Apple’s default mail client is a favorite of many OSX users. With its simple, clean interface and built-in integration with apps like Calendar and Contacts, it really is a great solution for email. Most people just use the surface features of Mail.app and are completely happy with it. There are some people, however, that would like a little more functionality.
As with many other Apple products, Mail.app hides a lot of usefulness just under the surface. Below are 5 tips to make Mail.app an awesome email client so you can dive a little deeper and get more done.
Send Attachments Like A Champion
If you commonly send attachments via email, you can accomplish this a lot easier by simply dragging the file you wish to attach over the mail icon.
This will start a new email message from your default account with the file already attached. There’s no need to open a new message the drag the attachment into the email. While not a huge timesaver, if you attach files often, it’s a step skipped each time.
Extend Your Creativity with Stationary
This opens up the Stationary pane. Just choose the stationary you wish to use and fill out the editable items. There are a good bit of different choices here, so pick the one that fits what you are doing the best and fill in your personal information. This can help the vacation pictures that you send your friends look a lot better than a just few attachments to a blank email.
Un-Default the Default View Settings
You can easily change the default view settings inside of Mail.app to give it a much more personal feel. When you first start using Mail, the view can be a little too clean and somewhat difficult to use. You can change this by showing the sidebar. Click the View menu, then Show mailbox list. Do the same to hide the menu.
Want to use the toolbar but would like other options in it? Right-click anywhere in the toolbar and choose Customize Toolbar to add and subtract items. Just drag and drop items back and forth until you have the interface you want.
Favorites – The Favorites bar can be your best friend. You can add items to your Favorites by dragging them into the bar. Removing items is just as easy. Drag items out and they’ll disappear in a puff of smoke. Hitting the Command+1, 2, and so on..buttons can access your favorites items in order. For example, Command+3 in the image above would access Flagged messages.
Follow The Rules
Setting up mail rules is a great way to automate actions that you complete on a regular basis. If you need to make sure emails from your boss get attention but that the forwards of Snopes articles from your mother get archived, you can set up rules that will get this done without you lifting a finger.
Open up Mail’s Preferences window and click on Rules. Here, you’ll see a list of rules already in place, if any.
Next, click Add Rule to get started on a rule of your own. Let’s say you want all emails from your mom that contain the word “Snopes” in the contents of the email to be marked as read and moved to your Archives folder. Using the rules below you can achieve this. Just click the plus sign to add more conditions and actions.
TIP: Conditions are what trigger the rule, and actions are what happens once the rule is triggered. For conditions, you can set ALL the listed conditions to be necessary, or ANY. These are very different so pay attention when setting up your rule.
When you’re customizing your toolbar, a great button to add is the Redirect button. This awesome little button will help you whenever you need to forward an email but no longer want to see the replies or be attached to the email.
To use this feature, select the message you want redirected and click the button. Next, enter the email address of the person you want to redirect to, and when the new person receives the email, it will appear to have come from the original sender, thus takes you out of the loop and saveing you from getting stuck in a reply chain that doesn’t matter to you.
This is just a small sampling of the many tweaks and hacks you can do to make Mail.app an awesome email client. Look around in the menus and toolbars mentioned in this post to find even more ways to alter Mail.app to work how you want it to. Have a great trick not mentioned here? Leave it in the comments for everyone else to see.