Before We Get Started
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The Mail application on the Mac is a fairly decent email client, and it has some useful features to keep you organised and on top of the never-ending stream of emails and spam. However, some desirable features are notably absent – but this is where Mail add-ons come into their own. Add-ons provide additional functionality that’s not already present in Mail, such as the ability to assign unique tags to your messages, or to view all of your flagged mails in the main menu bar.
Here are a selection of some of the best Mail add-ons that can help you manage the clutter.
1. Attachment Tamer
Details: Attachment Tamer website
Attachment Tamer provides additional control of mail attachments, and lets you determine how they are displayed and sent. Attachment Tamer lets you to display images, PDF files, audio and video as normal icons, with optional size limits and exception handling. Rather conveniently, it’s also compatible with Outlook and can send images as regular attachments (rather than inline) – so the recipient can deal with them more easily. Images can be embedded in HTML, and you can also mix embedded images with any other attachment and avoid automatic image resizing. All in all, it’s a great add-on that solves some of Apple Mail’s foibles.
Details: SpamSieve website
If you’ve ever thought that Mail mail’s spam filtering wasn’t that great, then try SpamSieve – it’s an intelligent Bayesian spam filtering system that gradually learns what’s considered spam and what’s not. The add-on learns about your email habits and can therefore block nearly all the junk mail you receive (whilst avoiding putting mail you do want in the junk mail folder). There’s also a whitelist option to ensure that messages from your legitimate contacts and any previous correspondents never go into the spam folder. Setup your own complex rules and filters to create spam filters that produce the best results.
SpamSieve can also colour individual messages to indicate how much spam each one contains, and all its activities and decisions are logged so you can change its rules if necessary. This add-on should be one of the essential tools in your arsenal against dreaded spam!
3. MailTags 3
Details: MailTags website
MailTags 3 is the latest version of this innovative Mail add-on, which lets you assign descriptive tags to emails, allowing them to be found and filed away much more easily than possible in Mail. For example, an email could be tagged as “Work” or “Accounts” but kept in its existing folders. There are loads of options and you can even define colours for each tag. Thankfully, MailTags is compatible with Lion in full-screen mode. It’s not free, but at under $30 it’s certainly one of the most useful add-ons for Mail, and it won’t break the budget.
Details: Apple website
FlaggedMails extends Mail’s message flagging functionality, by adding a small icon to your Mac’s main menu bar where you can view all the flagged mails even when Mail is not open. There is no setup necessary – just install the add-on and you’re up and running.
5. Attachments Menu
Details: Attachments Menu website
Attachments Menu is displays all your Mail attachments in the Mac’s main menu bar so they can be accessed from anywhere. It tracks every message with attachments and lets you access them quickly. Attachments are also assigned to different categories, and you can just click any attachment to open the original message. Attachments Menu costs just $10 and can be downloaded from their website.
Details: MailHub website
MailHub aims to revolutionise the way email is managed, and presents dozens of new ways to manage your email workflow. For example, it automatically suggests where to file each mail based on previous mail activity. You can also file away and delete mails by thread or sender, or even auto-file emails to its parent mailbox. Reminders are tightly integrated – just set a reminder for each mail and preview any changes before accepting them. MailHub is a great add-on – if only Mail had these features already built in!
7. Got Mail
Details: Apple website
Got Mail is a very simple application that gives you a new option in the menu bar, that lets you know instantly how many mails are in your inbox. This kind of app is useful when you’re busy working on something and don’t want to switch your attention to Mail – but still enables you to keep track of incoming messages so you can deal with them accordingly.