Having multiple email accounts and checking them separately can be time consuming, yet it’s something we all must do to stay connected. While email desktop clients like Outlook, Thunderbird, and Sparrow are great ways to organize and lessen our email workload, they’re not as accessible as we’d want them to be.
Simple Mail is a Firefox add-on that allows you to set up multiple email accounts within the browser.
1. Download the add-on, and follow the installation prompts. Restart Firefox.
2. You’ll notice a small envelope icon on the bottom right corner of the browser window. Click on this. It should open the Simple Mail tab.
3. On the top bar, click on the gear icon to go to “Settings”. Under the Accounts tab, click on “Add” to add your email account. Give it a name to identify it from other accounts – in my case, I labelled it as my main Gmail account. Enter the send/receive email addresses – these usually are the same unless you want a different email address to receive replies. If you want, you can change the refresh time in minutes, assign a color and default Subject and signature.
4. When you’re done, you’ll need to configure the POP3 and SMTP settings for your email. This may vary depending on your email host, so make sure to check with their technical support team.
For free Gmail accounts, you can log in to your Gmail from your browser, go to “Settings”. Go to “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” and check that POP is enabled. Remember to click on “Save Changes” on the bottom. You can also refer to Gmail’s configuration instructions here. The settings for MS Outlook worked great for this add-on.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to add more email accounts. In the example below, I set up three different accounts, labelled them and assigned colors accordingly. If at any time you want to delete one or all of the accounts, you can come back to this page and hit Delete on the right panel.
6. To check if your email settings are working, go back to the main page and click on the Refresh button on the top left corner of the page. You should get a pop-up notification of new emails as they come in.
To read a mail, just click on it and the email content should appear on the bottom pane. To mark an item as read, double click on the email subject.
Remember that although Simple Mail works for free Gmail accounts, it is not the same with a free Yahoo! mail account. Yahoo requires a paid membership (Yahoo! Plus) to enable POP/IMAP for your email.
There are more customization features in Simple Mail including adding filters, creating separate email folders, and simple SPAM management – just like other desktop clients. The interface is indeed simple, and it works as expected. For anyone who manages emails on the go, Simple Mail is a great alternative that provides the same level of functionality as popular email clients. If you prefer function over form, then this add-on is worth a try.