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Corel WordPerfect Mail installs in less than five minutes--but expect a longer setup if you're importing messages and contact information from another e-mail client. The handy Import Wizard guides you through the conversion process by transferring e-mail settings and data from major clients such as Outlook 1998, 2000, and 2002; Netscape 4.x and 7.x; as well as recent versions of Eudora. Conversion is quick and convenient but also imperfect. In our tests, for instance, the Import Wizard transferred settings from just one of our pair of Outlook e-mail accounts--despite WordPerfect Mail's support for multiple e-mail accounts. We had to configure our second account manually.
This program's interface is a breeze to master. The left-column Navigation pane lists all folders (Inbox, Spam, Deleted, and so on); the Preview pane displays the contents of a selected message; and the Mail toolbar and the Search bar provide fast access to frequently used features such as Send/Receive, Compose, and Forward. We particularly liked the Calendar Peek in the lower-left corner, which is great for quickly glimpsing your daily appointments. In Microsoft Outlook, by comparison, you have to open the Calendar to view the same information.
WordPerfect Mail's text editor provides all the standard tools for composing e-mail messages, such as spell-checking, e-mail signatures, and font formatting, (bold, italic, numbering, bullets, and so on). Of course, you can insert GIFs, JPEGs, and other images into e-mail and attach other files, too.
Corel WordPerfect Mail has a lot going for it, starting with solid spam-blocking and search tools. It costs only $69--considerably less than the $109 Microsoft Outlook. And Corel's e-mail client has an integrated Really Simple Syndication (RSS) newsreader; Outlook does not, although third-party RSS add-ins such as NewsGator are available.
The WordPerfect Mail Smart Groups wizard makes it easy to manage your RSS subscriptions and online mailing or distribution lists (such as news articles and blog entries) and route them directly to specific folders. With RSS feeds, you can choose from Corel's slim selection of 11 popular feeds, or you can use the wizard to manually subscribe to a feed by entering its title and URL. The wizard is easy to use, but we'd like to see more preselected feeds. By contrast, Pluck, a great newsreader and a winner of CNET's Editors' Choice award, comes with dozens of preprogrammed feeds.
Corel WordPerfect Mail also conducts speedy searches of e-mail, contacts, attachments, and calendar appointments. Using the convenient Search bar (underneath the Mail toolbar), you can find information within e-mail in seconds. This comes in handy for those of us who hate organizing e-mail into folders--for whom an in-box is synonymous with a dumping ground. Outlook has a speedy search window as well, but WordPerfect Mail gains a search advantage through its Quick Search buttons in the Subject and From fields of e-mail message headers. By clicking Quick Search in the From field, for instance, you can easily find all e-mail from the same sender--something that Outlook can't do.
Unfortunately, WordPerfect Mail needs to beef up its Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) support. IMAP lets you manage your e-mail without downloading it from the mail server, allowing you to view the headers of messages and download only the ones you want to read. IMAP also lets you create and move folders as well as delete and search messages that remain on the server. Currently, WordPerfect Mail users who want to import IMAP mail and folders from their Internet providers need to download messages using their previous e-mail program, then import them into WordPerfect Mail--a clunky procedure.WordPerfect Mail users get free e-mail support, but phone assistance can be very expensive: $25 per incident; a trio of support calls costs $70, a five-pack $100. Corel promises to answer your e-mailed queries within one business day--a pledge our tests proved accurate. But we'd like to see better links within WordPerfect Mail to Corel's support site. Currently, when you select WordPerfect Mail Help from within the program, the help file that pops up doesn't link to the more extensive tips on Corel's Web site.