earnest ma's site

My Email Workflow and Programs


This has become more important since COVID-19 became a thing and I started working with more accounts. These are some of the tools, programs, and not-workflow that I use.

I self-host my personal email, setting it up with Luke Smith’s emailwiz script and modifying the config afterwards as needed. It was not difficult to import emails from Gmail/ Hotmail through Thunderbird. I have 2 main accounts that I use, one is listed and the one I usually give out and subscribe to mailing lists on, and a personal one. In the future, I may consider adding a “spam” address for signing up to random services or newsletters.

For newsletters/ random services, I make use of aliases. + seems to be common and as such may be detected and removed, so I use - instead.

For Postfix in /etc/postfix/main.cf: recipient_delimiter = +-

It’s even possible to send mail from those addresses.

On top of these, I have additional external accounts (school, etc). Signing into webmails used to be ok, but not for checking multiple accounts at once (ex: Hotmail/ Outlook only lets you sign into one account at a time).

Sending plain-text emails has also become more important to me, with webmail sites that’s often difficult to do. Same with GPG-signing/ encrypted emails.

The folder structure I use is pretty simple. Everything starts in the inbox, which I try to keep as small as possible. Newsletters are either immediately read, deleted, or placed in a “Later” folder. Regular email/ patches are replied to if needed, then archived or deleted. I keep a new Archives folder per year (Archives/2021). Lastly, I just have a folder for reference emails (reciepts, invoices…)

Programs I use


Thunderbird is just a fantastic email client, and my main one. While it was a bit clunky to set up and get used to at first, it handles my needs and multiple email accounts great.

It also can do chat (IRC/ XMPP), Newsgroups (NNTP) and be an RSS reader.

Instructions for setting up Thunderbird for plain text. GPG is a little bit more complicated, since Thunderbird uses its own keychain. Since I use regualar GPG + Kleopatra (at least on Windows), I import my public keys from a Kleopatra export every once in a while, and whenever I update my secret keys.


Useful extensions I use:

K-9 Mail

The only good mail app for Android! Great for quickly reading and replying to email when on my phone when I can’t from my computer. There has been no stable releases on the Play Store but there are regular beta versions that work pretty well that are available on F-Droid.

Instructions for sending plain text mail. GPG support can be added by installing the OpenKeychain app.


https://aerc-mail.org/ - A pretty nice terminal email client. Easy to set up (unlike (neo)mutt), but doesn’t build on Windows. Also no GPG support as far as I know yet. I am using it every once in a while and keeping a close eye at its development.


What a good email webclient should be like! It even has GPG support, I have installed the Nextcloud app version. Useful in case I don’t have my usual computer/ phone with me. Instructions for sending plain text mail

Tags: #email #workflows

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