Top Mac OS X Mail Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

Quick guide to mastering Mac OS X Mail

A simple name and unpretentious interface cannot fool the connoisseur or the enthusiast — or you. Mail, which comes with Mac OS X, is one powerful email program.

Now, make good use of all that power put at your finger's tips. Let's start with the tips, strategies and tutorials others have found helpful: the most popular Mac OS X Mail tips, tricks and secrets.

Happy senior man with laptop looking up
Hero Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images
If the email address of one of your contacts has changed or if you want to remove an email address from the auto-complete list in Mac OS X Mail for another reason, here's how to undo a bit of history.
Know where to look when you want to back up your Mac OS X Mail mailboxes. Here's (how to find out) where Mac OS X Mail stores your emails.
Collect all members of your sales team, your soccer team or any other group in a Mac OS X Address Book mailing list so you can email them all at once and with ease.

Have you ever wondered what happened to an email you sent? In Mac OS X Mail, you can request a read receipt for all messages and get notified when your mail is opened.

Fetch and read and reply to Hotmail messages from within Mac OS X Mail.
Get rid of annoying mail in Mac OS X Mail by blocking and trashing all messages from certain senders automatically.
Carbon copy your messages blindly with Mac OS X Mail and send copies of emails to recipients who remain anonymous to all others.

Prefer the speed and power of OS X Mail to Gmail on the web? Would like a backup of the messages in your Gmail account that's functional as an email client as well? Add Gmail as a POP—easily downloading messages—or IMAP account—accessing Gmail labels as folders flexibly.

Mail a group of people in Mac OS X Mail, but so that all the recipient's email addresses are hidden.
Make the account you use most often the default. It's easy as drag and drop in Mac OS X Mail.
See it all. In Mac OS X Mail, looking at the source of an email message is easy.
Choose your favorite font (and adequate size) for composing and reading emails in Mac OS X Mail.
The OS X Address Book application can import Outlook contacts for use in Mac OS X Mail.
Contacts in Mac OS X Mail and contacts in Gmail, updating each other? Here's how to set up Mac OS X Address Book and Google Gmail contact synchronization.
Turn text in your Mac OS X Mail emails into clickable links the way web sites do.
Need your contacts from Mac OS X Mail in CSV format? Here's how to export all your Mac OS X Address Book data to a CSV contacts file.
Insert a text link to your site into your Mac OS X Mail signature — or link images even.

Want images you send to appear in the message text and not just as an attachment? Make sure Mac OS X Mail understands your message contains rich formatting.

Agreed on a date and time via email? Got notification of a special event in a newsletter? Received the detailed travel schedule by mail? In Mac OS X Mail, turning dates and times mentioned in email messages into events in Calendar is easy and fast to do.

Forget text styles. Here's how to insert bulleted or numbered lists as well as tables in your emails with Mac OS X Mail.

You're in Outlook for Mac, everybody else in your Mac OS X Address Book? Here's how to import your Address Book into Outlook for Mac Contacts.

If you want to be quick, delete, print, forward multiple messages at once in Mac OS X Mail. If you want to be real quick, select multiple messages swiftly with your mouse.

After you have typed an email with your keyboard in Mac OS X Mail, here's how to send it using a shortcut on your keyboard, too.

Maybe it even makes Mac OS X Mail faster: here's how to rid the auto-complete list of previous recipients from old and stale entries you haven't used in years.
There is no need to re-invent the same message over and over again. Misuse Mac OS X Mail a bit instead and save messages as templates for later use (over and over again).
If you're ready to let go of the messages in your trash forever, here's how to do it fast and painlessly in Mac OS X Mail.
Mac OS X Mail can automatically mail a copy of every message you send to a particular email address.
Apply your favorite text formatting easily to multiple parts of your emails by copy and paste in Mac OS X Mail.
Reply without moving a finger. Here's how to set up an auto-responder in Mac OS X Mail that generates and sends replies to incoming mail automatically.
Way too many search results? Here's how to use Mac OS X Mail and Spotlight search operators to find just the mail you want fast.

OS X Mail normally inserts attachments inline into the text of your email as you place them. It can also send all files in more traditional a manner, however, at the message's end. Here's how to enable that option.

You can either have Mac OS X Mail download only new messages or get seamless access to all your online AOL folders.

Mac OS X Mail lets you exclude individual email addresses from spam filtering. Here's how to protect all mail from a domain in one swoop, too.

Want some color, choice of font and maybe an image or animation in your Mac OS X Mail email signature?
Different accounts, different needs, different signatures. Mac OS X Mail can choose the default signature based on which account you use to compose a message.
Find out what causes Mac OS X Mail to display certain PDF file attachments in place while others are only shown as icons.

Mac OS X Mail has dutifully remembered the recipients of all your emails. Here's how you can use that list to build your address book.

Type but one recipient—a group recipient—and have Mac OS X Mail deliver a message to all the group's members.
Alter the way new mail sounds in Mac OS X Mail.
Want to save a folder in Mac OS X Mail or just some messages in a format that many another email program can import? Here's how to export from Mac OS X Mail to mbox files.

Help Mac OS X Mail's spam filter avoid mistakes by telling it who you know — and never to treat messages from these senders as junk.

Want the most recent emails on top or sort by message size? Here's how to change a folder's sort order in Mac OS X Mail.

You have as many email addresses as you want. Here's how to use multiple email addresses with an email account in Mac OS X Mail.
Want to write not on white but on black, blue, yellow, green and just about any other color? Here's how to change the background color of a message you are composing in Mac OS X Mail.
Recipients of blind carbon copies you send are hidden, but you should be able to find out who you bcc:ed. In Mac OS X Mail, you can.
Read your mail more comfortably in larger letters with Mac OS X Mail.
Gmail works seamlessly in OSX Mail using IMAP. The Gmail address book can work just as seamlessly (including automatic synchronization of changes) in OS X Contacts using CardDAV.

More than one email but just a single file on your Mac. Here's how to save multiple messages to one combined text file in Mac OS X Mail.

Make Mac OS X Mail try to send mail through a specify outgoing SMTP mail server first.

Mac OS X Mail lets you decide who (or what) is in the From: line of the messages you send.