Selecting Multiple Messages in Mac OS X Mail

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Use this guide to learn how to quickly select multiple emails in your Mac Mail program. There are multiple reasons you might want to do this, and knowing how can really speed things up.

You might want to quickly select any range or combination of messages in the Mac OS Mail program to forward more than one message at once, save them to a file, send a couple to the printer, or just get rid of a few emails quickly.

How to Quickly Select Multiple Emails in macOS Mail

If you plan to work with more than one email at once, you first have to select each of them, and there are multiple ways to do this.

To select multiple emails that are in order:

  1. Select the first message that you need to select as part of the group.

  2. Press and hold down on the Shift key.

  3. While still holding the Shift key, choose the last message in the range.

  4. Release the Shift key.

If you want to group together the first five emails, for example, follow the above instructions to select all five of them.

To add or subtract individual emails from that range:

  1. Hold down the Command key.

  2. Individually select each message that should be included or excluded.

To borrow from the above example, you'd use the Command key if you decide to exclude the second email from the list, for example; just use the Command key to select that email to remove it from the selected group.

Another reason is if you need to include an email that's further on down the list, like one that's 10 or 15 emails down. Instead of highlighting all of them using the first steps above, you could just highlight the first five like normal and then go down to the last one you want and use the Command key to include it in the selection.

Using the Command key will trigger the opposite selection. In other words, if you use the key on an email that's already selected, it will become deselected, and the same holds true for emails not currently selected - the Command key will select them.

To add another range of messages to the selection:

  1. Hold down the Command key and then click on the first message of the additional range that you want to include in the already-selected range.

  2. Release the Command key.

  3. Hold down the Shift key and then click on the last message in the range.

  4. Release the Shift key.

This is useful if you've already amassed a selection of emails and then decide that you want to include another group of emails in that selection. It's basically a combination of both of the first two sets of instructions from above - using the Command key to select additional emails but also the Shift key to add a range.

More Information on Selecting Emails on a Mac

It might be quicker to use the search function in Mail to find the emails you want to work with. You can then use Command+A to select all of the emails from the search result.

Here's how to select multiple messages in Mail 1-4:

  1. Click and hold down on the first message in the list that you want to select.

  2. Drag the mouse pointer down (or up if you started with the last message) to select the desired messages.