I've yet to see the type of engagement this group has with the users of their product. It's as though you're sitting in on meetings with them and having input into the direction of ActiveInbox.
I'm new, how do I get started?
Dive straight into our Documentation.
How do I report a technical problem with ActiveInbox?
Please go to the Troubleshooting FAQ, where we have lots of ready answers and instructions on how to diagnose a new issue so we can fix it.
How can I request a feature?
To share ideas or ask general questions, come to our Forum. It's the fastest place to get an answer, and discussions/ideas evolve faster when anyone can join in on the conversation.
Can I use it on my mobile devices?
We do not currently have a special app, but you don't really need one. This is because everything ActiveInbox does is stored using Gmail labels, which are available everywhere you use Gmail:
* To view your tasks, open the !Action folder
* To action an email, add it to the !Action folder
* To add an email to a project, move it to the Project folder (beginning with P/, e.g. P/My Project)
* To give an email a due date, move it to the appropriate folder, e.g. ZD/20130601 for June 1st, 2013
If you have an iPhone we unofficially recommend the Mailbox app. For instructions, check out Using ActiveInbox and Mailbox together.
We do have a mobile version in the pipeline, but we can experiment much faster on the desktop to perfect the workflow. As soon as we've succeeded, we'll take everything we've learnt and build the mobile app. This is an absolute top priority.
How can I reduce visual clutter in Gmail?
We want to remove as many distractions as possible, while respecting the bits of Gmail you need, so have made it possible to toggle various parts of Gmail on and off.
- Turn Gmail's header (ActiveInbox's Review Bar and Gmail's Search Bar) on and off, by clicking the grey line just below the Search Bar. If you need to search, press '/' and the search box reappears (until you press Enter or Esc).
- Toggle Gmail's Action Bar in conversations, by finding the button with 4 diagonal arrows to the right of ActiveInbox's Action Bar (just below Gmail's), and clicking it. You should find ActiveInbox's Action Bar gives you everything you need.
- Toggle between ActiveInbox and Gmail's Sidebar by clicking the cube icon in the bottom left of Gmail. Our Sidebar is cleaner, and makes Gmail feel more like a task manager.
How can I pin important projects & views?
You can pin your most commonly used Task views, and current Projects, to the Review Bar so you can access them with one click.
(What is the Review Bar? It's the bar at the top of Gmail, or the ActiveInbox sidebar, which you can invoke by clicking the cube icon in the bottom left of Gmail. It contains menus for all your To Do views, and your Projects list).
To pin important items, click the down-arrow to the right of the item you want, and select Pin to main bar. (You can remove it the same way).
This video might be useful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py-mDPi2mtw.
Can I set up recurring tasks?
We haven't built this in as a feature yet, but Ronald made a great suggestion on the Forum.
Do you return Due Date items to my inbox when they're due?
We've researched this, tested it, and ultimately decided not to - we believe there's a better way.
We found, during testing 'Return to Inbox', that most people gave something a due date, then when it came back into the inbox, pushed it back out for a few more hours. I.e. they were suffering the stress of something coming into the inbox, not having time to do it (we're very bad at predicting when we'll be free), and then ignoring it rather than doing it.
That stress and bad timing is eliminated just by using a simple Today list. One that lets you prioritize your day's items by moving them up and down, and where your only job is to calmly reduce the Today list to zero. (We do show the Today list above your Inbox though, so it's impossible to ignore).
Can I assign a time to my Due Dates?
If something has a time, it's an event, and is best represented by adding it to your GCal (and GCal will even email you a reminder when it's due).
(If you have a good reason why this isn't the case, please bring it to the Forum and we can discuss!)
How do I archive finished Projects?
Every Project is really a Gmail label, e.g. the project "New Ideas" is actually the label P/New Ideas.
To archive it when you've finished, simply rename the Gmail label so it no longer has the P/ prefix. ActiveInbox will then remove it from your Projects list.
I recommend renaming it with a new prefix, zOld/, so it appears at the end of any alphabetical list, e.g. zOld/P/New Ideas (it's better than deleting the label, because you can still see all emails that used to be associated with that project).
How do I group & sort my tasks by due date, person, project, etc.?
When you open a To Do view (e.g. Today or Waiting On), or a Project, you get a list of results that can be grouped or sorted.
If you click 'Group By' at the top of the results, you can group them by their due date, status, project or person.
And sorting allows you to change the order in which the results appear (e.g. you may group Today items into projects, and then sort by the person).
How do create new statuses for my emails?
ActiveInbox lets you give an email a status of Action (for you to do) or Waiting On (blocked until someone replies, but still to do).
You can add your own, by creating new labels that start with ! (which is the status prefix). ActiveInbox will then show them as buttons.
For example, in our Support account, we have !L1 and !L2 instead of !Action, because our volume of email requires us to prioritize.
How can I add a new category for grouping emails (similar to Projects)?
This is quite an advanced topic! We don't recommend you think about this if you're just starting with ActiveInbox.
ActiveInbox can have many Label Types, which are a list of folders that have a similar utility. A Label Type consists of a name and a label prefix. By default, the only Label Type is Projects, which has the label prefix P/.
For example, if you share a Gmail account with team mates, you might have a Label Type of Users (with label prefix U/), which contains a folder for every person who accesses the account, so you can assign emails to different people.
And a common use is to have a Label Type of References (with the label prefix R/), where each folder represents a distinct type of information. E.g. Meeting Notes, Praise, Receipts.
How do I make Task views and Projects open as regular Gmail results?
By default, your To Do views (e.g. Today, Action, Waiting On) and Projects open in the ActiveInbox's Results view, which gives you extra powers, such as ranking and grouping emails.
If you ever want to see the equivelent Gmail Results, you can click Switch to Gmail Results at the bottom of that view.
But if you want every To Do view and Project to open in Gmail Results, you can open the Preferences and uncheck Open Review Bar links into "Active Results" tab (instead of regular Gmail results).
Are the Due Date labels automatically cleaned up after use?
Yes, when you load Gmail it checks all your due-date labels (e.g. ZD/yyyymmdd), and if they're not associated with any emails (i.e. not in use), then they're deleted to minimize the total number of labels in your account.
(Don't worry, there are lots of safety checks to make sure labels cannot be incorrectly deleted).
Can I collaboratively share data with my team?
No -- ActiveInbox is built to the work the same way as email itself, as a single user.
But it's on our Roadmap to integrate your favourite tools into Gmail, so you can live and work in your Gmail, but easily update your team.
Where is my data stored?
One of ActiveInbox's most distinctive qualities is that as much as possible is stored entirely within Gmail, using regular Gmail labels. (Statuses, deadlines and projects are all normal Gmail labels, with a special prefix, e.g. !Action, P/Project).
This means that wherever you log into Gmail, even if ActiveInbox isn't installed, your organized tasks and info are available.
A few specific things, like To Do's, Notes, Ranking and Preferences are stored on our server.
(If you're interested in precise details:
All communication with our server is secure via https. All long-form text, such as a note, is stored in plain-text in our database, alongside the Gmail message ID, which isn't sensitive information. Only Andy & the development team have access to our database. We'd like to improve the security of this, but there's no client-side encryption yet secure enough to make it worth implementing. Another consideration is to make it possible for companies to create their own end-point to store ActiveInbox data on their own server, but so far no company has expressed a strong interest in doing this as it requires development work. tl;dr we're in line with general industry practices, but if you have truly sensitive information, please do not store it in ActiveInbox notes without first enquiring about developing a secure solution for your company).
Do I have to give you my credentials to access my email?
Not to use 95% of ActiveInbox's features. And for the 5% of features that do need your credentials (e.g. "If someone replies, remove the due date") you'll be very clearly asked to authorize ActiveInbox's full access. I.e. it's your choice.
The reason we don't need your credentials is because we're a browser addon, and have the ability to modify Gmail to improve it, but only within the confines of your computer. (I.e. our server cannot secretly read all your email).
To be totally transparent, our technique is still not perfectly safe: if we were malicious we could still send information from your Gmail account to our servers. But the saving grace is that any geeks with Firefox and Chrome can monitor what data is sent to our website using the inbuilt network tools, and if you're a geek I encourage you to do so -- and if you ever see anything you don't like, to raise the alarm and shout it loudly around the internet. (I'm incredibly proud of what we do with ActiveInbox and would never want to do anything that concerns even a single user).
Is ActiveInbox a finished product?
Not yet! Although the core concepts are stable now and won't change much unless you give us a very good reason :-) Meet the team, and find out what we're building.
What happens if I don't like it, is it easy to uninstall?
Just go into your browser's extension list, find ActiveInbox, and click uninstall. All your organization is intentionally left intact, but you can delete that too by going into Gmail's Settings and removing all status labels (e.g. !Action), project labels (beginning with P/) and deadline labels (beginning with ZD/).
Can't ask for much better service then this- report a bug fixed 2 days later- Thanks @activeinbox - Love the tool!
Kudos to Andy at @activeinbox for not only seeing I was talking about an issue but responding quickly and with a solution. You rock! :)