Email Nirvana, via Xobni and SimplyFile

My email is typically out of control. I routinely used to have messages that were more than a 4-5 months old in the Inbox. My offline pst was large, with a folder structure to reflect the different activities I did. Moving messages to specific folders was pain, so was searching for a particular message, or a hundred other things one wants to do to get a grip on things but just cant seem to do anything to alleviate the situation.

All this was until I discovered two tools, Xobni and SimplyFile. I shall talk about the latter first.

SimplyFile – As the name indicates this is a really useful add-in that makes the proces of moving mails to specific folders really simple.

It might seem like a trivial thing but trust me when you have mails coming in like water from a fire-hose, you want to take quick action on them(or push them to a specific folder, or task them for later action etc). The ounce of proactive action right when you see the mail is often the last opportunity to keep your Inbox organized.

Now after almost a decade of using Outlook a lot I can proudly claim SimplyFile has brought the size of my Inbox to just a handful of mails, sometimes even less than 10.

The trick is this – right after a mail arrives and you click on it, SimplyFile suggests a folder in your pst folder where it thinks the mail should be moved to. If the suggestion seems appropriate, click a button and the mail is moved. If not, then change the folder and the message is moved, note that there is no button clicking. The app seems to learn and predicts quite accurately based on past patterns. I have yet to see a case where it goofed up , but am checking where the edge conditions lie.

I also noticed that I use Outlook tasks more now than before, SimplyFile provides a one click mechanism to add a new task based on a email. This has been amazing to me, no copy/paste of content, just a click and the mail’s body, subject, attachment etc is made part of a new task. Set the date/time/reminder and save!

Small improvements but makes an enormous difference for those who live within Outlook. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

Xobni – Weird name, but boy what a product! Its nameis ‘Inbox’ in reverse but thats the only thing that is out of place about this product. Again an add-in for Outlook. Check the demo here..

There is way too much to talk about but the features that floored me were

  • Threaded conversations – GMail style conversations!
  • Search – I hated enhanced Outlook search. I used to use LookOut that was later acquired by Microsoft, which then morphed into something that carried too much baggage! Now search is quick and relevant. One thing did nag – search is submitted on inbox and the internet. The internet is totally unncessary, am in Outlook let me remain there.
  • Analytics – Whom did you mail the most? What was the active period in which you received mails? What about sent message times? Not immediately useful but provides great insight into communication patterns within your network
  • Stay in touch! – Provides list of people whom you have not mailed in a long time 🙂
  • Usability – Honestly I never used the To-Do bar in Outlook 2007. May be its a defect in how I cognize UI elements, may be am very left-oriented! But ever since I started with Xobni my focus has been on it to execute most of my tracking tasks. So much so I have minimized the Navigation bar altogether, freeing up more screen-estate!

This is how personal productivity apps are supposed to be. Xobni is in invite only beta right now. You could register to be sent an invite. Those who got the invite already could send 5 invites each. If you would like one, on a first come first served basis, please drop a comment with your mail id.

Have any of you used Xobni or SimplyFile? What has been your experience so far?

As for myself Email Nirvana is at hand!

[update: The invites are gone now. Sorry!] Tags: , , , ,


  1. If you have any invites left, I’d love one for Xobni. Thanks!

  2. I want it too, thanks! and hey, where have you been?

  3. If you still have any invites left, can you send one. Also never have heard of simplyfile, will need to check it out.

  4. f you still have any invites left, can you send one.

  5. please may i have an invite if u have aspare one thanks in advance

  6. Any invites left? I’d be in your debt.

  7. totally agree! I use both of these tools — i found them independtly of each other — first one i found (simplyfile) was a couple weeks before the other (xobni). after i found simplyfile i was in heaven — it took a little bit to get used to, but once i did, it was indeed amazing… then i found xobni… again, took a little bit to get used to, but now i am hooked on both!

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