2.2. Mail

The Evolution mail component can work with multiple accounts in a variety of formats. It offers useful features, such as virtual folders for showing search results and filtering for junk mail. Configure the application in Edit+Preferences.

2.2.1. Importing E-Mail from Other Mail Programs

To import e-mail from other e-mail programs, such as Netscape, select File+Import. For mbox formats, select Import a single file. For Netscape, select Import data and settings from older programs. To work with data from programs using the maildir format, such as KMail, configure an account that accesses the mail directory.

2.2.2. Configuring Accounts

Evolution can retrieve e-mail from multiple mail accounts. Select the account from which to send e-mail when you compose a message. Configure mail accounts in Edit+Preferences+Mail Accounts. To modify an existing configuration, select it and click Edit. To delete an account, select it and click Delete.

To add a new account, click Add. This opens the configuration assistant. Click Forward to use it. Enter your name and your e-mail address in the respective fields. Enter the optional information if desired. Check Make this my default account to use this account by default when writing mails. Click Forward.

Select the appropriate incoming e-mail format for this address in Server Type. POP is the most common format for downloading mail from a remote server. IMAP works with mail folders on a special server. Obtain this information from your ISP or server administrator. Complete the other relevant fields displayed when the server type is selected. Click Forward when finished. Select the desired Receiving Options, if available. Click Forward.

Next, configure the mail delivery options. To submit outgoing e-mail to the local system, select Sendmail. For a remote server, select SMTP. Get the details from your ISP or server administrator. For SMTP, complete the other fields displayed after selection. Click Forward when finished.

By default, the e-mail address is used as the name to identify the account. Enter another name if desired. Click Forward. Click Apply to save your account configuration.

To make an account the default account for sending e-mail, select the desired account then press Default. To disable the retrieval of e-mail from an account, select the account then click Disable. A disabled account can still be used as the address for sending, but that account is not checked for incoming e-mail. If necessary, reactivate the account with Enable.

2.2.3. Creating Messages

To compose a new message, click New+Mail Message. Replying to or forwarding a message opens the same message editor. Next to From, select from which account to send the message. In the recipient fields, enter an e-mail address or part of a name or address in your address book. If Evolution can match what you enter to something in the address book, a selection list is displayed. Click the desired contact or complete your input if there are no matches. To select a recipient directly from the address book, click To or CC.

Evolution can send e-mail as plain text or HTML. To format HTML mail, select Format in the toolbar. To send attachments, select Attach or Insert+Attachment.

To send your message, click Send. If not ready to send it immediately, make another selection under File. For example, save the message as a draft or send it later.

2.2.4. Encrypted E-Mail and Signatures

Evolution supports e-mail encryption with PGP. It can sign e-mail and check signed e-mail messages. To use these features, generate and manage keys with an external application, such as gpg or KGpg.

To sign an e-mail message before sending it, select Security+PGP sign. When you click Send, a dialog prompts for the passphrase of your secret key. Enter the passphrase and exit the dialog with OK to send the signed e-mail. To sign other e-mail messages in the course of this session without needing to “unlock” the secret key repeatedly, check Remember this password for the remainder of this session.

When you receive signed e-mail from other users, a small padlock icon appears at the end of the message. If you click this symbol, Evolution starts an external program (gpg) to check the signature. If the signature is valid, a green check mark appears next to the padlock symbol. If the signature is invalid, a broken padlock appears.

The encryption and decryption of e-mail is just as easy. After composing the e-mail message, go to Security+PGP encrypt and send the e-mail message. When you receive encrypted messages, a dialog asks for the password of your secret key. Enter the passphrase to decrypt the e-mail message.

2.2.5. Folders

It is often convenient to sort e-mail messages into a variety of folders. Your folder tree is shown in the left frame. If accessing mail over IMAP, the IMAP folders are also shown in this folder bar. For POP and most other formats, your folders are stored locally, sorted under On This Computer.

Several folders are included by default. Inbox is where new messages fetched from a server are initially placed. Sent is used for saving copies of sent e-mail messages. The Outbox provides temporary storage for e-mail that has not yet been sent. It is useful if working offline or if the outgoing mail server is temporarily unreachable. Drafts is used for saving unfinished e-mail messages. The Trash folder is intended for temporary storage of deleted items. Junk is for Evolution's junk mail filtering feature.

New folders can be created under On This Computer or as subfolders of existing folders. Create as complex a folder hierarchy as desired. To create a new folder, select File+New+Mail Folder. In the Mail Folder dialog, enter a name for the new folder. Use the mouse to determine the parent folder under which to place the new folder. Exit the dialog with OK.

To move a message into a folder, select the message to move. Right-click to open the context menu. Select Move to Folder and, in the dialog that opens, the destination folder. Click OK to move the message. The message header in the original folder is shown with a line through it, meaning that message is marked for deletion from that folder. The message is stored in the new folder. Messages can be copied in a similar manner.

Manually moving a number of messages into different folders can be time-consuming. Filters can be used to automate this procedure.

2.2.6. Filters

Evolution offers a number of options for filtering e-mail. Filters can be used to move a message into a specific folder or to delete a message. Messages can also be moved directly to the trash with a filter. There are two options for creating a new filter: creating a filter from scratch or creating a filter based on a message to filter. The latter is useful for filtering messages sent to a mailing list.

2.2.6.1. Setting Up a Filter

Select Tools+Filters. This dialog lists your existing filters, which can be edited or deleted. Click Add to create a new filter. Alternatively, to create a filter based on a message, select the message then Tools+Create Filter from Message.

Enter a name for the new filter in Rule Name. Select the criteria to use for the filter. Options include sender, recipients, source account, subject, date, and status. The drop-box showing Contains provides a variety of options, such as contains, is, and is not. Select the appropriate condition. Enter the text for which to search. Click Add to add more filter criteria. Use Execute actions to determine if all or only some of the criteria must be met to apply the filter.

In the lower part of the window, determine the action to take when the filter criteria are met. Messages can, for example, be moved or copied to a folder or assigned a special color. When moving or copying, click to select the destination folder. In the folder list that appears, select the folder. To create a new folder, click New. Click OK when the correct folder is selected. When finished creating the filter, click OK.

2.2.6.2. Applying Filters

Filters are applied in the order listed in the dialog accessed with Tools+Filters. Change the order by highlighting a filter and clicking Up or Down. Click OK to close the filter dialog when finished.

Filters are applied to all new mail messages. They are not applied to mail already in your folders. To apply filters to messages already received, select the desired messages then select Actions+Apply Filters.