16 e-mail and instant messaging boosters

Communicate better with these (mostly free) downloads

Gmail and Outlook

Outlook is one of the most used e-mail clients on the planet, and Gmail is among the most used Web-based mail services. As to be expected, there's plenty of software to help you work with each. The following downloads add nifty features to Gmail or Outlook.

gAttach:Because Gmail is Web-based, it suffers from one very annoying deficiency: It doesn't integrate with Windows. So you aren't able to right-click a file and then send it via Gmail.

GAttach solves the problem. Install the software, and from then on, whenever you right-click a file and choose Send To, Mail Recipient, it will create an e-mail in Gmail and attach the file to it. You then open Gmail, finish creating the message and send it on its way.

You can set the program up to log you in automatically whenever you attach a file, or you can log in manually via your browser.

If you run into problems with the program, you might not have set Gmail to be your default e-mail application. To fix that, go to gAttach's options screen, choose the Computer & Internet tab, and click the Make Default button. If that doesn't solve your problem, go to the gAttach FAQs page for more help.

Download gAttach | Price: Free

Gmail Notifier: Just about any Gmail user will want to download and use this neat little freebie from Google. It automatically checks your Gmail account on a schedule that you specify, and displays an icon alert in your system tray when you have new mail. You'll also see the header of the message and a snippet of the text. To look at the mail, you'll have to open Gmail, so this isn't a mail reader. But for getting alerts, it's ideal.

Download Gmail Notifier | Price: Free

SyncMyCal: If you use Outlook's calendar for your personal items, but use Google Calendar for a work or group calendar, you're in trouble. You need to check both calendars regularly, and you have to copy events back and forth between them -- a time-consuming task that's prone to error.

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Preston Gralla

PC World
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