In a basic email system, incoming and/or read emails are automatically saved onto the user’s browser-based email account. These messages can be accessed from any browser in the world. To access old emails offline, however, the user must download and install an email client and then download his/her emails to that client. This is relatively easy to do and there are a number of email clients that users can choose from. To make the selection easier, several free, cross-platform email clients are listed below.
Mozilla Thunderbird is a free email client provided by the makers of Mozilla Firefox that is able to import mail from an unlimited number of email accounts and organize them in a way that users are able to quickly identify important messages. Mozilla Thunderbird alerts the user to when there is a new message and provides a search feature that can search by both subject and sender. Users have the option of clicking on the “Junk” button to flag messages as spam and can expand their capabilities through the use of a large number of add-ons and plug-ins. Mozilla Thunderbird is exceptionally good at handling Gmail accounts.
Alpine is a free email client provided by the University of Washington that includes virtually all basic email client functionality. Alpine is able to view, save, export, delete, compose, print, reply to, and forward messages and allows users to create drafts so that replies may be completed at another time. Alpine includes an address book feature that allows users to add new contacts to the address book by selecting them through incoming messages instead of being required to type them. Alpine checks for new messages every 2.5 minutes or whenever the program is refreshed.
Claws Mail is another free email client that is available under the GPL license. Claws Mail includes a standard email client interface that provides quick accessibility and data security. Almost all features of Claws Mail can be controlled by keyboard shortcuts, plug-ins are available, and an RSS aggregator and calendar are also included. Claws Mail can import and export mail from other email clients and is designed to make the user feel at ease as he/she transitions from one email client to another.
eM Client is much more than an email client as it combines the resources of an email client, news reader, instant messenger, calendar/scheduler, and much more. EM Client allows users to communicate with colleagues, friends, and family through a much more extensive array of features than they are usually used to. For example, eM Client allows users to view the schedules of their contacts in order to plan specific events and meetings. The email client of eM Client cannot be ignored, however, as it provides the user with everything one would expect in a powerful email client such as extensive search options, folders for organizing messages, and add-ons that can increase the functionality of the software.
KMail is an email client included in the Kontact software provided by KDE. KMail includes organized folders, a search function, an HTML mail reader, and an international character set identifier. KMail supports IMAP, DIMAP, POP3, SMTP, and Sendmail.
Microsoft Outlook, also known as Microsoft Office Outlook, is a program that can be purchased from Windows as a standalone software and is also included in the Microsoft Office suite. Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager that includes an email client, news reader, calendar/scheduler, task manager, address book, Notepad, a journal, and a web browser.