how to get around limitations in googlemail

Posted on 2010-01-06
Last Modified: 2013-12-14
I've just migrated a small business from openwebmail to using googlemail
There are a number of features they do not like but I can't see how to make googlemail work in the way they want.
1. The signature box is too small and forces unsightly wrap around. I've tried pasting in the text and typing it, but it wraps around a third of the way across the email instead of across the page.
2. Why will the sent items not work the same way as inbox when applying labels. They wish to label outgoing emails and remove them from sent items. Taking the email out of sent items deletes it completely. They have to move it from trash to inbox and then label it. That's daft. I've persuaded them at the moment to leave the email in sent items and label it for the folder they want it to be in. For tidiness they want the minimum number of mails in the sent items folder.
3. They would like to be able to download emails for completed projects to a CD for archiving. There does not seem to be a way of doing this.
4. On printing, most email systems show the most recent exchange first, but googlemail shows it last, that may well be logical, but this company likes to produce hard-copy and file it! A ten-page conversation with multiple messages over a period of time requires them to print it all, instead of just the first page with the most recent message (the previous messages have already been printed and filed. Their business requires hard-copy even though it may not be eco-friendly. I cannot see a way of changing google's default behavior on this.
5. When printing emails the title is printed in very large fontsizes. They use lengthy titles so the printout can run to three or four lines. Why can't this be changed.
6. If two emails to the same recipient have the same title googlemail lumps them together when printing. Why? This also happens with draft emails. There is a requirement for emails to be produced in draft and printed for a senior partner to approve before sending. As a result of the title issue, different emails end up being lumped together when they send them.
Question by:peter_lawrie
    LVL 32

    Accepted Solution

    are you using the Google apps standard (free) edition, or the paid one?

    Some of your complaints are just the way things work, but some can be resolved.

    The signature box may wrap, but it is inserted correctly into the email body. Try it.

    Archiving is possible by several means. You can set up a PC or server with an email client - even Outlook Express is good for the job.
    Setup the relevant google accounts for IMAP access, and define them in the client. Now you can extract the relevant emails out of the client and into a CD. I am sure the same can be achieved programatically with some VB/Java/C# scripting.
    Another way is to use the Postini services available for the paid version. See

    The other stuff can't be resolved afaik, but try to go through the experimental features in the Lab settings tab, maybe some stuff there will be helpful. The gmail team is also looking for suggestions for improvement - see this link

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the reply. It's the premier edition.
    I was concerned about using IMAP as they only want to pull down selected mail - such as a completed project for a client which may have several years of emails from multiple recipients. I haven't looked properly at postini yet. At first glance it does not seem to be quite what I wanted, but I should investigate it.

    The other items are the ones that annoy them most, the font size on the headings, groupings by title and the oldest message first in a printout. I can appreciate the logic behind the choices google has made but, to me, all of these should be adjustable by parameter.
    The signature box problem is the silliest. Once it has been inserted in the email they can edit it to look better, but there should be no need for that. If there are no carriage returns in the stored signature text, it should arrange itself to fit the space in the email.
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    I can't help but feel that 2 and 3 can be solved by educating them that the whole point of googlemail is search not sort.  Use the archive button to remove the email from the inbox, then search for it later.  Why bother with downloading and archiving when google will look after it for you.  And it will be very easily searchable.
    Again, why would anyone want a clean sent mail folder.  what difference would it make.  Just label it and forget about it.  When you need it search for it with the label and that it is in sent items, why remove a label that will help you find it later.
    I am not trying to sound all pro Google and whatever, I just feel that you had your reason for moving over and now your users, instead of embracing the new technology are just complaining that its not as good as the original.  If it really is not as you good, then you should move back, if it is better you need to educate them to use it the way it was designed not find work arounds to make it work like the old system.  Its not a bug its a feature!

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