Editing mail with Geary

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Writing and Replying

In Ubuntu and its Unity interface, you can write a new message by right-clicking the Geary icon in the Starter (Figure 4). Alternatively, you can switch to the program window and either click the new mail icon or use Ctrl+N (see Table 1).

Table 1


Ctrl+N Compose a new message
Ctrl+R Reply to sender
Ctrl+Shift+R Reply to all
Ctrl+L Forward message
A Archive message
S Star message
D Unstar message
Ctrl+I Mark message as read
Ctrl+U Mark message as unread
Ctrl+J Toggle marking message as spam
Ctrl+Shift+0 Zoom in on message
Ctrl+- Zoom out from message
Ctrl+0 Reset zoom
Figure 4: The Geary editor is simple and functional. Only the signatures function would be a helpful addition.

The Geary editor has a simple design, yet it provides many functions for editing correspondence.

If you've set up multiple accounts, you can switch among them from the drop-down list at the top of the window. Use the toolbar to select from a series of formats. To send a file, click Attach a file and specify the path to the file in the ensuing dialog.

Alternatively, you can open the file manager, mark the attachment there and drag-and-drop it to the bottom of the editor window. Be sure not to drop the attachment next to the button.

The developers have not yet integrated a function to store and add signatures for messages. However, you can conceivably copy the signature from an older email and paste it to the clipboard; then, if you need the signature, you can copy it from there into the message.

Professional users are especially keen on a printing function. To print a message, choose it in the right-hand pane, then use the little button at the upper to open another menu, where you'll find the Print command. You can also open a preview of the message to proof it before printing.

In the message list, if you right-click a message, a small context menu appears. The functions include replying to and forwarding the message. Geary uses the TOFU (Text Over, Fullquote Under) method of replying by default. If this style bothers you, remove the sections in the editor that you find irrelevant or move your reply closer to the text in question.


Geary's interface and functions may leave you wanting more. For a program in version 0.4, it proves stable and takes care of all basic tasks satisfactorily. Overall, the software still shows some imperfections. Ubuntu users will notice a less than perfect Unity integration. For example, options to use the HUD display or get feedback from the control panel are missing.

The developers could have added a few more functions in its core area. Missing above all is support for server-based filters and rules to sort incoming mail faster. Certainly useful in this context would be for Geary to support the keyboard shortcuts from Gmail and other services.

Unfortunately, the developers didn't make good use of context menus. These especially would save time in message management, such as moving a series of messages into another folder with a simple right-click menu item.

Topping the wish list is undoubtedly the integration of encryption in the program. Currently, external programs are the only way around it. This works but is very inconvenient.

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