If you only send or receive a few emails, and those are of a trivial nature, even the most basic email client will be more than adequate. However, in general, it doesn't take too long to become reliant on emails for keeping in touch. Under these circumstances, it makes sense to use a versatile client that can be configured to your needs.

In this context The Bat!, which was launched in 1997, and over the years has undergone extensive upgrades, is both easy to use and flexible and thus can meet most user needs. Its multi-pane display makes it easy to view and read emails and then drag and drop them into the appropriate folder. In addition, if desired, its smart sorting office enables filters to be set up to automatically sort messages into the appropriate folder. Other useful features include the ability to "park" messages to prevent their accidental deletion and an internal image viewer that allows viewing of attached images in selected messages.

Version 4 which has just been released in both home and professional versions incorporates a wider range of facilities than previously. Probably most useful is "Address History" which, by using email addresses, enables one to keep track of message streams to/from any correspondent. These may be with friends or relatives or when making arrangements with your bank or insurance company. Having put this to use, I just wonder how I previously managed.

Its security features have been enhanced as has the text editor. Here, while the spell checker dictionaries are incorporated in the Professional Edition of The Bat!, they have to be downloaded separately for the Home Edition.

Moreover, if you are aiming to migrate to Windows Vista, it is claimed to be the "first and only" email client that has been "Certified for Vista" by Microsoft.

However, the registration key that existing users have for The Bat! v3 is accepted by The Bat! v4.0.xx so that they can upgrade and continue to use it at no additional cost. However, later versions of the programme (starting with v4.1) will require an upgraded registration key so that I can only assume that there will be additional features or performance improvements in 4.1. In due course, when it is released, I hope to be able to report on these further enhancements. In both cases there is a 30% discount for existing users who want to upgrade from version 3 to 4.

Article by Adrian Morant

ARP Webbers Newsletter, Spring Edition 2008
An Internet and Computing Newsletter FOR ACTIVE RETIRED PEOPLE