ClearContext Personal Makes Outlook More Productive

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ClearContext Personal, an add-in for Outlook (s msft), wants to help make your inbox time more productive. It automatically files unimportant emails, like social network notifications, newsletters, e-commerce emails, and other automated “bacn”, into categorized groups, taking it out of your inbox. It’s all done completely automatically, with no need to set up complex inbox rules.

Auto-filed emails can be accessed via a sidebar in Outlook; you can scan through a category, and mark all the emails as read or delete them with a single click. You can also teach ClearContext to file other types of email by dragging them from your inbox to the appropriate category; future emails will then be filed automatically.

To make sure that you don’t miss anything important, once per day you’ll be sent a daily digest email that lists all of the emails auto-filed that day, together with some statistics about your email usage.

ClearContext Personal will also help you pick out the more important emails in your inbox; emails from known senders are highlighted in green, while emails from important senders are highlighted in red. This is a bit like Gmail’s (s goog) Priority Inbox; ClearContext automatically tries to figure out who your most important contacts are during its setup, and you can also mark senders as important manually using a button on the toolbar.

ClearContext Personal is available as a free download (.exe) for Windows 7, Vista or XP, and Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010.

Note: Although I had early access to ClearContext Personal, I haven’t been able to test out how effective it is. That’s because it doesn’t support IMAP, only POP and Exchange Mail. When I asked ClearContext about this, the company said that the number of Outlook users using IMAP was very small — in the single digit percentages — and it had to focus its priorities where the users are. While I’d agree that most corporate Outlook users probably connect using Exchange Mail, many tech-savvy users (the kind of people who would probably appreciate this kind of add-on) will use IMAP to connect to their mail servers; they’re not supported by this release, which is disappointing.

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Count me as one of the people for whom this is useless without IMAP support.

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