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Making tasks a little lighter [ActiveInbox 5.2.25]

November 5th, 2015

I’m very pleased to say I’m still getting a chance to tinker in the code (see my last post, Dusting the Furniture). It feels a bit like the early days again, where my life was just listening, coding and blogging :)

There are two new features I’m testing (and that’s an important nuance – I really want your feedback!).

Auto Stripping ‘Waiting On’ when someone replies

One reason I hesitate to mark every email I send as ‘Waiting On’ (blocked), despite it being an incredibly useful fail safe for if they don’t reply, is I know I’ll often forget to clean out my Waiting On list. I fear the build up of crud.

So to alleviate this, if a reply comes into your inbox, and the conversation is marked as ‘Waiting On’, then ActiveInbox will automatically remove the ‘Waiting On’ status and the Due Date.

Importantly, it only does this if you actually read the email, and it gives you a chance to Undo it – so nothing silently falls out of your system.


Blocked (Waiting On) items are visually down-played in your task lists

If you’re waiting for a response, it implies you’re blocked – so we’ve made Waiting On items look a bit more ‘disabled’.

This is especially useful in your Today list, where you have a hodgepodge of different types of things – so you can immediately spot what needs unblocking.

Finish – or update – a task more easily from the task lists

I’ve added a set of commands that appear when you mouseover a task, so you can instantly update it, or click the tick to Finish it.

Again, it’s an effort to make things more lightweight, by very quickly finishing things.


My concerns – that I’d like feedback on…

The Auto Strip might be a scary thing. Even with the clear notification box and Undo, it’s possible you wouldn’t notice it had removed Waiting On, and you’d lose faith in your system. It’s also possible that clicking ‘Undo’ becomes a real pain, if most replies don’t really stop you being blocked.

  • You’ll notice a ‘more’ option on the notification, that lets you just remove Waiting On but not the Due Date, which might feel a bit safer.
  • I guess we could also not invoke the removal if the reply is just a few word acknowledgement (like ‘Thanks!’), which are going to be the most common false positives.

I’m worried that the AutoStrip line is visually too intense (although it needs to grab your attention). If you agree – AND you find it useful – then we can play with different designs.

I have a sense that the current mouseover command line is pretty visually unpleasant – cluttered. If you agree, you could maybe suggest a cleaner approach.

Please let me know in comments!

Dusting the Furniture [ActiveInbox 5.2.24]

October 28th, 2015

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve had my head in code (most of this year in fact!) – Tom & Adhip have had the reigns for mobile work and a few major new features in the pipeline. But I decided to have a littel dabble…

See Notes & Checklist where you most need them

I’ve moved the Notes & Checklist to be between the last message, and the Reply box. (They’re also still on the Action Bar, so available at all times).


We felt this was more useful for two reasons:

  1. You’re most likely to want to update the checklist/notes after reading the latest message
  2. You’re most likely to need the checklist/notes while writing a reply.

(If you don’t agree, this is controllable in the Preferences!).

Go distraction free by hiding the Inbox

If you’d like a temporary break from incoming emails, you can now ‘collapse’ the inbox, using the triangle pictured. This will also hide the Inbox count in the sidebar – so you’re competeley unaware of what’s happening in there :)


Just a few little clean ups

I made a few tweaks to visually improve the Reply box, most noticeably putting ‘Send Later’ next to ‘Send’, so that ‘Waiting On’ is very easy to reach.


In Other News

Having had the great misfortune (read: Andy’s big strategic mistake) of having to discontinue our first mobile attempt, we’ve reached a major milestone: the new one, where we’ve built the entire email client from scratch, has just entered the earliest stage of beta. 60 people so far :-)

If you’d like to be part of this program, please sign up on the Mobile Beta page.

Assigning Tasks to Colleagues in Gmail – ActiveInbox Gmail Hacks

August 27th, 2015

Startup Stock Photos

Have you ever wished you could assign a task to a colleague who also uses Gmail?

Wished you could know for sure that when you send someone an email or bcc them they don’t forget it or overlook it.

There’s a fairly simple but effective hack to do this in Gmail using ActiveInbox that’s come from our ever creative community.

Read the rest of this entry »

ActiveInbox Tip: Choose which task list appears above your Gmail inbox to remind you what’s next

June 2nd, 2015

This is a series of posts helping you to make the most out of ActiveInbox.

ActiveInbox is all about having your tasks lists available in the place you check everyday, all day – Gmail.

The first thing you see when you open up Gmail is your Inbox, so you probably want to be reminded of any urgent tasks right there and then.

That’s why we give you a list of your most urgent tasks just above your Inbox by default. This is your ‘Today’ list – it is all the emails you’ve marked with a due date that expire today or are overdue.

Every morning you can rank and prioritise these critical tasks by dragging and dropping them as you would in a normal list.

But ActiveInbox is all about flexibility. So:

  • Want to keep things simple and your Inbox at the top?
    • Click the radar button and drag your Today section below the Inbox in the left hand panel.
  • Don’t use due dates very often?
    • Put your Action list above your Inbox by dragging it over from the right. (3)
  • Have too many tasks that are overdue?
    • Remove overdue tasks from your today view in two clicks by going to the ActiveInbox preferences and scrolling down to the Active Results section where you can un-check the option. (1)

Send Later update

March 30th, 2015

You’ll be pleased to know that we’ve finally tracked down why some people were experiencing issues with Send Later – and we’ve fixed it.

What has happening was that a handful of our customers were using it on an industrial scale to schedule thousands of emails all at the same time. This was overloading our servers and causing everyone else’s scheduled emails to wait in a queue behind these few people’s newsletter releases.

Sincere apologies to those of you who may have experienced some emails being sent later than intended.

It shouldn’t happen again so if it does please make sure you drop us an email about it at



Achieving Inbox Zero – infographic

March 23rd, 2015

Achieving Inbox Zero in Gmail - ActiveInbox

Gmail Tip: Using Multiple Email Signatures in Gmail

March 18th, 2015

Gmail has only one signature you can use, and it will add itself to all your emails and replies, every time. It is not exactly well designed or flexible for businesses.

If you’ve ever used the desktop version of Outlook you’ll know how easy it is to add different signatures to an email.

But you can also have quick access to multiple saved signatures in Gmail.

All you need to do is enable the Gmail ‘Lab’ (an extension) built by the Gmail team themselves, called Canned Responses. You can simply enable it from Gmail’s settings.

The good news is that once you enable the Canned Responses lab you can achieve everything that Outlook offers with signatures, and more.

You can even use it for quick access to saved emails that you frequently send to people, or set up filters for incoming messages that can send an auto-reply using one of your canned responses.


Set up Canned Responses

Read the rest of this entry »

ActiveInbox 5.2 – Beautifying Gmail

February 26th, 2015

Focus in Gmail

After trying a complicated approach to ‘focusing’, with timers and other nuisances, we realised it wasn’t helping you stay calm – a key component of being able to focus.

So we stripped it right back, and simply removed all the distractions in Gmail (with the happy side effect of making it a much more airy, visually pleasing environment).

Just click ‘Focus Mode’ on the sidebar, or the eye icon next to Gmail’s Settings button.


Simpler Interface

The majority of the work has been 100s of little usability improvements – really refining the details. I believe every single element of ActiveInbox has been considered and tweaked.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sign up to access the ActiveInbox beta app for iOS!

February 9th, 2015


The day has finally come! We have already started rolling out our iOS mobile Beta to a small group of testers and now want to start expanding it.

There are only about 1000 slots available for access to this beta testing stage so we are operating a first come first served waiting list.

If you are nervous about testing a Beta app or don’t want the hassle, you can choose in the sign-up process to be invited at a later stage of the Beta when most of the bugs have been ironed out.

(In-case you don’t know what I man by a ‘Beta’, we mean that this app is not a finished, polished app that you can download directly from the app store. It will be soon – but we need time to iron out any problems and improve it with your help first. You can find out more on the sign up page.)


We’ll email you with an invite by 13th February if you get your name in quickly enough!

Thanks for your support.


Please note, the iOS Beta app is only available to paid ActiveInbox users due to the limited number of spaces.


PS: Our Android app will soon be ready to start testing also, and will be much more widely available at the Beta stage. However, as we have limited development resources, we are using the iOS app to develop the interface to a certain level first rather than working concurrently on 2 different systems. This means it could be a while before we release the Android Beta.


Gmail Hack: Join separate conversation threads together

January 29th, 2015

Ever had someone reply to an email using a fresh subject line and ended up with several different email conversations – all about the same thing, but at different stages of the conversation?

Annoying isn’t it.

Here is a great little hack you can use to get around this very common and inconvenient issue. And yes, it involves copy and paste! Technical eh?

  1. Chose which email conversation you want to be the main consolidated one – probably the most recent one where people are still sending replies, or the one with the clearest subject line if the conversation is dead.
  2. Go to the other conversations, scroll to the most recent email in it, expand the conversation history below, and copy everything from the top of the most recent email to the end of the history.Select the conversation history to copy it
  3. Go back to your conversation which you’ve chosen to consolidate and create a new reply at the bottom, sending it to yourself only. Paste in everything you’ve just copied and send.
  4. Rinse and repeat for any other old scattered threads on the same subject which you want consolidated.
  5. And voila. You have 1 current email conversation where you can see everything that has been said about the subject, all in one conversation view.

Remember – make sure you keep private emails out of the thread history within a conversation.

Any other Gmail hacks you use? Share them with the ActiveInbox community in the comments section below!

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