What is a Manuscript mailbox?

Manuscript uses mailboxes in order to automatically turn incoming emails into cases. Mailboxes can be used to handle customer support email through Manuscript, or you can use them to allow for submitting quick and easy bug reports.

Each Manuscript mailbox corresponds to one incoming POP3, IMAP, or EWS mailbox where Manuscript receives mail. Manuscript provides one email account to get you started, but to add more you will need to add your own email accounts in your email system. You can set up as many mailboxes as you want; for example, you could set up support@example.com, along with suggestions@example.com and bugs@example.com.

When using POP3 and EWS, Manuscript deletes messages off the mail server after downloading them, unless the server is configured to preserve a copy of the message. (Gmail, for example, is set to preserve a copy of the message by default.) With IMAP, Manuscript only downloads unread messages from the Inbox of the IMAP account (not other folders) and marks them read afterward. If you enable the option in Manuscript, it also deletes them from the IMAP account.

If you use Manuscript, hosted by Fog Creek Software, we’ve set up a single mailbox for you automatically on our own server. Incoming messages can be sent to cases@xxx.manuscript.com, where xxx is your custom URL. You can also set up your own mailboxes.

Every Mailbox that you set up also expands the email addresses available as the “from” address when sending outgoing mail from Manuscript.

 

Configuring a new Mailbox

To configure a mailbox, log on as a Manuscript administrator and choose Admin | Mailboxes.

Basically, you’ll need to configure where Manuscript should get the email from, and then what Manuscript should do with the email once it gets it.

Connecting Manuscript to the Email Account

In order for Manuscript to collect email from an email address, you will need to provide the following information:

Email address

The full email address of the mailbox, for example, support@example.com. This is used as the “from address” when Manuscript sends outgoing email.

Full name

The full name that will appear in the “from address” when replying to email from this mailbox, for example, Customer Service.

When you are replying to incoming email, you get a choice of using this name if you wish to remain anonymous, or you can use your own full name.

The next four settings are required unless you are configuring the Manuscript default mailbox:

Account name

The log-in account on the POP3/IMAP mail server.

Password

The login password on the POP3/IMAP mail server. Manuscript will use the account name and this password to log in and retrieve the email, just as any other mail client.

Protocol

Select the type of mailbox. Manuscript supports POP3 and IMAP. For IMAP, choose whether you would like messages deleted from the server after they are downloaded or only marked as read. Note: Manuscript only downloads unread messages in the Inbox of the account when set to IMAP.

Mail Server (POP and IMAP Only)

The DNS name or IP address of the POP3/IMAP mail server.

Port (POP and IMAP Only)

The TCP port for the POP3 or IMAP service. For POP3, this is almost always 110 unless you’re using secure POP3, which is almost always 995. For IMAP, this is typically 143 or 993 for secure IMAP.

Aliases

A comma separated list of any other email addresses which forward to this mailbox. This allows Manuscript to recognize these addresses as pointing back into Manuscript, and thus not send extraneous email to them.

 

Processing Incoming Emails

Now that we have all of the connection information in place to gather new emails, we need to tell Manuscript what to do with the incoming emails! The following configuration options are available for this purpose:

Reply Automatically

Allows you to decide if users should receive an immediate automatic reply when they send a request into this mailbox. Manuscript will only auto-reply to an email which creates a new case. It will not auto-reply to follow-up emails on an existing case, or to messages categorized as spam. Learn more about automatic replies. Note that this is the only email that Manuscript will ever send without explicit action from a Manuscript user. Some other systems send emails automatically on resolution or closure of the case, but we find that these can often cause more confusion than they prevent.

Due

To insure that email is responded to promptly, Manuscript can automatically set a due date for every mail message that comes in to a new case, or reactivates a closed case. Open cases will not have their due date changed: this is to prevent a case that still needs work from being “punted” to a later time. There’s still work due!

When you set a due date, you can set it in absolute time, e.g. 4 hours. But realistically, unless you provide 24×7 customer service, you’ll probably want to set due dates in working hours or days. Any Administrator user can define your hours of business as well as any holidays by editing the Working Schedule.

For example:

  • Your office hours are 9-5 Monday through Friday, and you strive to reply to customer email within 4 working hours.
  • If a message comes in at 4:00 pm on Friday, it will be due at 12:00 noon on Monday, because that is 4 working hours later.
  • If Monday is a company holiday, that message would be due at 12:00 noon on Tuesday.

Sort Messages

Manuscript can sort messages automatically, including spam removal. Learn more about Manuscript AutoSort.

Message Template

Set up a signature that will be automatically inserted at the bottom of every reply you send in this mailbox. In addition to the special variables provided by Automatic Replies, you can also include the current user’s name with {username} and personal email with {useremail}.

Delete spam after

To avoid spam filling up your Manuscript database, any message which is either resolved as SPAM or moved into the Spam area will be permanently and irrevocably deleted after the number of days you set here (defaults to 7). If you don’t want to delete spam leave this blank.

Deleting old spam is handled nightly by the Manuscript Maintenance Service.

Delete inquiries after

If you do not wish to keep a permanent record of incoming email, you can set up Manuscript to delete the complete case history of all closed inquiries after a certain number of days. Keep in mind that the term “Inquiries” here refers to one of the built-in categories that a case can belong to (the others being Bug, Feature, and Schedule Item).

Deleting old inquiries is handled nightly by the Manuscript Maintenance Service.

Mailbox Problems

If Manuscript is not checking your mailboxes successfully, see this debugging guide.