Simplify Gmail for Google Chrome

Simply Gmail is a browser extension for Google Chrome that changes the Gmail web interface to a simpler less-cluttered version. The extension is developed by Michael Leggett, former Gmail lead designer and co-founder of Google Inbox.

Google shut down Inbox on April 2, 2019. Inbox was an attempt by the company to create a modern version of its email service. Google never shut down the old Gmail interface even though it was assumed by many that this would only be a matter of time.

Turns out, Google seems to have had a change of heart as the decision was made to discontinue Inbox and not the classic Gmail web interface or Gmail apps.

I did not like Inbox and had several reasons for that but Inbox managed to pile up a dedicated group of users who liked the service and preferred it over the classic Gmail interface. Inbox users liked some of the new features that Google added to the service and the simpler look and feel of the interface.

Google has brought some Inbox features over to Gmail already when it launched a new version of the Gmail interface in 2018.

Simply Gmail

simplify gmail

Simplify Gmail is not a port of Inbox; it can best be described as a theme that is applied to the Gmail website. The theme hides certain features and moves elements around to eliminate clutter and make Gmail easier to use.

The extension is developed by Michael Leggett who was Gmail’s lead designer from 2008 to 2012, and co-founder of Google Inbox. While some things have changed since that time, it is fair to say that he is more than qualified to modify the Gmail interface using Chrome extensions.

All you have to do is install the Simplify Gmail extension in Google Chrome to get started. You may check its source on GitHub as it has been released there by the developer.

You will notice the changes that it makes to Gmail right on your next visit to the site (or reload).

The extension changes the header on Gmail significantly. It removes icons and colors, the “Google” header at the top, and several other interface elements on Gmail.

Main features are still there but in a different form. The search shows up as a search icon instead of the big “search mail” field at the top on Gmail.

Other parts of Gmail, for example the Compose window, have been modified as well. The default compose window features two bars at the bottom that display formatting options and other tools.

gmail compose

Simplify Gmail’s version reduces this to a single line to increase the space that you have for the actual email.

Closing Words

Simplify Gmail hides distractions on Gmail. It may be an attractive extension for Gmail web users who use the service regularly and prefer an interface that is not as cluttered or distracting. Gmail users who use the web interface occasionally only may not not spend enough time on the site to justify the installation of the extension.

Now You: do you use the Gmail web interface? Inbox? Another tool or service?

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Thunderbird 60.5.2 has been released

The desktop email client Thunderbird has been updated to version 60.5.2 on February 25, 2019. The new Thunderbird 60.5.2 comes as an update for all previous versions of the software.

Thunderbird 60.5.2 fixes a crash issue and a certificate verification issue with Outlook emails.

Thunderbird displays an “update available” notification when you start it by default if a new version is available. You may use it to download and install the new version right away.

You may also select Help > About Thunderbird to manually start the process and verify the installed version of the email client.

Thunderbird users who prefer to download the new version manually instead can do so on the official project website.

Thunderbird 60.5.2

thunderbird 60.5.2

Thunderbird 60.5.2 is a bug fix release that addresses several issues, including one crash issue, in previous versions of the email client.

The new version has been available since February 25th, but the release notes were not available at that time. The official changelog lists three issues that have been fixed in Thunderbird 60.5.2.

  • The team fixed a crash issue in Thunderbird on Windows. Thunderbird could crash when users selected Send To > Mail Recipient in Thunderbird on Windows.
  • UTF-8 support was added to MAPISendMail.
  • A fix for S/MIME certification verification when receiving email from Outlook. The issue was introduced in Thunderbird 60.5.1 and has been resolved fully in the new version.

The changelog lists two known issues; these are not new, as they have been introduced in previous versions of the email client. Thunderbird 60.5.0 had the same issues.

  • Twitter chat is not working due to Twitter API changes.
  • Profiles stored on Windows network shares are addressed via UNC.

Thunderbird 60.5.1

Thunderbird 60.5.1 was released on February 14, 2019. It is a release that fixes security issues and fixes CalDav support for some servers. The changes of that release are incorporated in Thunderbird 60.5.2.

Now You: Which email client do you use currently?

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon. Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Thunderbird 60.5.2 has been released appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Google finally making Gmail's right-click menu more useful

Google announced recently that an update of Gmail’s right-click menu functionality will land in February 2019.

Gmail’s right-click menu is not particularly useful at this point in time as it provides only a handful of options. Right now, the only options provided are delete, archive, mark as unread, and move to tab.

Gmail users have to select emails and wait for other options to appear at the top of the screen to activate them. Often used actions such as reply or forward, snooze or label, are found there only.

Google announced the change on the G Suite Updates blog. The update will roll out to all G Suite Gmail users and will be enabled by default. No word on whether it will land for free Gmail users as well but it seems likely that this is going to happen.

Gmail: improved right-click menu

gmail right-click

Gmail users who right-click on an email may make use of the following functionality once the update has reached their account:

  • Reply to the right-clicked email.
  • Forward the email.
  • Snooze the email.
  • Mute the conversation.
  • Add a label.
  • Move the email.
  • Use search to find emails by the contact.
  • Use search to find emails with the subject.
  • Open emails in new windows.

Gmail users can open the context menu using a right-click, the Menu-key on Windows keyboards, or Ctrl-click on Mac OS X devices.

The rollout has started already. Google plans to roll out the change to all G Suite users until February 26, 2019.  Many features that land for G Suite customers are implemented for free users as well eventually, and usually in a short period.

Closing Words

It is about time that Google makes the right-click menu more useful on Gmail. The current options are not thought out well in my opinion. Once the change lands, it is possible to use often used actions such as reply directly from the list of emails; something that has not been possible before using the user interface, if I’m not mistaken.

Now You: Do you use the Gmail web interface?

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon. Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Google finally making Gmail’s right-click menu more useful appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Spicing up Your Emails with Markdown

the Markdown Here logo

Markdown provides a simple way to mark up plain text so that it can be converted to HTML.

I use Markdown daily to write documents, website content and so on. I also compose a lot of emails, so I was delighted to stumble on an easy way to create pretty HTML emails with Markdown too.

Markdown Here

the Markdown Here logoMarkdown Here (MDH) is a simple browser extension that can be installed in browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. It adds an icon to your browser’s address bar:

MDH address bar icon

Simply add Markdown syntax to your email, and when you’re ready to send, click the MDH icon. (You can also activate MDH via a keyboard shortcut of your choice—CTRL + ALT + M by default—or a via a dropdown context menu.)

For example, you can send emails that look like this:

email styled by MDH

Other Uses

If sending email in the browser isn’t your thing, you can also use MDH with email clients such as Thunderbird, Postbox and Icedove.

And Markdown Here isn’t limited to email. You can use it in other web editing interfaces such as Google Groups, Evernote and WordPress.

Creating HTML Emails

I tend to send email directly through Gmail in my browser. It’s really nice to be able to enhance emails with some HTML formatting, which is easy with Markdown.

I often need to send longish emails, and it’s great to be able to add headings, quotes, inline code, code blocks and lists to make the email readable and break up the content.

Here are some examples of what you can do.

Code

Being involved in web design and development, I often send code samples in emails. Writing inline code is as easy at this:

You could try `.element {display: block;}` instead.

After the MDH conversion, the above text look like this:

inline code

And a block of code is easy too. Note that you can specify the language to get nice syntax highlighting:

```javascript
(function() {
    var method;
    var noop = function () {};
    var methods = [
        'assert', 'clear', 'count', 'debug', 'dir', 'dirxml', 'error',
        'exception', 'group', 'groupCollapsed', 'groupEnd', 'info', 'log'
    ];
    var length = methods.length;
    var console = (window.console = window.console || {});
}());

// From the HTML5 Boilerplate
```

And this is the result:

a block of code with syntax highlighting

Quoting

It’s handy to be able to quote text in an email. Simply copying the text and placing a > before it is super easy:

> Should I click this email link saying I'll win $1MM?

Nah, maybe not.

Resulting in this:

quoted text

Rather than sending long, potentially unsightly URLs, you can easily convert them to nice, text-based links:

There are some great articles on [SitePoint](http://www.sitepoint.com/).

Which renders like so:

linked text

Lists

Text is often easier to read in lists. Creating ordered and unordered lists is as simple as this:

- first item in an unordered list
- second item in an unordered list

1. first item in an ordered list
1. second item in an ordered list

This is the result:

unordered and ordered lists

Headings

You can markup headings like so:

# Heading One

Some text

## Heading Two

Rendering thusly:

heading examples

Emphasis

You can easily add italics and bold like so:

*These* are both _italic_, and **these** are both __bold__. 
And this is *__italic and bold__*.

Which appears like this:

italics and bold

Horizontal Rule

If I’m changing topic, it can be nice to throw in a horizontal rule:

End of one topic.

---

Beginning of the next …

Which outputs like this:

horizontal rule

Tables

Admittedly, I rarely need to place a table in my emails, but it’s nice that you can:

Selector    |   Property        |   Value
---         |   ---             |   ---
`body`      |   **color**       |   *#30353b*
`.aside`    |   **float**       |   *right*
`img`       |   **display**     |   *inline-block*

The above text renders like this:

a table

Images

You can add images to your email, as long you can link to them somewhere online:

Here's a cool picture of grass:

![grass](https://unsplash.it/600/200?image=487)

an image of grass

Other HTML Elements

MDH also allows you to add HTML elements that aren’t covered by Markdown. For example, you could add superscript:

This is the 1st presentation …

superscript example

This text should be crossed out.

strikethrough demo

Styling

MDH uses GitHub-like styles by default. But you can easily customize the styling if you want. For example, in Chrome for Mac, go to Window > Extensions, where you’ll see the MDH extension:

Markdown Here extension in Chrome

Click on the Options link. This opens a very useful Options page, where you can alter various MDH settings, including styles. You can either choose from a list of themes (including some spiffy ones popular in code editors like Sublime Text), or write your own CSS entirely:

MDH styling options

While you’re on this page, make sure to check out the other available options, such as setting a preferred keyboard combination for activating MDH.

Installation

MDH is easy to install. The official site provides a number of links through which to add it to your browser or email client. You can also get the project’s source code, hosted at GitHub, from that page.

Additional Resources

Finally, here are some links to resources for using and learning about MDH:

Wrap Up

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief introduction to MDH. It’s a pretty simple extension, but I use it every day, and honestly would hate to be without it.

Is this something you would consider using? Do you know of anything similar? Let me know in the comments.