useful, though preferably without Outlook’s approach of making underlying email addresses non-searchable (in many situations).

      I did see some recommendations for eM Client, but they conspicuously fail to describe their “Additional Features”;  guess they want us to do all the work.

      Thanks, heaps, mn, for the link to the import tool!

      After all that, I’m left with the following questions (forgot to include the last two in my original post:

      1. Is Thunderbird sufficiently supported to trust for the next 10 years?
      2. Is the Thunderbird version of colour-by-sender workable, or will I quickly get very frustrated?
      3. Anyone have experience of colour-by-sender for any other clients, eg: eM Client?
      4. Do all the main mail clients have support for local mail files (equivalent to PST) in addition to account-related mail storage?
      5. Do all the main mail clients implement rules for automatically moving some mail to sub-folders?

      Let’s see if we can eliminate some options before I move on to testing myself. 🙂

      • #1841826 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Well, there is Office 365 Business. That’s the subscription with just the locally installed applications but no mailbox, SharePoint, etc. You do get OneDrive though. And Access and…

        As to the other questions:

        1. Well, Thunderbird is open source and lots of people rely on it, including government organizations in various countries… yes, for continuity I’d actually trust it better than anything from Microsoft.

        2. Depends on how easily you get frustrated. Not nearly as much of a bother as trying to transfer Outlook’s address autocomplete cache even to a different user profile in the same installation of Outlook, for example.

        3. … Lotus Notes used to really earn its place in the User Interface Hall of Shame, but recent versions have been better.

        4. Can be disabled by central admin in some cases but otherwise I don’t know of any that didn’t have this.

        5. No, some of them rely on external tools for that. Mutt for one…

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1841777 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      I don’t think you can guarantee support – even Microsoft have EOL. Given Thunderbird has worked for the last 10 years it seems likely it will continue to do so.

      I don’t think anyone here will be able to advise on the features of “all” mail clients. You really have to do your own testing.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1841919 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Well actually, Thunderbird is exactly the kind of an application where you could negotiate a 10-year support contract… because it’s open source, you can get that from anyone and not just the author / publisher. May need to change names and branding at most.

        On the other hand, Outlook is owned and tightly licensed by Microsoft, can’t get at the source code to fix it, and if Microsoft decides to discontinue it, they can do so.

    • #1841887 Reply

      jabeattyauditor
      AskWoody Lounger

      Why not buy one of the cheap O365 subscriptions that contains everything you want?

      https://products.office.com/en-us/compare-all-microsoft-office-products?activetab=tab%3aprimaryr1

      For $70 a year, you’d have Outlook and Access. For $100 a year, you’d have it for your whole family (if you have one).

    • #1842273 Reply

      Berton
      AskWoody_MVP

      A couple other choices, the free OE Classic [quite similar to Outlook Express of yore] and the included E-Mail client in the free SeaMonkey Internet Browser.

      Before you wonder "Am I doing things right," ask "Am I doing the right things?"
    • #1843707 Reply

      PStepanas
      AskWoody Lounger

      Hmm. Interesting.

      At this stage, I’m going to test Thunderbird, and maybe eM Client (though their sales staff seem inclined to ask questions that were answered in the original request).  The only reason even I’m considering installing multiple trial copies is that this Windows installation will shortly be superceded and wiped — the more you install, the more likely system corruption.

      I find it hard to believe anyone would recommend Office 365 on this forum, since this very publication has consistently urged everyone to avoid it — at least, the last time I was reading every issue.  While it might possibly make sense in a multi-PC household (3 or more), in any other case I can envisage, it’s a complete rip-off, and only serves Microsoft.

      So no, I don’t think I’ll be buying Office 365.  Ever.

      • #1847642 Reply

        jabeattyauditor
        AskWoody Lounger

        I find it hard to believe anyone would recommend Office 365 on this forum, since this very publication has consistently urged everyone to avoid it — at least, the last time I was reading every issue.  While it might possibly make sense in a multi-PC household (3 or more), in any other case I can envisage, it’s a complete rip-off, and only serves Microsoft.

        Some of us are gainfully employed in positions where we’re required to support Microsoft software.

        Despite being a charming example of subscription software, O365 actually makes sense if you MUST know the current product well enough to assist others. At $100 a year, it’s cheaper to buy O365 than to buy full-blown copies of Office Professional for multiple machines every time a new version is released.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1849547 Reply

          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          I find it hard to believe anyone would recommend Office 365 on this forum, since this very publication has consistently urged everyone to avoid it — at least, the last time I was reading every issue.  While it might possibly make sense in a multi-PC household (3 or more), in any other case I can envisage, it’s a complete rip-off, and only serves Microsoft.

          Some of us are gainfully employed in positions where we’re required to support Microsoft software.

          Despite being a charming example of subscription software, O365 actually makes sense if you MUST know the current product well enough to assist others. At $100 a year, it’s cheaper to buy O365 than to buy full-blown copies of Office Professional for multiple machines every time a new version is released.

          Well yeah. Except then you run into differences between all the application versions, and uncontrollable update issues with Click-to-Run… and even with all the fancy features, when users ask “how do you make Outlook do <whatever>”, the answer is usually “You don’t. Use something else.”

          Just the other time saw a case where Outlook’s Click-to-Run update clobbered the autocomplete cache. User was not happy. “How do I prevent this from happening again?” … “Use something other than Outlook?” (I mean, really, the autocomplete cache is…)

          And that’s not getting into all the issues with Click-to-Run Excel and others.

          The MSI versions of MS Office have been a lot more reliable. I’m sure lots of people will find it useful to buy volume Click-to-Run Office 2019 and then use the downgrade rights to install the 2016 MSI version.

          However, Office 365 Business Essentials is fairly decent value for money. (Possibly with Azure Information Protection P1 add-on, too.) A1 is even better if you’re eligible for it, of course.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1843792 Reply

      geekdom
      AskWoody Plus

      Your biggest problem may not be in selecting and using new-to-you mail software, but in moving or converting your current mail such that you can continue to read said mail. Different mail packages have different formats and conversion is a killer.

      Read mail software specifications carefully.

      Group G{ot backup} TestBeta On hiatus.
      Win7Pro · x64 · SP1 · i3-3220 · RAM 8GB · Firefox: uBlock Origin - NoScript · HDD · Canon Printer · Microsoft Security Essentials · Windows: Backup - System Image - Rescue Disk - Firewall
      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1843956 Reply

        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        In my own transition from Windows and Office products  to Linux and alternative software, I made a decision to leave the Outlook 2007 .PST file “as is” on the Windows system and then start fresh with Thunderbird on the Linux system.

        The transition will be made simpler by the adoption of a new email address that will be used exclusively for Thunderbird. The email associated with Outlook will stay there and I’ll tell most everyone on the contacts list to use the new address. If I ever need to reference something in an old email, it will still be there and if necessary I can forward it to my new address.

        In any case, I’m not sure that Thunderbird could handle a .PST file containing 24K emails, and that was another factor in the decision to simply start with a clean slate on the new computer.

        Just some things for the OP to ponder as he considers his switch away from Outlook.

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1849720 Reply

          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          In my experience there’s approximately 1 (one) mail storage method that works reliably with almost all client applications.

          And that would be a local IMAP server. As in imap://127.0.0.1/ or equivalent…

          It’s a bit of a kludge and a bit of a bother to set up for the first time though.

    • #1847612 Reply

      WSNTLS
      AskWoody Plus

      PStepanas
      IMHO on email client, have used just about any and all known and some unknown. Mozilla ThunderB1rd is the simplest and you can set it up to your liking.

      As for the other item you listed, never have used Microsoft`s only Apache OpenOffice, both are Free Open Source. Any software you choose is strictly up to you and willingness to learn how to get the best benefit. I

        NEVER

      get any software for my system from any of the FREE providers, they usually put their own installer and unauthorized software to track you and steal what they can.

      ONLY download from the creator or source of the software you want, SourceForge is reliable and have a very long list to choose from.

      WSNTLS ‘d’ “LoneWanderer”

      May the "CREATOR" shed the ever "Love Light" upon thee . .
      TIA, CU L8R,
      'd' "LoneWanderer"
      "Adults are obsolete children." Dr. Seuss
      Do not walk in front of me, NOT a follower,
      Do not walk behind me, NOT a leader,
      Walk beside me we will get through this life as ONE!
      Original author Unknown

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1850935 Reply

      Geo
      AskWoody Plus

      I like Thunderbird  since it was the closest looking and functioned simply as Eudora did.  For home users.

    • #1851019 Reply

      alphacharlie
      AskWoody Plus

      This is may be  a silly question, but I will learn something from the answer.  Could you simply transfer your Office 2010 license and files to your new hardware?  Or does Windows 10 not allow any older versions of MS Office to install and run ??

      In any case, FWIW, I abandoned Outlook in favor of Thunderbird for email quite a few years ago and that has worked out just fine.  I continued with Outlook for calendars only for a while, but then switched to web-based Google Calendar.

       

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1851020 Reply

        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        My wife runs Office 2007 on her Windows 10 machine. It must run fine because if it didn’t, I’d be the next to know it.  🙂

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1851318 Reply

          jabeattyauditor
          AskWoody Lounger

          My wife runs Office 2007 on her Windows 10 machine. It must run fine because if it didn’t, I’d be the next to know it.  🙂

          The unpatched vulnerabilities in Office 2007 don’t concern you?

          (I’d not worry much if it were installed on a machine that never touches the outside world, but if she’s using Outlook, that’s about as outward-facing as you can get.)

        • #1851379 Reply

          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          Which vulnerabilities are those?

          cheers, Paul

          • #1851387 Reply

            jabeattyauditor
            AskWoody Lounger

            Which vulnerabilities are those?

            Just about every security hole uncovered in newer versions of Office since 2007 went EOL can be back-ported to attack 2007 (and older versions).

            The model is much the same with older OS versions.

    • #1851561 Reply

      PStepanas
      AskWoody Lounger

      This is may be a silly question, but I will learn something from the answer. Could you simply transfer your Office 2010 license and files to your new hardware? Or does Windows 10 not allow any older versions of MS Office to install and run ??

      I don’t think it’s a Windows 10 issue.

      I just figured that it might be time to update Office from 2010. Technically, my licence is MSDN, which probably isn’t even valid any more (hard to tell).

      The reasons I don’t just buy Office 2019 Pro are kind of:

      1. I’m not sure it even exists! Certainly, Microsoft are working hard to hide it.
      2. Access is apparently on its death bed. And the newer versions seem to require a Login, which is “never gonna happen.”
      3. I hate so many things about Outlook, this is a great excuse to leave it behind.
      4. All the “extras” from past versions of Office Pro have always caused me installation headaches (eg: OneNote, Publisher, aargh!).
      5. Budget has become a major issue for me. 🙁

      So the plan becomes:  buy a minimal version of Office 2019 that I intend to not upgrade for 5-10 years;  find a new email client (Thunderbird seems the right choice, though I will try eM Client, for comparison);  keep using Access 2010 for the three times a year I open an MDB file;  install Visio 2010 (I was lucky enough to get a fully legal licence for this, a while ago, and I love what I can produce!);  hope all the different versions don’t clash, and that I don’t lose my email (LOTS of backups).

      Thanks, everyone, for the help. <3

      PS:  If you know anything about how Access 2010 might interact with Office 2019 Home, please find and comment in my other thread (and I really do mean only if you’re an expert on Access and its interactions, I’m afraid).

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1851706 Reply

      Cybertooth
      AskWoody Plus

      My wife runs Office 2007 on her Windows 10 machine. It must run fine because if it didn’t, I’d be the next to know it.  🙂

      The unpatched vulnerabilities in Office 2007 don’t concern you?

      (I’d not worry much if it were installed on a machine that never touches the outside world, but if she’s using Outlook, that’s about as outward-facing as you can get.)

      https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=Office+2007

      In any case, she ended up using Outlook from Office 2016. It’s Word and Excel from Office 2007 that she much prefers.

      Remember, I was responding to the question by @alphacharlie as to whether Windows 10 allows older versions of Office to run on it. The answer, of course, is in the affirmative.

       

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1851780 Reply

        jabeattyauditor
        AskWoody Lounger

        Remember, I was responding to the question by @alphacharlie as to whether Windows 10 allows older versions of Office to run on it. The answer, of course, is in the affirmative.

        🙂

        Btw, do you ever have any issues after updates where Office gets confused as to which version is installed? We have 2016 installs here with some folks insisting on using some ancient versions of Access. Most of the time all is well, but every once in a while, the 2016 version of ACSIS runs, or the ancient version of Word.

        To the original poster: I use Thunderbird at home and find it to be much better than Outlook for my needs. I have Outlook installed only to keep my knowledge base current.

        • #1853879 Reply

          PStepanas
          AskWoody Lounger

          I’m a bit worried about that, too, @jabeattyauditor.

          Parts of my Access installation were overwritten by Office 2016 updates, and I haven’t been able to access any of my local Office Help files for years.

          I found that clicking an MDB file would just give me a blank interface with a Login button, which I assume is the 2016 interface.  Opening Access 2010 directly triggered an installation progress bar and seems to have fixed that issue.  For now.

        • #1853900 Reply

          Cybertooth
          AskWoody Plus

          No, wife hasn’t reported any strangeness like that.

          In the beginning (about thee years ago now), she did notice that the entries for “Word,” “Excel”, etc. in the Windows 10 Start menu insisted on opening the trial versions of Office 2016 that came with her PC, instead of the 2007 versions that we installed manually. But eventually we got the default programs sorted out (I forget what we did, sorry), and AFAIK there haven’t been any cases of default confusion like that since then.

           

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1908282 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      Anybody out there have experience (good or bad) with Pandora Mail?

      Asking for a friend….

    • #1908528 Reply

      DaveH
      AskWoody Plus

      I first heard about Pandora Mail in mid-2017. As a long time Eudora user, I was worried that time was running out, so I signed up for an occasional newsletter from the developer, Brana Bujenovic, and tracked the user forums, accessed from here:

      EDITED link to site removed as as url check showed positive results

      Recently I identified Eudora as the cause of annoying errors in incoming text, AND I read this anonymous review:
      EDITED – same reason

      So 6 days ago I jumped in and bought a license. I could have tested a restricted unregistered version, but was more than happy to part with the $14. During installation last weekend the developer answered a question by personal eMail in just minutes. Have not yet done any serious work with Pandora. I will post again after importing Eudora’s personalities, mail etc. Incidentally, I still use Win7, but that will also change before long.

      Loungers will want to know how Pandora handles mail buried in a PST file, or elsewhere. I hope someone will chase that down.

      Attachments:
    • #1908572 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I have been using Microsoft’s Windows Live Mail, that came installed together with Windows 7 when I bought the PC, for many years now and still am using it, as it works very nicely for me.

      However, depending on where one has the email account, it might not work there anymore — although there are ways around this, as in the one example given here along with other information:

      https://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2016/jun/02/microsoft-killing-windows-live-mail-what-should-i-do-hotmail-msn-outlook

      I have my account with AOL/Verizon, and no problems so far with Live Mail.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Alternatives to Outlook

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.

    Cancel