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Microsoft Outlook remains a giant of desktop email clients. It’s brimming with useful features revolving around mail organization, such as letting you create all manner of Inbox rules to help keep you on top of things, accessing and sending emails through shared inboxes, as well as those under-appreciated follow-up flags. But if you’ve recently given up on your Office365 subscription or have otherwise left the Microsoft Office ecosystem, then you’ll need to look for an alternative.
Luckily, there are plenty of good options out there for users ranging from casuals to professionals, and we’ve gathered our favorites for you here.1. eM Client
Platforms: Windows, Mac
So long as you don’t want to have a ton of accounts at once, eM Client is a great free desktop email app with a distinctly modern and intuitive interface. It lets you view your email accounts separately or in a seamless universal inbox, and its clean-and-compact UI makes it easy to manage all your inboxes and folders in the left-hand pane. One of its more notable elements is the instant chat pane on the right hand side, as well as the dropdown Agenda/Calendar and Contacts list above it.
Where other clients tend to look and feel a bit “20 years ago”, eM Client feels decidedly of this day and age. It has a great dark theme option too, and the only thing we can really say against it is that the free version limits you to using it with just two email accounts (the unlimited/commercial version is $50).2. Mozilla Thunderbird
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
The first port of call for most people looking for a swift alternative to Outlook, Thunderbird has been around for a long time and continues to impress. With support for an unlimited number of email accounts, tons of plugins and lightning-quick functionality, its place on the email client throne is well deserved.
Thunderbird syncs up easily with the major providers like Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo, but you can manually set it up to play nice with most IMAP and POP3 email services. While there was talk of Thunderbird flying solo from Mozilla at one point, it looks like it’s staying put with Mozilla for now, which means we should continue to expect big updates; the latest ones have integrated social media features like Twitter Direct Messaging, showing that these guys know how to keep up with the times.3. Windows Mail
On the plus side, it’s extremely fast to use, syncs up instantly with calendars from other services (with reminders and calendar notifications popping up natively in the Windows notification area), and gives you glimpses of your emails in the live tiles in the Start menu. You can even pin specific inboxes to the Start menu, which rounds off an app that Microsoft has done a great job of seamlessly integrating into Windows 10.4. Zimbra Desktop
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
A slightly less glamorous open-source representative than Mozilla Thunderbird, Zimbra desktop is nonetheless a veteran email client that’s continuing to receive regular updates many years after its inception. Zimbra has a decidedly more retro feel than other clients, but fundamentally uses the same three-pane structure and has a handy row of tabs running along the top that give you quick access to your address book, calendar and so on.
These features synchronize smoothly with their counterparts in big email services like Gmail and Outlook, and it also has full two-way sync with all the big mobile platforms, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble acclimatizing to it.5. Mailbird
This article was first published in Jan 2023 and was updated in Jan 2023.
Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.
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