How to set up and use Nylas N1 Email Client on Linux

Nylas N1 is a new open source email client that boasts great levels of flexibility, configuration, and expandability. This San Fransisco-made software was built with a strong focus on security, intuitive interface design, and support for all popular platforms.

Note (added by Howtoforge): The Nylas N1 Email Client stores emails and passwords to your Email accounts on the servers of and not on your local desktop. Please take that in account when choosing to use this email client.

Install and set up Nylas N1

First, you need to download the suitable version for your system by visiting the download webpage webpage. You may then install the downloaded package using your distribution's package installer. Ubuntu users may open a terminal in the location of the downloaded file and type the following command: sudo

sudo dpkg -i N1.deb

After the installation is done, and you launch N1 for the first time, you will get a quick set up guide that will help you choose the basic options for the software.

Select the account you want to add to N1. You may choose between a Gmail account, a Yahoo, an Outlook, or simply add an IMAP. I will select the Gmail option, which will open up a new page on the default browser for me to allow N1 to communicate with the online service.

Nylas N1 select an Email account type.

Then I select the layout I want to use, and in the case that I have added multiple accounts, I can also set different layouts for each one.

Nylas N1 select the screen layout.

The third and final step of the guide is a choice to install any of the three most popular official plugins for N1. I will select to install the first two by clicking on the “install” buttons before I finalize the setting up of the email client.

Nylas N1 explore plugins.

Using N1

The interface of the client is clean and modern, and most of the things you can do on the web clients like starring mails, adding labels, and changing categories are there.

Nylas N1 - the interface.

You may select the mails by ticking the boxes on the left, and then apply labels, mark as unread, star/unstar them, or delete them using the actions on the top panel.

Nylas N1 select emails.

If you want to check out the two-panel interface, you can go to “Edit → Preferences → General” and select the two-panel followed by clicking the “Apply Changes” button. This will change the interface to this style:

Nylas N1 preferences.

If you want to add more accounts, you can always do so by going to “Edit → Preferences → Accounts” and clicking on the “plus” icon. You may also choose different keyboard shortcut sets from the “Shortcuts” menu that offers four pre-defined sets based on Gmail, Apple mail, Google Inbox and Outlook. For custom shortcuts, scroll down and hit the “Edit custom shortcuts” button.

Nylas N1 custom shortcuts.

Using Templates

Remember the Templates plugin that I installed during the setup phase? This plugin allows us to use a content composer to respond to emails promptly. Make sure that the plugin is enabled from the “Plugins” menu.

Nylas N1 templates.

Then go to “Edit → Preferences → Quick Replies” and click the “New” to add a template. Write the content and set variables by wrapping them in a set of four curly brackets. Here's a simple example:

Nylas N1 create templates.

Now to use this template, we click the reply button (or write a new mail), and then click on the templates button located on the lower right of the box.

Nylas N1 apply template.

Select the template, and then fill in the variables by cycling between them with Tab.

Nylas N1 template 2.


What N1 adds to the already available open source email clients of today is its modern design and the very simple to use interface. It looks refreshing and it's quite fun to use. If you're looking for an email client that's simple and quick to set up and use, N1 from Nylas team is a really great choice that won't disappoint you.

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21 Comment(s)

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By: Q

Does it still transfers all your emails through the N1 company servers or allows you to connect directly the email client with your account?

By: Bill Toulas

As far as I know, all emails go through N1 company servers (Nylas). The speed with which the changes are reflected between the two (client, webmail) is actually very quick. Security-wise, it's an(other) issue. 

By: Fenisu

Something I believe you fail to mention which is very important, is that this mail client is not a regular mail client. In fact, this program, the N1, is a client for an online service built by Nylas, which happen to be a mail server on steroid used by this program to sync.

So what is happening in reality, is that you allow the company behind N1 to directly access your mail and manage it for you.

There is a server you can download and use to sync the client with, but that's another story and a whole more steps to get it working.

By: Bill Toulas

Well, I allow a company to manage my emails anyway and it's called Google. With N1, it becomes a company inception. :)

By: foxhollow

"Something I believe you fail to mention which is very important, is that this mail client is not a regular mail client. In fact, this program, the N1, is a client for an online service built by Nylas, which happen to be a mail server on steroid used by this program to sync."


Yikes, leaving out that detail makes me mistrust the entire article.

At no point was it pointed out that a 3rd party would have full access to my account. 

Since email userid/password matches my shell userid/password, this leaves your system open for other to browse. At no point does this article warn you of that fact nor does it discuss their security in keeping your passwords away from prying eyes.

By: Bill Toulas

Nylas does encrypt the data of each account. At least that's what they state .Whether you trust them on this or not is another case. 

By: Patrick Millette

Forgot to mention something ? The last thing we need is another online server to store our emails. Very bad idea 

I have my own server, so just concentrate on doing the best email client and let people decide what server they want to use. 

By: Patrick Goetz

Given the lack of transparency in this "article" it seems clear that this is really advertising masquerading as a howto article.  Maybe the mods should remove it?

By: till

This is not a sponsored article. I understand your privacy concerns and we added a note in the article that this email client uses a cloud service to store passwords and access your email accounts.

By: Lieutenant Colonel Olivia South

"you allow the company behind N1 to directly access your mail and manage it for you"

So even if you are using your own private e-mail server at home, it is definitely not a good idea to use this e-mail client if you are a Secretary of State  ;+}

By: M

The fact that by using this software all your emails including the login credentials are stored on a remote server (and in the US, a completely different jurisdiction from Europe non the less, which enables law enforcement to seize your emails without a court order, encrypted or not), would usually merit a huge disclaimer in front of the article. The point that the author displays a rather cavalier attitude towards trusting third parties with his data raises several red flags immediately. Not everyone feels as comfortable potentially giving away access to all their electronic communication to a foreign government that easily.


This makes it pretty clear that the articles on this site are not screened by any kind of editorial process. Maybe many people have just quietly accepted the Zuckerberg doctrine of "the default is open". Whatever it is, at the very least it should still be assumed that users would want to keep their data to themselves.

By: till

We have an editorial process that checks articles for technical correctness. We don't have a policy that forbids articles about using free cloud services on Linux and software that relies on cloud services. I've added a note in the article to make sure that the reader is aware that this Email client (unlike Thunderbird or Kmail) stores data on the servers of it's vendor.

By: jelabarre59

Can't tell how this is any better than something like Thunderbird, which handles mail, newsgroups, etc nice and efficiently.  Have looked at various other email clients, and have yet to see one that can do the job any better than (or often even as well as) Thunderbird.  In addition, when you say "clean and modern", does that mean it looks like those abominations known as "Material Design" or "Metro" (or whatever Apple is calling their own particular fugly implementation of the "FlatUI")?  If so, then I most *definitely* don't want it.

By: karol

What is the LinuxDistro / Theme you are using there, please? I like it. 

By: Andrius Sampaio

Hi, guys. Well, in my case it doesn't work. I'm tryied to sync with my Gmail account, but nothing happened. It's the messange that appears: Nothing to display. What I do?!

Thanks so much!


By: Televators

I'm on Kubuntu 16 x64 and just installed N1 today. I'm having the same issue. It's a bug that several people are experiencing. You can add you details tot he issue on Github if you'd like. Here's the link:

By: fikus

If you send me the code for a FREE year service...c'mon...don't ask for my banking details soon as I try to log in with that very code .

Nah...sorry,just too shady.


By: xiao

 Your desktop is so beautiful.

I want to try it. Please tell me its name? How could I get it?

By: Scott

It looks like ElementaryOS (Linux) the Loki version with the Pantheon Desktop.  :)

By: Pilgrim

Looks good, but...!!! 

I tested this email client for few mounts ago. Just for a while... It is imporant for me to have many accounts in one email client. So I tried to set about 10 email accounts from diferrent servers. This was big fail. My inbox folders are full with Nylas spam messages.

So, you will automatically agree with spam recieving with installation of this email client ...

By: shakib

How to install it in arch linux?