I depend on Mail quite a bit throughout the day and now that it has MS Exchange support I'm using it for work email too. So therefore it's quite easy to get overwhelmed with the volume of mail that you could be getting if you're even remotely involved in an organization, corporate environment or have a lot of friends that send you lots of
junk stuff. So here are 10 Tips to help you maximize your use of Apple's Mail app.
1. Use Rules to Automatically Deal with incoming Mail
As the old saying goes, out of sight out of mind. Once an email drifts down beyond the scroll line for me there's a good chance that I'll forget all about it. At least if it goes into a folder structure, I'll be reminded of what's important and what's not. You can setup as many folders (ie. Mailboxes) "On My Mac" as you need. You can then setup Rules to deal with the bulk of the email you get. For example, I have a folder called "From the Boss". Any emails I get from her automatically go into that folder. That way I won't have to sift through tons of other email to look for that one with the details of the report I was supposed to be working on.
2. Use IMAP instead of POP email
Not all email providers support IMAP, but if you have more than one computer or device that you check email on, you definitely should investigate getting an email account on a service that supports IMAP. For example, MobileMe and GMail are IMAP based. This means that when you check your email on one device, it's marked read on all your other devices. If you move it to a folder, it's moved. So you don't end up getting the same email to have to click through on every computer you use. Also with IMAP you can have folders that reside on the server too. This way if you do read an email and file it, you can you still retrieve it on any computer or device such as in iPhone or iPod touch.
3. Use the Photo Browser
If you use iPhoto to store pictures, there's no reason to launch iPhoto just to email one of the pics you have there. Just bring up the Photo Browser from the Window menu and you'll have access to your entire library without iPhoto even being open. (thanks Macworld). You can also click the Photo Browser button on the New Message window. Probably more useful that way.
4. See just your unread mail from all of your accounts
I have several email accounts in Mail. Although there is one unified Inbox, I want the option of just seeing ONLY Unread messages from all accounts at the same time. So I setup a Smart Mailbox for this. It works great.
5. Turn on BCC
Phyllis did a great job explaining the use of BCC. I still run into people that don't even know what BCC stands for let alone when they would use it or how to turn it on. BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) isn't always on by default in Mail. Bring up the New Message window and use the little popup menu on the left to enable BCC.
6. Use Stationery
Apple has several useful Stationery Templates built-in. These are great when you want to send a greeting and have it look a little nicer than just plain text. Just click the Show Stationery button on the New Message Window. Also check out the Stationery Pack 2 from equinux.
7. Use Redirect
I sometimes get emails that are more appropriate for someone else to handle at work. However, rather than forward the message, I want the message to go to the new person, but when they hit Reply I want the reply to automatically be addressed to the original sender. So I use Redirect instead of Forward.
8. Use Send Again
It never fails. You send an email to a list of people and you forgot to send it to someone that needs it. You don't have to start over. Just go to your Sent items, find the message and hit Send Again from the Message Menu. The message will come up as if you've never sent it and you can then readdress it to the contact or contacts that you want to send it to now.
9. Address Book Photos
I'm a visual guy. It's much quicker for me to identify a person by face than by name. My brain just works faster with images. So I go out of my way to make sure as many of my Contacts in Address Book have Contact Photos associated with them. This way not only does their picture come up when my iPhone rings, but it also appears to the right of the email that I get from them.
10. Use Address Book Groups
I have several groups in Address Book. These come in handy to quickly get to a person or business that I want to call or a group of people that I want to email. So I just start typing the name of the group in the BCC field (yes do it there instead of To:) and the group comes up. I know that the email will go to all of those contacts.
Bonus Tip: Mail a webpage from Safari
One of my favorite Mail/Safari features is the ability to email the current page I'm viewing in Safari right in the body of the email message. Just surf to the page you want to send and hit Command-I on your keyboard while in Safari. The page will be sent over to a New Message in Mail. You can even edit it and delete portions you don't want to send like the ad that appeared at the top of this page.