Ten Add-Ons for Apple’s Mail Application

Do you use Apple’s Mail application on your Mac? It’s a capable email application. One of its best features the ability to extended its functionality using plug-ins. These plug-ins let you customize Mail so it can better meet your preferences and needs. Here’s a list of 10 plug-ins for Mail that’ll let you increase your productivity.

MsgFiler lets you quickly file email messages into one of your existing Mailboxes (aka folders). Using either a menu command or a keyboard shortcut you can file a message into a folder. Simply type the first few characters of the mailbox’s name and select the desired mailbox from the list of matches.

GrowlMail temporarily displays a small notification window on your screen every time a new email message arrives. By glancing at this notification you can monitor your Inbox while you’re working in another application. [Update March 2013: This functionality has now been included in Mountain Lion, OS X version 10.8, as a part of the Notifications feature.]

SpamSieve offers better spam protection than Mail’s built-in junk mail filter. It accomplishes this by using Bayesian filtering methods. It requires some initial training, but it’s very effective.

MailAct-On is an incredibly robust plug-in which lets you use keyboard shortcuts to quickly file, label or flag incoming or outgoing mail messages. That is an over-simplified description of its capabilities. This video introduction and video review will give you a more complete understanding of it’s capabilities.

MailTags let’s you assign keywords, priorities, categories and due dates to actions mentioned in an email. It lets you escape the constraints of folders by allowing you to organize and find your messages by keyword or other metadata that you’ve assigned. Made by the same developers, Mail Act-On and MailTags can be used together or separately.

WideMail reconfigures Mail’s layout. It moves the message preview area from below the list of messages to the right of it. This layout uses your screen’s space more efficiently. Apple realized this layout was very popular, so they made it the standard layout in Mail 5.0, which comes with Lion, Mac OS X 10.7. [Update Sept 2014: Widemail is no longer available since this layout is now a standard part of OS X.]

Attachment Tamer gives you control over Mail’s handling of attachments that you send. Be default, Mail will display an attachment, such as an image, in the body of the email that you’re composing. Attachment Tamer lets you change this behavior and send the image as a regular attachment instead.

MessageFont lets you set Mail’s default font when you reply to or compose a new email message. Mail’s preferences appears to let you set the default font, but this affects only what you see, not what the recipient sees. MessageFont changes which font is seen by the recipient.

MissingAttachments scans an email message and notifies you if you have referred to an attachment, but forgotten to attach a file. Unfortunately this plug in hasn’t been updated to work with recent versions of Mail.

MailUnreadStatusBar displays an icon to the upper right corner of your screen which lists the number of unread email messages you have. You can customize it to track multiple folders. Its icon then displays a menu listing the unread message count for each selected folder and lets you go directly to any of the listed folders.

In my opinion, these are some of the best plug-ins for Mail.


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