How to Select Multiple Messages in Mac Mail

Use these methods to handle multiple messages at the same time

What to Know

  • To select emails in continuous order, select the first message you want. Then hold the Shift key and select the last message in the group.
  • To add or subtract emails from a range, with emails selected, hold down the Command key then select the message to add or subtract.
  • To select emails that aren't contiguous, press and hold Command while selecting emails with your mouse.

This article explains how to select multiple messages in Mac Mail. Instructions apply to macOS 10.15 (Catalina) to 10.7 (Lion).

Ways to Select Multiple Emails in Mac Mail

Your Apple Mail account can quickly get out of hand if you don't read, sort, filter, delete, save, or print some of your emails in an effort to keep up with your correspondence. You can handle one email at a time, but your productivity improves exponentially when you deal with a selection of emails at the same time.

Use one of several approaches to collect a range or combination of messages in the Mac Mail application to forward more than one message at once, save them to a file, send a couple to the printer, or quickly delete them.

How to Select Multiple Emails That Are Not in Continuous Order

  1. Open the Mail application on your Mac by clicking the Mail icon in the Dock.

    The Mail application icon in the Mac Dock
  2. Click the first message as part of the group.

    Selecting an email on the Mac Mail application
  3. Press and hold the Shift key.

  4. While holding the Shift key, click the last message in the range.

    A selection of several email in the Mac Mail application
  5. Release the Shift key.

All the emails between the first and last message you chose are highlighted, indicating that they are selected. You can move, filter, trash, print, or take another action on them all at once.

How to Add to or Subtract Individual Emails From a Range

  1. With a selection of emails already made in the Mail application, hold down the Command key.

  2. While holding down the Command key, click an unchosen message to add it to the selected range.

  3. While holding down the Command key, click a message that is already in the selection to remove it from the range

Using the Command key triggers the opposite selection. In other words, if you use the key on an email that's already selected, it is deselected. The same holds true for emails not currently selected; the Command key selects them.

How to Select Multiple Emails That Aren't in Contiguous Order

The emails you want to select won't always be in continuous order. They may be interspersed randomly among many others. To make a selection of emails that are not in continuous order, click one email to select it and then hold down the Command key while clicking on additional messages interspersed throughout the list of emails.

Contiguous emails selected in the Mac Mail application

Using Search in Mail

If you have an enormous backlog of emails, using the search function in Mail to find the emails you want might be quicker. You can then use Command+A to select all the emails from the search result or use the Command key to select only some of them.

  1. Type a search term—sender name, subject, or text entry—in the Mail Search bar. Press Command+A to select all the messages in the search results.

  2. If you want to select only some of the entries in the search results, click and hold the first message in the list that you want to select and drag the mouse pointer down or up to select the desired messages.

  3. You can also Command-click to select messages at random to add to or remove from the selection.

Whichever method you use to select messages in the Mail application, you can treat them as one as you file, print, delete, or perform another action.

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