In the seven years since its inception, Zimbra’s email collaboration suite has managed to reinvent and resell itself at least thrice. Constantly improving on a popular open-source platform has been its hallmark. Corporate goliaths like Century 21, Bechtel and the University of Pennsylvania are among a long list of its fans.

Zimbra’s success is often attributed to its friendly user interface and wide accessibility. But there’s another little secret that will make your Zimbra account indispensable. Zimlets are essentially Zimbra’s version of Google apps – small Javascript mashups that enhance Zimbra’s email functionality. Hidden in the preferences bar and presented with very little explanation or description, many users gloss over these because they’re out of sight and look technical. Enabling just a few key Zimlets, however, can supercharge your Zimbra account and can make sending business emails much easier and more accurate.

Zimlets need to be enabled by your system administrator for the whole team, but individual users have the power to switch them on and off in their personal portals. Some of the most effective zimlets that we’ve listed below, however, are switched on for most teams by default. Go into the ‘Preferences’ tab in Zimbra’s web portal to see which ones are enabled and available for your Zimbra instance. If you don’t see the one that you’d like to install in your list already, email your administrator to request access.

Let’s start with the basics:

1. Attachment Alert: Some of us have that “Oops, forgot the attachment” email templatized by now. Instead of having to send that, imagine your email client reminding you that you may have forgotten the attachment before you hit send on the email. That’s what this very helpful Zimlet does for you.

2. Undo Send: I once hit “reply all” (instead of forward) on a listserv email that went out to over 150 people. My content was a single sentence: “WTF is she thinking?” The sinking feeling I had as soon as I’d hit send, not to mention the hours spent subsequently dodging the colleague in question, could’ve been avoided with this handy little trick.

The Undo Send Zimlet forces your email to countdown 10 seconds after you hit send and before it actually sends. It allows you to abort the send and go back to the draft at any time during those 10 seconds, and doesn’t hold you hostage on the draft page the whole time. It’s the kind of review you wish someone had forced you to do when you proudly finished that SAT exam 1 hour before everyone else.

Now, the fun stuff:

3. RSS Feeds: Why spend time setting up and logging into a third party app for your news when Zimbra does it for you? The RSS feed app collects listserv emails and news feeds from your designated favorite websites, and puts them on the same page as your inbox. While the RSS feed emails remain in a separate folder from everything else, they can be included in your searches and often bring up interesting stories that are highly relevant to whatever you were just about to draft. It saves you time having to navigate through the web and makes your inbox more efficient by filtering out news emails into a different folder.

4. Salesforce: The cornerstone of any strong business communication effort is an up-to-date CRM. Power users likely already Bcc: all emails to their Salesforce accounts to keep them up to date. However, Salesforce’s dedicated zimlet for Zimbra makes it even easier to integrate email with your CRM data. The zimlet adds a bar above all incoming emails that highlights any Salesforce information within the email itself. You can add notes to the Salesforce account directly from your inbox or mail compose screen. You can also quickly link to edit or clone information in a Salesforce entry from your inbox. And the Send & Add button in your mail compose will make all that Bcc:ing obsolete.

5. Multi-Timezones: This zimlet allows you to view multiple time zones when a scheduling a meeting in your calendar. This is kind of a no-brainer when you want to avoid taxing your brain with all that time zone math. Oh, and it helps ensure that you don’t miss meetings that weren’t originally scheduled from your time zone.