If there is one thing we hate about modern computing in the internet era circa 2016 it’s probably email. It’s the application we love to hate. It’s the killer app. We’d like to kill email because it’s killing us.
Is there a better way. Uh, well, no. But there are easier ways to handle email to keep it from hounding you into an early grave. Complex, monolithic email applications (Apple Mail, I’m looking at you) might be part of the problem, but only because they’re not part of the solution. What you need is an email app that’s light, fast, convenient, easy to use; one that acts like a buffer between your email and Mail. Oh, and it needs to be free.
Hark, The Herald Email Sings
Far be it from me to understand the complexities of a business model based on free, but Google does it, so why not Herald, the little email plugin app that could. And can. And does. Herald is a free plugin for Mail that almost takes the place of Mail so you don’t have to switch to Mail to check and respond to email.
Herald handles email and works beyond the typical notifications in Notification Center on your Mac. Herald watches your incoming email and pops up an efficient little window so you can handle email with greater ease than switching over the Mail.
Behold, your new email. That’s it. Almost.
Herald displays incoming email messages in a pop up window with a Quick Action Toolbar at the bottom; a toolbar which lets you Mark As Read, Reply, Delete, and more. From within the pop up window. Without switching to Mail.
Despite the simple pop up window, Herald is packed with customizable features. Group messages. Setup specific email boxes. View an entire message. Automatically dismiss an incoming message without action.
To customize Herald simply open Mail’s preferences and select the Herald icon (usually down at the end on the right side of the toolbar). Herald comes with options to setup and check email, select specific email accounts and mailboxes, and alter the appearance of the pop up window.
Not bad for free, huh?
Herald is one of those rare Mac utilities, more of an app than a plugin for Mail, that makes email easier to manage by handling it as it comes in, rather than adhering to the GTD Getting Things Done focus method. It’s highly customizable, easy to setup and use, and priced absolutely right.*
*I worry about free applications from third party developers and wonder how long they’ll keep up their labor of love, but in all fairness it appears as if Herald is donationware. If you like it and use it, consider a donation. To be very straightforward about it, Herald is an absolute bargain even if you donate a few bucks.
Because it heads off email before it gets to the Mail inbox (actually, it’s already there, but Herald sits on top of the Mac’s screen so you can see what just arrived without having to switch to Mail) and gives you options to Delete, Respond, Mark as Read, etc. The only caveat, and it’s a nuisance created by Apple, not Herald’s developer, is that whenever a new version of Mail arrives the plugins don’t work until they’re updated. That’s Apple’s fault and should be fixed.