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Roundcube Interface and Email Messaging Features

Introduction 

Roundcube is an interface that allows users to efficiently manage email messaging. In this article, we will familiarize ourselves with the functions of this interface.

We will insist on the use of filters, because they are particularly useful: they allow you to automatically class messages with defined attributes in folders previously created according to their sender, subject, content, etc., and to find them more easily afterwards. They also allow other operations, such as sending a copy of received messages to another e-mail address, redirecting messages to another address, automatically replying to received messages with an autoresponder, etc.

Note : The PlanetHoster Glossary contains explanations on multiple topics and can be consulted to clarify certain terms.

Prerequisites 

How to log in to Roundcube :

  1. Go to Messaging:
  1. Click on the Webmail login icon.    
  2. Fill in the Username (i.e. Account@Domain) and Password fields and click on the LOGIN button. 

General description of the interface 

The interface is divided into 2 main windows: the icons activating the functionalities (surrounded by red solid lines on the left), and the functionalities processing area (surrounded by red dotted lines).

Here are the roles of each icon :

Email Writing Interface

  1. Subject of the message. 
  2. Body of the message. 

Folder Creation and Manual Filing of Messages

Filing messages into folders is a good practice for email management. To create a folder: 

  1. Click on the Mail icon, then click on the Folder actions… button. 
  2. Choose Manage Folders.
  1. Click on the Create button. 
  2. Enter a name for the folder in the Folder name field. 
  3. In the Parent folder field, use the drop-down list to specify the folder where the newly created folder will be stored. 
  4. Set whether the folder will be displayed as List or Threads1 with the List view mode drop-down list. 
  5. Click on the Save button to complete the folder creation.

Searching Messages

  1. Select the Mail icon
  2. Click on the Options button (arrow).

Roundcube offers some tools by default that allow you to limit the search results to only a few emails, depending on the text typed in the Search… field. For example, if you want to display all emails sent to a certain recipient, you can write his name in the Search… field and select To, then launch the search by clicking the Search button.

Searches can be refined by filtering messages using the Type (attribute characterizing the processing status of the message such as All, Unread, Deleted, etc.), Date and Scope (folder where messages are filed) drop-down lists.

Filter Creation Form 

Searching for specific emails quickly becomes tedious as they accumulate. By specifying their common characteristics using filters, it becomes possible to automatically process emails as soon as they are received by classifying them or processing them in various ways, which helps to find them more easily later on.

It is possible to filter your email for a single word or phrase, but Roundcube also includes a number of built-in sorting filters.

Creating a Saved Filter 

CAUTION: Only one filter can be active at a time, since some filters may be incompatible with each other and cause inconsistencies in the processing of messages.

CAUTION: It is impossible for the moment to run filters for messages that were received before the filter was created. 

To create a saved filter:

  1. Click on the Settings icon. 
  2. Choose Filters
  3. Click on the Create button. 
  4. Give your filter a name in the Filter name field. 
  5. If the filter is deemed operational, you can activate it by clicking on the Filter enabled button. If it is not operational and you want to keep it anyway, simply disable it.
  1. Use the Scope drop-down list to define whether the filter applies only to emails that comply to all the rules associated with the filter or whether it applies to at least one of these rules (select all messages if there are no rules associated with the filter — please read the Redirecting Emails with a Filter in Roundcube article for more details). 
  2. Under Rules, specify the variables that incoming messages must meet in order for the action in step 8 to be executed.
RulesDefinition
SubjectSubject of the email.
ToName of recipient.
FromName of sender.
BodyBody of the email.
SizeSize of the email file. It is possible to define the logical condition in various units: B (bytes), KB (kilobytes), MB (mégabytes) and GB (Gigabytes)
DateChosen date.
Current DateDate of email reception.
StringAllows you to fiter a string of emails.
MessageAllows you to filter emails that are duplicates or those that are not.
  1. Under Actions, set up the automatic instructions for classifying filtered messages on reception in folders that meet the rules stated in step 7:
ActionDefinition
Move message toChoose the folder in which the incoming email will be stored.  The folder must have been created beforehand.
Copy message toChoose the folder in which the incoming email will be copied (a copy will be kept in the Inbox).
Redirect message toDefine the name of the recipient to whom the incoming email should be automatically redirected.
Send message copy toDefine the name of the recipient to whom the incoming email should be automatically copied.
Discard with messageEnter the reason why the email will be automatically rejected. Caution: use with caution to avoid triggering endless exchanges of self-replying e-mails
Reply with messageJustify an absence and send an automatic reply to the sender of the incoming email. Fill in the requested fields: body of the email (reason for absence), subject, email address of the sender to whom the reply email is addressed, incoming email addresses to which the action applies and frequency of email sending (days).
Delete messageDefine the rules that ensure that certain emails are systematically deleted.
Set flags to the messageDefine the existing flags to be used for emails from a given filter.
Add flags to the messageList the flags to be added to filtered incoming emails. If a filter was previously applied to the message, the absence of a filter here will not overwrite the previous message.
Remove flags from the messageSet the existing flags to be removed for emails from a given filter.
Set variableNOTE :  The meaning of this action is poorly documented by the designers of Roundcube. Therefore, its definition should be read with the usual caveats.
Define a filter variable that obeys certain rules. Give it a name and the value of the variable, specifying the modifiers. For example, here, the variable called “Shift” checks whether the subject of an incoming message has an uppercase T as its first character and, if this is the case, the message is moved to Folder 1
Send notificationDefine, in the notification target, the email of the person who should receive the notification when filtered emails are received.
Keep message in inboxDirect an incoming message to the inbox if an already defined rule could have potentially directed it elsewhere.
Stop evaluating rulesInterrupt the consultation of the rules.
  1. Click on the Save button to save the filter. 
  2. Make sure that all other filters are disabled:

Advanced Options in the Creation of Saved Filters2

Some options allow you to be even more precise in the filtering of emails. 

  1. Click on the Advanced options icon (gear). 
  2. Choose the applicable options from the drop-down lists:
  1. Use the Add button to create as many rules as you want. 
  2. Use the Delete button to remove as many rules as you want. 

The advanced filter options depend on the selected Rule

Definition of modifiers 

  • address: If you want to automatically process emails from a specific correspondent, enter the email address of this sender by creating the rule in the “From“, “To“, etc. field of the filter creation form. 
  • envelope: filtering that runs only on the subject of the email and not on its content. 
  • none: choose if no address or no envelope is used. 

Definition of each type 

This option is displayed when an “address” or “envelope” type comparator is chosen.

  • all: select this choice to filter messages sent to more than one recipient. 
  • domain: server address, identifying the company hosting the mailbox (which provides the email exchange service). (e.g.: MyAdress@MyDomainName.com). 
  • local part: usually identifies a person in the email address (e.g.: MyAdress@MyDomainName.com). 
  • user sometimes referred to as “username” or “login”: the name of the Roundcube user. 
  • detail: text used in the domain, local part, or user, as appropriate. 

Definition of each comparator 

  • strict (byte): the filter contains strings in bytes that are not part of ASCII. 
  • case-insensitive (ascii-casemap): the filter does not respect uppercase or lowercase characters. 
  • numeric (ascii-numeric): ASCII numeric code of a letter or number. 

MIME Part Definitions

The MIME part is used to specify whether the message in the email or the entire email (everything) is written in a different coding than ASCII3. The syntax is type/subtype (e.g. image/jpeg). 

TypeDescriptionExample of sub-type commonly associated
textRepresents any document containing text and that is theoretically a readable format for the user.Text/plain, text/html, text/css, text/javascript
imageRepresents any image (except videos). Animated images such as GIFs are part of this type.Image/gif, image/png, image/jpeg, image/bmp, image/webp
audioRepresents any audio file.Audio/midi, audio/mpeg, audio/webn, audio/ogg, audio/wav
videoRepresents any video file.Video/webm, video/ogg
applicationRepresents any binary data.Application/byte-stream, application/pkcs12, application/vnd.mspowerpoing, application/xhtml+xml, application/xml, application/pdf

MIME Field Definitions

  • : choose the dash if the whole email is written in a different coding than ASCII.
  • content-type: to type the entire category of a document in the index, such as text/javascript
  • type: to define in the index what precedes the / symbol, as in text/plain.
  • subtype: to define in the index what follows the / symbol, as in text/plain.
  • parameter: to write in the index the type or subtype you are looking for.

Definition of the index 

Enter the indexing term that will be associated with Roundcube. 

Create a Filter Based on an Existing Email 

Roundcube also makes it easy to create a filter with the same attributes as a given email. 

  1. Select the starting email. 
  2. Click on More
  3. Click on Create filter.
  1. Choose the criteria in the New filter form.
  2. Click on the Next Step button:
  1. Fill in the information requested in the New filter form and save the filter:

Activating Filter Sets    

To make sure that all your filters will be functional or not, click on Actions and select Enable/disable filter set:

A message confirming that the filter set has been successfully activated will be displayed.


1 Listing of emails by thread, in other words, by groupings of messages on a specific subject.  

2 Since Roundcube is developed in open code, official documentation is limited, especially since the tool is constantly evolving. Additional verifications will be required with Roundcube regarding the advanced filter options, so their description here may contain errors. 

3 As it is necessary to exchange, in addition to ASCII text files, binary files (format of office applications, images, sounds, compressed files), the MIME type (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is a standard for indicating the nature and format of a document. It extends the data format of e-mails to support text in different non-ASCII character encodings, non-text content, multiple content, and header information. It is defined within RFC 6838. A comprehensive list is maintained on the IANA Media Types page. The following five Request for Commands (RFCs) are used: RFC 2045, RFC 2046, RFC 2047, RFC 2048, and RFC 2049.  

Updated on March 30, 2022

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