In my previous article on the excellent Spark email app I covered much of the intuitive interface, how to interact and use the application. In this installment I want to go over some of the Preferences. Let’s take a look at ways to setup Spark for your workflow.
I am not going to cover every possible setting here. I just want to go over the main Preferences. Since Spark is FREE (so far), the best way for you to do this is to install the app and experiment with the Preferences like I have.
The Preferences area is pretty straight forward. In the “General” area you have this window:
You can change several settings in this area. I want to emphasize two things here. First, you can sync your Spark app with iCloud. You need to do this if you want your iPad version of Spark to be the same as your Mac. Second, if you click on the “Configure” button at the bottom of the window you can setup your “Swipe Actions” to your liking:
You can change the order of the “Swipe Actions”, subtract and add them as well.
Next up is the Accounts area. There are several things to take note of here:
The email accounts are listed in the small window to the left. I have blocked mine out of course. You can assign a default account. Also, you can setup how you want your Notifications to work. I find it annoying to be notified for every email I get so I set it up “mute strangers and automated messages.” Pay attention to how you name your accounts. If you use the “Quick Reply” feature it uses this name in Accounts.
I have covered this somewhat in my first article. You can turn some items off and on in here:
If you click on one of the Cards (Personal, Notifications, etc) your email accounts are listed in the window to the right:
You can then click on the “Grouping” popup menu and chose to have emails for that Card listed Per Account, Grouped in that particular category (Card) or just Unified. The app comes set to Per Account. I just set them all to Unified which places all my Personal in one place, Notifications in one place, etc
Spark sets up the default folders. However, you can add all kinds of other folders if you wish:
I like to store some of my emails in specific folders, so I have created several of them. When a certain email arrives that I wish to keep I use the “Move” command to place it in a folder. I have a caveat here. I have tried using the “Smart Folders” feature in Spark with varied success. Either I don’t know how to use smart folders very well or this feature is kind of hit and miss. I just could not get it to sort emails accurately enough. So, for now I use the “Move” command with various emails. I should mention here, some type of rules capability would be fantastic. I will go in to that in a bit.
In this Preference area you can setup how Spark handles your Snoozed emails:
I have not used the Snooze command too much so I have not delved into this area in the Preferences. There does seem to be quite a bit of flexibility.
I love this feature! If you get a lot of email, using a Quick Reply is a real time saver:
There are always emails that fall through the cracks. You know you should respond to be polite, but you just don’t have time. Enter Quick Replies to the rescue. They work great.
Spark has different ways to use keyboard shortcuts. You can use the Spark shortcuts, use shortcuts from Mail or Gmail or make a Custom Set:
I don’t use many shortcuts when interacting with email so I left it at the default Spark setting. You can chose one of the other defaults or make shortcuts that suit your workflow.
That concludes my coverage of the Spark Preferences. I did not go over them all. Hopefully I covered enough for you to get a feel for the application. I wanted to mention some overall thoughts about the Spark Email App. This is a great application for email. It is very intuitive and easy to use. It has helped me manage my email workflow, which is moderately heavy, much more efficiently.
The idea behind Spark is an email app that is intuitive, but not complicated. I think Readdle has accomplished that very nicely. However, I think there is room for more sophisticated settings without losing the ease-of-use of this app. Specifically, I would love to see some sort of rules (filters?) capability. I think that could be implemented in the Preferences area without interfering with the very intuitive Spark interface. Keep in mind this is a 1.0 release. I am hoping for a Rules feature and a few other things in future releases. We will just have to wait and see. According to the Spark website, they are already working on version 2.0. I can’t wait to see it.
Readdle has really hit the nail on the email head with their Spark app. I highly recommend it. I am sure it will only get better and better. I would definitely be willing to pay $ for this app!