4.2 Using Evolution: An Overview
Now that the first-run configuration has finished, you’re
ready to begin using Evolution. Here’s a quick explanation
of what’s happening in your main Evolution window.
Figure 4-1 Evolution Window
The menu bar gives you access to nearly all of Evolution features.
The folder list gives you a list of the available folders
for each account. To see the contents of a folder, click the folder
name and the contents are displayed in the e-mail list.
The toolbar gives you fast and easy access to the frequently
used features in each component.
The search tool lets you search your e-mail, contacts, calendar,
and tasks to easily find what you’re looking for.
The message list displays a list of e-mail that you have received.
To view an e-mail in the preview pane, click the e-mail in the e-mail
The shortcut bar lets you switch between folders and between
Evolution tools. At the bottom of the shortcut bar there are buttons
that let you switch tools, and above that is a list of all the available folders
for the current tool. If you have the Evolution Connector for Microsoft
Exchange installed, you have an Exchange button in addition to buttons
for the other tools.
The status bar periodically displays a message, or tells you
the progress of a task. This most often happens when you’re
checking or sending e-mail. These progress queues are shown in the
previous figure. The Online/Offline indicator is here,
too, in the lower left of the window.
The preview pane displays the contents of the e-mail that
is selected in the e-mail list.
4.2.2 The Shortcut Bar
Evolution’s most important job is to give you access
to your information and help you use it quickly. One way it does
that is through the shortcut bar, which is the column on the left
side of the main window. The buttons, such as Mail and Contacts,
are the shortcuts. Above them is a list of folders for the current
The folder list organizes your e-mail, calendars, contact
lists, and task lists in a tree, similar to a file tree. Most people
find one to four folders at the base of the tree, depending on the
tool and their system configuration. Each Evolution tool has at
least one, called On This Computer, for local information. For example,
the folder list for the e-mail tool shows any remote e-mail storage
you have set up, plus local folders and search folders.
If you get large amounts of e-mail, you might want more folders
than just your Inbox. You can create multiple calendar, task, or
To create a new folder:
Type the name of the folder in the field.
Select the location of the new folder.
Right-click a folder or subfolder to display a menu with the
Copies the folder to a different location. When you select
this item, Evolution offers a choice of locations to copy the folder
Moves the folder to another location.
Mark Messages As Read:
Marks all the messages in the folder as read.
Creates another folder in the same location.
Deletes the folder and all its contents.
Lets you change the name of the folder.
Disables the account.
Checks the number of total and unread messages in a folder,
and, for remote folders, lets you select whether to copy the folder
to your local system for offline operation.
You can also rearrange folders and messages by dragging and
Any time new e-mail arrives in a e-mail folder, that folder
label is displayed in bold text, along with the number of new messages
in that folder.
Evolution e-mail is like other e-mail programs in several
- It can send and receive e-mail in
HTML or as plain text, and makes it easy to send and receive multiple
- It supports multiple e-mail sources, including IMAP,
POP3, and local mbox or mh spools and files created by other e-mail
- It can sort and organize your e-mail in a wide variety
of ways with folders, searches, and filters.
- It lets you guard your privacy with encryption.
However, Evolution has some important differences from other
e-mail programs. First, it’s built to handle very large
amounts of e-mail. The junk e-mail, message filtering and searching
functions were built for speed and efficiency. There’s
also the search folder, an advanced organizational feature not found
in some e-mail clients. If you get a lot of e-mail, or if you keep
every message you get in case you need to refer to it later, you’ll
find this feature especially useful. Here’s a quick explanation
of what’s happening in your main Evolution e-mail window.
The message list displays all the e-mails that you have. This
includes all your read and unread messages, and e-mail that is flagged
to be deleted.
This is where your e-mail is displayed.
If you find the preview pane too small, you can resize the
pane, enlarge the whole window, or double-click the message in the
message list to have it open in a new window. To change the size
of a pane, drag the divider between the two panes.
As with folders, you can right-click messages in the message
list and get a menu of possible actions, including moving or deleting
them, creating filters or search folders based on them, and marking them
as junk mail.
Most of the e-mail-related actions you want to perform are
listed in the Actions menu in the menu bar. The most frequently
used ones, like Reply and Forward, also appear as buttons in the
toolbar. Most of them are also located in the right-click menu and
as keyboard shortcuts.
4.2.4 The Calendar
To begin using the calendar, click Calendar in the shortcut
bar. By default, the calendar shows today’s schedule on
a ruled background. At the upper right, there’s a monthly
calendar you can use to switch days. Below that, there’s
a Task list, where you can keep a list of tasks separate from your calendar
The appointment list displays all your scheduled appointments.
The month pane is a small view of a calendar month. To display
additional months, drag the column border to the left. You can also
select a range of days in the month pane to display a custom range
of days in the appointment list.
Tasks are distinct from appointments because they generally
don’t have times associated with them. You can see a larger
view of your task list by clicking Tasks in the shortcut bar.