Choosing the Right Mail Client: Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Zimbra

When it comes to choosing an email client there are several factors to consider from price to personal preferences of layouts and organization. We’ve taken a look at three of the most popular mail clients and broken them down for you.

Outlook Express

Outlook Express is a free email client that is included as a component of Internet Explorer. It is one of the most user-friendly mail clients out there. Users can create fancy stationary to customize emails from multiple accounts (POP, IMAP, MSN, etc.) and the mailbox displays are also customizable. It is fairly simple to filter messages in Outlook Express. Users can choose from a set of 12 conditions and 12 actions to create a combination of “if/thens” to properly organize their incoming mail. For instance, if the message has the word “booger” in it, you can set up a rule to send it straight to your Deleted Messages folder. Likewise with sender’s email addresses.

Notable Features in Outlook:

  • Simple message rules for easy filtering
  • Blocks remote images
  • Preview emails safely before opening them


Thunderbird is Mozilla’s pet mail client, mimicking the browser’s tabbed format. Thunderbird users can open multiple emails and navigate between them by clicking from tab to tab. To search your emails, Thunderbird has filtering and timeline features that will help you find what you’re looking for faster. There are some easy ways for you to customize Thunderbird too. Personas are “skins” that you can apply to change up the look and feel of your Inbox and Themes will change the look of your icons. There is also a direct link to an Add-Ons Manager so you can review ratings and recommendations to help you decide which one(s) to install. A really cool feature is the Mail Setup Wizard. When you want to add a new account to Thunderbird, you don’t have to know the IMAP, SSL/TLS, etc. settings. Thunderbird will search its database for the settings so you only have to add your email address and password for your new account.

Notable Features in Thunderbird:

  • One-click address book
  • Attachment reminder
  • Activity Manager


Zimbra is an open source creation that incorporates a desktop environment, mail client, and calendar all in one. The open source edition is free, however the network edition is not. Zimbra’s email client makes it possible to view (or hide) messages as part of conversations. So rather than seeing each and every single message in a thread, you can click on the latest to find out how many emails, attachments, etc. are part of that particular conversation. Attachments can also be viewed immediately as HTML rather than downloading them to Microsoft Word or other programs first. Zimbra’s address book and calendar are pretty impressive. Both are easily shared with others, either internally as a read/write access document or externally as a read-only URL. And Zimbra’s calendar lets you view multiple calendars as overlays. It’s a good way to keep track of an entire office’s schedule, or a busy family’s!

Notable Features in Zimbra:

  • Set up multiple email accounts with different signatures and mail identities
  • Autocomplete address book
  • WYSIWYG search tool

Source by Julie Dreese

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