Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Unlocking Zimbra Advanced Searches

Hi and welcome to 2010!  This year I plan to blog more, read more, do more, learn more, and have more time left over...

This is a quick post to tell you how to do some nice advanced searching in Zimbra - the webmail client.
  1. In your Zimbra interface, select Preferences then General.
  2. Under the Searches heading, select Show advanced search language in search toolbar.
  3. Save and go back to Mail.
  4. In the Search box, select the Advanced link
  5. Choose some options (my favourite is status:unread; status:flagged; and time is today)
  6. By default this ORs some and ANDs the result with others, giving you a very small set of results:
    ((is:flagged) OR (is:unread)) date:-0day
    Edit the search string and replace everything with OR, and change 0day to 1day:
    (is:unread) OR (is:flagged) OR (date:-1day)

    You will now have a very powerful search, that gives you a quick summary of all todays messages, plus any unread or marked message from the beginning of time!

  7. Save the search, and you can access it at any later time.  Note that other preferences such as the sorted-by column is also saved with this search.

Well that sounds easy enough!  Why can't other email clients do the same thing?  Evolution's advanced search folders were unmatched until I discovered this..

Claws has no advanced cross-folder search that is persistent across instances of the application.

Thunderbird 3.0b2 (the last I played with) has persistent search folders, but they can't pull in related emails (up or down the thread) like evolution can.

Evolution is equipped to handle my business and personal email accounts:
  • I have thousands of emails in multiple pop and imap accounts.  I have no choice but to separate my multiple work and home accounts like this.
  • I have some folders with thousands of emails each, dating back years, which helps with long projects, contracts, and a bad memory!
  • I need some way to keep track of important emails, and at the same time see and sort new emails

Evolution can handle large folders with thousands of emails each.  It can of course filter messages based on mailing lists, subjects, sender and even run an external application test over an email.  I've mentioned it's search folder goodness, and it has powerful quick-searches too that can search the current folder or account.

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