Review: ActiveInbox – Get a Handle on Your Email

Having a clean, organized email inbox is the Holy Grail for the 21st century. Talk to just about anyone and you’re likely to hear:

“Yeah, it’s a mess. Thank goodness Gmail has a great search function or I’d really have a problem.”

Wouldn’t it be great if you could reach finally achieve that eternal quest?

Thanks to ActiveInbox, you may finally have a tool that will help you achieve just that. ActiveInbox is a browser extension created by Andy Mitchell and Pete Lambert based on the premise that emails are just badly formatted tasks.

ActiveInbox has two parts:

  1. Turning your emails into tasks and then grouping them into projects.
  2. Streamlining writing replies.

Turning Your Emails into Tasks,Then Group Them into Projects

ActiveInbox lets you choose whether an email is:

  • an action;
  • to be dealt with someday;
  • or something you’re waiting for a response from someone on.

This has two main benefits. One is that it forces you to make a conscious decision about what to do with the email instead of just letting it sit there. The other is that it makes it easy to tell at a glance what needs to be done when — not to mention allowing you to keep track of when you need to prod someone about a follow-up email.

From there, you can assign each email to a project to keep all relevant emails together in one place. Maybe you have a few different clients (or projects). Either way, this allows you to create a neat, easy to find label and easily access all emails related to one client or project.

You can even create a specific reference lablel for emails you need to frequently refer back to. This is perfect for emails about passwords, emails with re-useable directions, emails with contact information and much more. Plus, you can fly through all of this because there’s a button that lets you finish, skip, or archive the email.

Streamlining Writing Replies

Unlike most extensions and tools along the lines of ActiveInbox, Activeinbox also works to help make writing replies faster and more streamlined.

When you compose an email, a box appears under “Add Attachment” that lets you view previous conversations. No more digging through your email inbox to try to find what you said the last time you talked — it’s all right there with one click. You can even filter by search subject or attachment, making things even easier.

Paid Version

ActiveInbox is a free-to-use extension, but there’s also a paid version with some more advanced features.

One of the more advanced features is the ability to set a specific deadline for when things are due — either a response you’re waiting on or a task you need to complete.

The paid version also gives you additional shortcut options, allowing you to move through your inbox even faster.

Currently, the paid version is in beta and costs $24.95 for a year-long license. Once it’s out of beta, the price will be increased.

Complete Gmail Guide

All of this is helpful in and of itself, but ActiveInbox takes it a step further by offering a Complete Gmail Guide. There’s both a Quick Guide for First Time Users that goes over ActiveInbox’s main features and how to implement them. The Complete Gmail Guide is much longer and covers everything from email organization to daily workflow to speeding up your email reading and writing processes. It’s thorough — and despite being long — well worth the read.

If you’re looking for a way to tackle not just your email inbox, but also writing emails, ActiveInbox is definitely worth installing and giving a look. And even if you don’t want to install it, their helpful guide is well worth the read.

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Leslie A. Joy is a marketing assistant, process manager, analytics geek, and blogger, along with being a social media strategist for DSGNR Unlimited. You can find out more at her site, Social Media Mercenary.


  1. L1 on the 15th March

    Charging for Betas is ridiculous, the best combatant for Email spam is to set up a few aliases to sign up for things. Then when one gets flooded with spam, you just delete it and create a new alias. Also a good idea is to note everything you sign up to with quick notes or similar.

  2. Gilberto Ramos on the 15th March

    this is really helpful..! didn’t know about ActiveInbox existance.. I’ll give it a try!

    • Chaas on the 23rd June

      You keep it up now, undesrtnad? Really good to know.

  3. TraffficColeman on the 15th March

    Emails is still effective for marketing, and grouping them up can be even more awesome.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  4. T on the 15th March

    ClearContext is also a good add on for organizing emails and assigning them to tasks and projects. They’re constantly updating themselves. The paid version is pretty pricey, but well worth it if you receive more than 200 emails per day.

    The addon is for microsoft outlook only.

  5. Rick on the 16th March

    sad to see workawesome has eroded to paid content advertisements

  6. Bojan Djordjevic on the 31st March

    I always group my emails according to their priority level. Without doing so is overwhelming, to say the least. It’s the “awaiting response” group that is the most irritating.

  7. Christa on the 4th April

    I’m definitely going to read the guides and see if this might be a good fit for me. Anything that helps me streamline my day!

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