Unlocking Apple Mail Hidden Features

Unlocking Apple Mail Hidden Features

Mac OS X Mail

Since the beginning of Mac OS X Mail has been a prepackaged along with the operating system. Apple Mail has had to compete with Eudora, Thunderbird and Microsoft’s Entourage. Mail is more than just an email program allowing you to send and receive, you can manage and track messages, guard against spam and even create Smart Folders that automatically organize your mail. Mac OS X Mail also utilizes Spotlight technology so you can find your email messages instantly and accurately. Since its early appearance Mail has become more powerful being coupled with MobileMe and allowing plug-ins from third-party developers. Here are some helpful tips for you to unlock some of Apple Mail’s Hidden Features.

Column Views in Apple Mail
WideMail 0.5.1 is a widescreen Apple Mail Plugin that allows for column views. The most recent version is only Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatible. Dane Harnett is working on a new version for Snow Leopard and you can keep tabs on the release at his site www.daneharnett.com. Click here to download WideMail-0.5.1.dmg.zip (1.2 MB). Once downloaded simply launch the “WideMail Installer” inside the Disk Image (DMG) to install/upgrade. Be sure to sign up to get Dane Harnett’s RSS feed to find out about new releases. If you have any questions, queries or have found a bug, don’t hesitate to send Dane at email: daneharnettgmail.com.

Got Headers? Show Full Headers in Apple Mail
Most users of Apple Mail don’t realize how full featured it is. Apple has toned it done to simplify the Application for the common users. However you can unlock a lot of features. This is a common feature I use for displaying and forwarding the full headers of a message using the Mail application in Macintosh OS X. With the Mail application open do the following:

  1. 1. Click on the “In” mailbox. You can also do this by selecting Mailbox from the main Menu > Show > In or press Command + 1.
  2. 2. Select the message you want to see the full header information.
  3. 3. From the Main menu select View > Message >> Long Headers or Command+Shift+H.
  4. 4. To forward the message click the Forward button or Select Message > Forward Message ( Command+Shift+F is also an option).
  5. 5. Complete the “To:” address field as well as the subject, then send the message.

Filtering Junk Mail
Gettting a lot of junk mail? Also called “spam” Apple Mail has great Junk Mail features. Junk mail filtering is on by default, but you can modify how Mail deals with your unwanted email after it goes through a little training period. When you first start using Mail the Junk Mail feature is enabled and goes through a “training period”. Messages that are suspect appear in brown text with a little bad icon in your Inbox. If Mail marks something as “junk” that isn’t simply select the Message and click the Not Junk button to help train Mail. If a message comes through that is junk but isn’t marked as “junk”, simply select the message and click the Junk button to help train Mail. To make further changes:

  1. 1. Choose Preferences from the Mail menu.
  2. 2. Click the Junk Mail button to display its settings.
  3. 3. To make certain types of messages exempt from junk mail filtering, select/deselect item check boxes below the line, “The following types of messages are exempt from junk mail filtering.”

Depending on how things are going with training Mail take some time to evaluate how well Mail is flagging your junk mail. If it’s working for you simply, select “Move it to the Junk mailbox (Automatic)” radio button in the Junk Mail pane of Mail preferences. This will create a Junk mailbox along the other mailboxes you have in the left column. Mail will now automatically move junk mail to this mailbox.

Remember to check your Junk mailbox periodically to make sure that you aren’t missing anything important. You can click “Not Junk” on the messages that was mistakenly considered spam.

Searching Mail
If you need to find a certain email message you can search for specific text in any message, mailbox or subject line by using the Search field in Mail. Coupled with Spotlight technology you will be able to find what you are looking for in or out of the Application. To get started:

  1. 1. Type the text that you want to search for, like “cupertino” or “Apple Computer”, in the Search field in the upper-right corner of the Mail window.
  2. 2. Mail displays a list of its search results. Click the All Mailboxes button to display results from all mailboxes, or click on a specific mail box and get all the related messages from it.

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