Corresponding with Mail - Online Communications - Macs All-in-One For Dummies, 4th Edition (2014)

Macs All-in-One For Dummies, 4th Edition (2014)

Book II. Online Communications

Chapter 2. Corresponding with Mail

In This Chapter

arrow Configuring an e-mail account

arrow Writing e-mail

arrow Receiving and reading e-mail

arrow Organizing mailboxes and mail

arrow Cleaning up junk e-mail

Some futurists say that e-mail, like its paper-based predecessor, is being replaced — in this case, by social networks and by text messages exchanged via mobile phones and other handheld devices. No doubt there are examples of a start-up receiving funding after a Facebook exchange. However — for now, anyway — e-mail remains the professional, not to mention private, secure, and trackable, method of electronic communication. E-mail is fast, (almost always) free, and accessible to anyone with a computer, smartphone, tablet, or e-reader and an Internet connection.

When you have an e-mail account, you have two choices for reading and writing messages:

· Through a web browser, such as Safari or Firefox (see the preceding chapter for the lowdown on Safari)

· Through an e-mail application, such as the Mac’s free Mail application

Accessing an e-mail account through a web browser is simple because you don’t need to know how to use another application, and you don’t have to worry about knowing the technical details of your e-mail account. (You do need Internet access, though, to read or respond to messages.)

Accessing an e-mail account through an e-mail application lets you download messages so you can read or respond to them even if you aren’t connected to the Internet. (Of course, you won’t be able to send or receive any messages until you connect to the Internet again.)

If you plan to access your e-mail account only through a browser, such as Safari, you can skip this entire chapter because this chapter explains how to use Mail. If you want to use Mail, read on. In this chapter, we explain how to send and receive e-mail. First, though, we give you a quick review of how to set up an e-mail account. (You can find the full run-down in Book I, Chapter 3.) Then we take you through Mail, the e-mail application that came with your Mac. Mail not only sends and receives messages but is also a veritable filing cabinet for your documents; you can use it to organize and store your correspondence to make later searches easier when you need to find an old “letter” or contract.

Adding an E-Mail Account to Mail

We explain the down and dirty of connecting to the Internet and setting up Internet accounts with all those crazy acronyms like POP, IMAP, DNS, and ISP in Book I, Chapter 3. Here we briefly take you through adding an e-mail account from the Mail app. Before we begin, make sure you have the following information:

· Username (or account name): Typically a descriptive name (such as nickyhutsko) or a collection of numbers and symbols (such as nickyhutsko09). Your username plus the name of your e-mail or Internet Service Provider (ISP) defines your complete e-mail address, such as or

· Password: Any phrase that you choose to access your account. If someone sets up an e-mail account for you, he might have already assigned a password that you can always change later.

If you use one of the common Internet e-mail providers — such as Google, Yahoo!, AOL, or Apple’s own iCloud — that’s all you need. Mail takes care of the rest. And, if you use Apple’s iCloud service and typed your (or account name and password when you completed the Welcome setup process, Mail is already configured to access your icloud e-mail account.

If you use another service provider, you may also need the following, which you can find on your ISP website:

· Incoming server name: This name is usually a combination of POP or IMAP and your e-mail account service provider, such as or

· Outgoing server name: This name is usually a combination of SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and the name of the company that provides your e-mail account, such as or

image You can access your e-mail from Mail (or a different e-mail application) on your Mac, from a web browser on your Mac, or on another computer, such as at your friend’s house or at an Internet café. You can also access your e-mail from handheld devices that have a Wi-Fi or cellular Internet connection. When you use a web browser, you go to the e-mail provider’s website.

You can set up your Mail account when you first set up your Mac (as we explain in Book I, Chapter 3) or by setting up your e-mail account within the Mail application.

After you collect the technical information needed to access your e-mail account, you need to configure Mail to work with your e-mail account by following these steps:

1. Click the Mail icon (the postage stamp with the soaring bird on it) on the Dock.

The Add Account dialog prompts you to choose a service provider, as shown in Figure 2-1.

image If you already added an e-mail account — for example, iCloud, during the initial setup of your Mac — you can still add additional accounts by choosing Mail⇒Add Account and following these steps.


Figure 2-1: The New Account dialog displays common e-mail service providers.

2. Select the radio button for the ISP you use — for example, Google — and then click the Continue button.

If your ISP doesn’t appear, select the Add Other Mail Account radio button and then click Continue.

3. In the dialog that opens, enter your full name, e-mail address, and password in the text boxes, as shown in Figure 2-2, and the click the Set Up button.

If you choose iCloud, use your Apple ID and password, and then click Sign In to add Mail to the iCloud services you use (see Book I, Chapter 3).

If you use Microsoft Exchange, click the Continue button (instead of Set Up).

image Your full name is any name you want to associate with your messages. If you type Lily, friend of frogs in the Name text box, all your messages will include From: Lily, friend of frogs. Your e-mail address includes your username plus ISP name, such as Your password might be case-sensitive (most are), so type it exactly.


Figure 2-2: Enter your new account info.

4. Mail connects to your e-mail account and attempts to fill in your account settings automatically.

If Mail succeeds in detecting your e-mail account’s settings, Mail displays an account summary window, as shown in Figure 2-3. Select the check boxes if you want Mail and other apps to use the information associated with this account: for example, Contacts or Calendar. The options differ depending on what the service provider offers. Click Done, and the account appears in the Mail window.

If Mail doesn’t automatically detect your e-mail account settings, continue following the onscreen steps to configure Mail to work with your e-mail account. You will be prompted to add the other information mentioned earlier: the incoming and outgoing mail server names.


Figure 2-3: Allow Mail to set up information associated with your e-mail account.

image You can configure Mail to retrieve e-mail from multiple e-mail accounts. To add more e-mail accounts, choose File⇒Add Account and repeat the preceding steps to add one or more additional e-mail accounts.

Looking at the Mail Window

Throughout the rest of the chapter, we refer to buttons and panes in the Mail window. At the top of the Mail window, you see two sets of tools, as shown in Figure 2-4:


Figure 2-4: The Mail window has five parts.

· Toolbar: Runs across the top of the window and holds the buttons that you click to take an action, such as write a new message, send a message, or even throw away a message. You can customize the toolbar with the buttons you use most by choosing View⇒Customize Toolbar to open the window shown in Figure 2-5. Click and drag the buttons until the toolbar has the tools you need. At the bottom, choose from the pop-up menu to show Icon and Text, Icon Only, or Text Only.


Figure 2-5: Customize the toolbar to show the buttons you use most.

· Favorites bar: Here you find buttons that quickly open your favorite mailboxes. To customize the Favorites bar, drag the mailboxes from the Mailbox list to the Favorites bar; to delete a button from the Favorites bar, click and drag the undesired button out of the Favorites bar, and it disappears in a puff of smoke.

Take a look at Mail on your Mac’s screen while reviewing the following parts of the Mail window.

· Mailboxes: The first column on the left shows a list of your mailboxes. Hint: If you don’t see this column, click the Show button on the left of the Favorites bar. If you have more than one account, each account will have an item in the Inbox, Sent, Junk, and Trash sections. If you click the topmost button of the section — say, Inbox — you see all the messages in your Inbox listed in the center column. If you click Gmail in the Inbox section, you see only the messages on your Gmail e-mail account. If you have just one e-mail, you will see only the categories. Click the disclosure triangles to the left of the category names to show or hide the subcategories. For example, the Junk category is closed, but there are junk bins for Gmail, iCloud, and Libero in there.

· Mail Activity pane: Click the disclosure triangle at the bottom of the Mailboxes column to show or hide the Mail Activity pane. When you are sending or receiving messages, a status bar displays the progress of the action.

· Message Preview list: The second column (which is the first if the Mailboxes column is hidden) shows your messages. Click Sort By at the top of the column to choose how you want to sort your messages or choose View⇒Sort By. Choose View⇒Message Attributes and choose what information you want to see about each message in the preview.

If you prefer the classic layout from older versions of Mail (Mail⇒Preferences⇒Viewing), you won’t see the Message Preview pane but a list of messages for the selected mailbox above the Message pane, as described next.

image Hover the pointer over the scroll bar on either column to show a vertical line with an arrow. Click and drag to make the columns wider or narrower.

· Message: The largest part of the Mail window shows your active message: the message that you’ve clicked in the Message list. Mail gives you the option of viewing your messages in a Conversation format. When you view a conversation, you see the thread of messages with the same subject, even if they were exchanged between more than one recipient. This way, you don’t have to scroll through to find responses from different people on different days, but can follow the “conversation” exchanges as they occurred. To view your messages in conversation mode, choose View⇒Organize by Conversation. See Figure 2-6 for an example.

The number to the right of the preview in the Message Preview list shows how many exchanges make up the conversation. You can also see the “speakers” in the conversation by clicking the arrow next to the number; the active message in Figure 2-6 is expanded. To expand all the messages in Message Preview list, choose View⇒Expand All Conversations. Choose View⇒Collapse All Conversations to condense them again.


Figure 2-6: Viewing e-mail messages as a conversation makes it easy to follow the sequence of exchanges.

image To make adjustments to your view of the Mail window, choose Mail⇒Preferences and then click the Viewing button. Choose the “classic” version of Mail, with your messages displayed in a single line across the top and the active message below. Make other choices about how Mail displays unread messages and conversations.

image Mail supports full-screen viewing. Just click the full-screen toggle switch in the upper-right corner and take advantage of your Mac’s whole screen.

Writing E-Mails

After you configure your Mail account(s) and are familiar with the buttons and panes, you can start writing and sending e-mail to anyone with an e-mail address. In this section, we describe how to write and send an e-mail, attach files and photos, and customize the appearance of your messages.

Creating a new e-mail

When you write a message to someone for the first time, you have to create a new message. Follow these steps:

1. In Mail, choose File⇒New Message or click the New Message button.

The New Message button looks like a piece of paper with a pencil on it (refer to Figure 2-4).

A New Message window appears, as shown in Figure 2-7, in which all options are active — we tell you how to turn them on and off in the section, “Customizing your messages.”

image Although the steps here instruct you to click in each field, you can also press the tab key to move from field to field.


Figure 2-7: Like a letter, an e-mail has a recipient, a sender, and a message.

2. Click the To text box and type an e-mail address or do one of the following:

· Click the Add button (the plus sign) at the right end of the field to open Contacts and select recipients from there.

· Begin typing a name you have stored in Contacts, and Mail will automatically fill in that person’s e-mail address (as long as it’s part of the person’s Contacts card). If a person has more than one e-mail address, click the one you want from the list that appears.

· Click the Contacts button at the top of the message to open the Addresses window, which shows names and addresses from Contacts as well as any social networks that you activated contacts for (Book I, Chapter 3). Click the name(s) of the person(s) you want to send your message to and then click the To, Cc, or Bcc button.

image When working with lists, image-click to select multiple, noncontiguous names.

If you want to send the same message to several people, you can type multiple e-mail addresses (be sure to separate each with a comma) or add the addresses from Contacts.

3. (Optional) Click the Cc and/or Bcc text box and add an e-mail address or addresses using one of the methods in Step 2.

· Carbon copy (Cc): The Cc field is where you type e-mail addresses of people who you want to keep informed, but who don’t necessarily need to write a reply.

· Blind carbon copy (Bcc): The Bcc field sends a copy of your message to e-mail addresses that you type here, but those e-mail addresses will not be visible to other recipients.

image When sending out a particularly important message, many people type the recipient’s e-mail address in the To field and their own e-mail address in the Cc or Bcc fields. This way, they can verify that their message was sent correctly.

4. (Optional) Type an e-mail address in the Reply To field if replies should be sent to an e-mail that’s different than the address the message is being sent from.

For example, if you send 1,000 invitations to a big event, you could create an e-mail address specifically for the event on one of the common service providers. Although the invitation is sent from you, invitees respond to the special address, and your inbox isn’t clogged with 1,000 responses.

5. Click the Subject text box and type a brief description of your message for your recipient.

6. (Optional) Open the From pop-up menu to send the message from a different e-mail account, if you have more than one.

7. (Optional) Open the Signature pop-up menu to choose a signature — if you created more than one — and use this option.

8. (Optional) Open the Priority pop-up menu to add urgency to your message.

9. Click in the Message field and type your message.

Use the font, size, and style pop-up menus to change the typeface of your message, or use more than one typeface in a message. (This works only if you choose Rich Text in the Composing section of Mail⇒Preferences.) Click the List button to format your text with bullets or numbers.

image You can copy text from another message or another app like Notes or Pages, and then choose Edit⇒Paste to insert the copied text.

10. Click the Send button, which looks like a paper airplane, in the upper-left corner.

Replying to or forwarding a message

You’ll often find yourself responding to messages others send to you. When you reply to a message, your reply can contain the text that you originally received so the recipient can better understand the context of your reply.

image To reply to a message, you need to receive a message first. To receive messages, just click the Get Mail button (refer to Figure 2-4), which looks like an envelope. You find out more about receiving messages later in this chapter.

To reply to or forward a message, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, click the Inbox button on the Favorites bar.

The left column lists all the messages stored in your Inbox folder.

2. Select a message in the Inbox that you want to reply to.

3. Click one of the following buttons on the toolbar.

Or you can click buttons on the heads-up display, which is revealed when you hover the pointer over the center of the line between the address information and message. The heads-up display that contains the Trash, Reply, Reply All, and Forward buttons.

· Reply: Opens a response message addressed to the sender only.

· Reply All: If the message was sent to you and several other people, this option — the double left-pointing arrow — sends your response to everyone (except Bcc recipients who you don’t know about) who received the original message.

· Forward: To send the message to another person, without replying to the sender or other recipients, click the Forward button, which is a right-pointing arrow.

image To both reply and forward the message, click Reply or Reply All. Then click in the To, Cc, or Bcc field, and type the e-mail address of the person you want to forward the message to.

4. Write your reply in the message that appears with the cursor blinking above the text of the original message.

5. Click Send.

Minding your manners

Because of its electronic nature, e-mail can seem deceptively informal. However, since it has replaced much paper-based correspondence — personal and professional — some etiquette should be followed:

· When replying or forwarding a message, delete irrelevant content or select the part you want to include, then click the Reply button so only the selected part appears in the reply message.

· When answering multiple questions, place your responses in the text so the recipient understands the relevance.

· Even a quick “thanks” lets the sender know you received the message.

Customizing your messages

Like other Mac apps, Mail offers preferences that let you customize and personalize your messages. You access many settings from the Mail Preferences window and one group of settings from a New Message. We explain both here.

Keeping up appearances

In this section, we talk about how your outgoing messages appear. Whether you write a new message, reply to a message, or forward a message to another person, you have several choices about how that message appears. Go to Mail⇒Preferences and set the following for your druthers:

1. Click the Fonts & Colors button on the toolbar to choose the font for outgoing messages.

2. Click the Select button next to the Message Font field and scroll through the Fonts chooser to choose a Collection, Family, Typeface, and Size, as shown in Figure 2-8. Pull down the dot (by the cursor in Figure 2-8) to see what your font choice looks like.

You can also change the message font on individual messages using the pop-up menus above the message header (refer to Figure 2-7).


Figure 2-8: Choose font styles and sizes in Mail Preferences.

3. (Optional) Click the Select button next to Message List Font and Fixed-width Font to change those.

4. (Optional) Select the Color Quoted Text check box to change the color of text as it’s quoted in an ongoing message conversation.

Click the color swatch pop-up menus to change the color used for each level of a conversation. Click Other to open a color selector and choose a custom color.

5. Click the Composing button on the toolbar to make choices about the appearance of outgoing messages, as shown in Figure 2-9.

6. In the Composing section, choose the following:

· Message Format: Choose from Plain Text or Rich Text, which takes advantage of stylized text functions such as bold, italic, and underlining.

· Check Spelling: Activate one of the spell checking options: As I Type, When I Click Send, or Never.

· Automatically Cc/Bcc Myself: Select the check box to receive carbon copies (blind or viewed) for every message you send. The carbon copy will show up in your inbox in addition to the copy in your Sent messages folder.


Figure 2-9: Customize how outgoing messages look.

7. In the Addressing section, make the following choices:

· When Sending to a Group, Show All Member Addresses: If this check box is left clear, group members see only the group name, not the addresses of individual members.

· Mark Addresses Not Ending With: Select the check box and type e-mail address suffixes that you don’t want marked. For example, if you type the suffix of your company e-mail, all other messages will be marked, but company messages will not.

· Send New Messages From: if you have multiple e-mail accounts, choose a specific account for sending all messages or choose Account of Selected Mailbox. You can always change the outgoing mailbox on individual messages as long as the From field is viewable. (See the upcoming section on showing and hiding address fields.)

8. The five options in the Responding section affect how your replies appear:

· Use the Same Message Format as the Original Message: We suggest selecting this so you don’t risk sending a formatted, rich text message that the recipient can’t view properly.

· Quote the Text of the Original Message: Select this check box to show the original message in your reply.

· Increase Quote Level: Select this check box, and the original text will be indented one level. If you have an ongoing conversation, the original text indents one more level with each response.

· When Quoting Text in Replies or Forwards: You have two choices here:

· Include All of the Original Message Text: The original text is included in forwarded messages as well as replies.

· Include Selected Text, If Any; Otherwise Include All Text: If you want to include only a portion of the original message, highlight the portion of the message you want to appear in your reply, and then click the Reply or Forward button. Only the highlighted text appears in your message.

Signing your message

The signature block at the bottom of an outgoing message or reply gives you an opportunity to give a little extra information to the recipient, such as your phone number and website, or express your personality and wit with an image or citation. If you have multiple e-mail accounts, you can assign a different signature to each account. You can also create multiple signature blocks and then choose which you want to use depending on the tone and occasion of your message. Here’s how to create message signatures:

1. Choose Mail⇒Preferences and then click the Signatures button on the toolbar.

2. As shown in Figure 2-10, click the account name in the first column and then click the + (plus sign) at the bottom of the second column.

Mail makes a signature suggestion, such as your first name or your first and last name with your e-mail address.


Figure 2-10: Create signature blocks for different types of messages.

3. (Optional) To change the default signature that Mail chose, click the text to select it and retype what you want to appear as your signature block.

You can also copy and paste an image from another app.

image To insert a website link, leave the cursor in the Signature block but choose Edit⇒Add Link. Type the URL (or copy and paste or click and drag from Safari) and then click OK. Recipients can click the link, and the website opens in the recipient’s browser. You can also select typed text or an image and then choose Edit⇒Add Link; the link is applied to the selected item (see Figure 2-10).

4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 to create other signatures: for example, a professional signature you use for work and another you use for messages sent to friends.

Hint: Double-click the signature name (Signature #1, Signature #2, and so on) to give the signature a more meaningful name.

5. (Optional) Click All Signatures, and then click and drag signatures from the second column to a different account name to use the same signature for different accounts.

The number of signatures associated with each account is shown under the account name.

image When you show the signature field in outgoing messages, you see only the signatures associated with the account you’re using to send the message.

6. Click the Close button.

image Select and edit signature blocks within a message if it’s not quite appropriate in that instance.

Showing and hiding address fields

Whenever you write a message, the To field is always visible because you need to send your message to at least one e-mail address. However, Mail can hide and display the Header fields — Cc, Bcc, Reply To, and From — because you don’t always want or need them in every message you write. A Priority and Signatures menu can be added, too, if those are something you find useful. Follow these steps:

1. Click the New Message button (refer to Figure 2-4) to open a new message.

2. Click the Header Fields button to the left of the From field.

3. Choose Customize.

The header appears, as shown in Figure 2-11.


Figure 2-11: Customize the header fields you see on new messages.

4. Select the check boxes next to the fields you want to appear on your messages.

Those with a check mark appear in your new messages. Check the boxes next to Signature and/or Priority to see a menu for those items on new messages.

image The To and Subject fields are mandatory, but the From field is not. This doesn’t mean that your messages will be mandatory, only that you won’t see that field on the New Message window. If you have more than one e-mail address, you should leave it so you can confirm which address the message is being sent from.

5. Click OK.

You will see only the fields you selected in this and future new messages, replies, or forwarded messages that you create.

image If you want to show or hide the header fields or the priority menu on a single message, click the Header Fields button and select, or deselect, the item you want to show or hide.

Sending a file or photo attachment

When you send an e-mail, you’re sending text. However, sometimes you might want to send pictures, documents or videos. Anyone receiving your message and file attachment can then save the file attachment and open it later. Many people need to share files or digital images, and file attachments are one way to share files with others.

image Your e-mail account may limit the maximum file size you can send, such as 10MB, and your recipients may have limits on the file size they can receive. If you have a file larger than 60 to 70 percent of the maximum limit, you might have to send your files through a free remote storage and file-sharing service, such as Hightail (, SendThisFile (, or Dropbox (

To attach a file to a message, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, open a new Message window as described in one of the preceding sections.

You can open a new Message window to create a new message, reply to an existing message, or forward an existing message.

2. Choose File⇒Attach Files or click the Attach button, which looks like a paper clip.

A browse dialog appears.

3. Navigate through the folders to get to the file you want to send and then click it.

image To select multiple files, hold down the image key and click each file you want to send. To select a range of files, hold down the Shift key and click the first and last files you want to send.

4. Click Choose File.

If you have just one file, it is pasted into your message. If you paste multiple files, the file is particularly large or in a format that Mail can’t display, such as FileMaker or ePub, you see an icon for the attached file in the message window.

image To send a single file as a file or to facilitate sending multiple files, select the file(s) in the Finder, and then choose File⇒Compress. The Finder creates a ZIP file that comprises the selected files. Attach the ZIP file to your message.

5. Choose Edit⇒Attachments and select one or more of the following to set rules for attachments:

· Include Original Attachments In Reply: Attaches the original attachment to your reply to the message it came with. This option is usually best left not selected because it only creates bigger messages that take longer to send, and the person who sent you the attachment should have it, anyway.

· Always Send Windows-Friendly Attachments: Makes sure that Windows users can read your attachment. This option is best selected because you can never be 100 percent sure which operating system your recipient will use to read your attachment.

· Always Insert Attachment at End of Message: Inserts the attachment at the bottom, so the recipient may have to scroll down to get to the attachment. Whether you select this option is really a personal preference. If you want the attachment in the middle of the message — a photo, for example — don’t select this check box.

6. Click the Message text box and type your message.

7. Click the Send button.

You could use the preceding steps to attach a photo to your message, or you can go directly to the Photo Browser, which shows photo previews instead of a list of names like DSC174 that don’t mean anything to you until you open them. To use the Photo Browser, do the following:

1. In Mail, open a new Message window, as described in one of the preceding sections.

You can open a new Message window to create a new message, reply to an existing message, or forward an existing message.

2. Click the Photo Browser button, which has an image of a mountain with a tiny moon over it.

The Photo Browser opens, as shown in Figure 2-12. Click and drag the bottom-right corner to enlarge the browser.


Figure 2-12: Choose photos to attach to your messages from Photo Browser.

3. Scroll through thumbnails from your iPhoto and Photo Booth photos, events, and albums until you find the photo you want.

4. Double-click an event or album to see the photos in the event or album; double-click a photo to see an enlarged preview in the bottom half of the browser window.

5. image To select multiple photos, hold down the image key and click each photo you want to send. To select a range of photos, hold down the Shift key and click the first and last photos you want to send.

6. Drag the selected photo or photos into your message.

The photos are pasted into your message.

7. Adjust the image size by selecting Small, Medium, Large, or Actual Size from the pop-up menu on the bottom right of the new message window, as shown in Figure 2-13.

The larger the photo, the larger the message file will be, making it potentially slower to send and receive, although the better resolution is useful if the photo is destined to be printed.


Figure 2-13: Adjust the size of the photo you want to send.

8. Click in the Message text box to type in a message.

9. Click the Send button.

image In Book IV, Chapter 3, we explain how to send photos directly from iPhoto.

Using stationery

E-mail stationery consists of graphic designs and formatted text that you can edit to create e-mail messages that look more interesting than plain text. Keep in mind, however, that all those pretty accents increase the size of any e-mail messages you create with stationery and may not be legible if the recipient uses an e-mail application that doesn’t support HTML. To use the Mail application’s Stationery feature to create a new message, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, choose File⇒New Message or click the New Message button to open a New Message window.

2. Click the Show Stationery button in the upper-right corner of the new message window.

A list of stationery categories (Birthday, Photos, and so on) appears in the upper-left pane, and a list of stationery designs appears in the upper middle of the New Message window.

3. Click a Stationery category, such as Sentiments or Birthday.

Each time you click a different category, the Mail window displays thumbnail images of stationery designs in that category.

4. Click the stationery design that you want to use.

Your chosen stationery appears in the main section of the New Message window.

5. Click any placeholder text and edit or type new text.

After you choose a stationery design, you can edit the text and replace it with your own message. If the stationery displays a photograph, you can replace the photograph with another picture stored in iPhoto or somewhere else on your hard drive.

To add your own pictures to a stationery design, follow these steps:

1. Make sure that Mail displays a stationery design that includes one or more pictures.

2. Click the Photo Browser button.

The Photo Browser window appears, containing all the photographs you’ve stored in iPhoto and Photo Booth.

3. Scroll to the folder that contains a photograph that you want to use in your stationery.

4. Click and drag your chosen photograph onto the picture in your stationery design.

5. Release the mouse button.

Your chosen picture now appears in your stationery, as shown in the lower part of Figure 2-14.

6. Click the Close button of the Finder or Photo Browser window.


Figure 2-14: Click and drag to replace stationery pictures with your own images.

Spelling and grammar checking

Although e-mail is considered less formal than many other forms of communication (say, letters or a last will and testament), you probably don’t want your e-mail message riddled with spelling errors and typos that can make you look bad. That’s why Mail provides a spelling and grammar checker.

If you have spell checking turned on while you type (Mail⇒Preferences⇒Composing), the spell checker will underline suspected misspelled words in red to help you find potential problems easily. If you want to spell-check and grammar-check your entire message, follow these steps:

1. Open a New Message window as described earlier in this chapter.

You can open a New Message window to create a new message, reply to an existing message, or forward an existing message.

2. Type your message.

3. Choose Edit⇒Spelling and Grammar⇒Show Spelling and Grammar.

The spelling and grammar checker does it thing, with a Spelling and Grammar dialog appearing each time Mail finds a potentially misspelled word.

4. Click one of the following buttons:

· Change: Changes the misspelled word with the spelling that you choose from the list box on the left

· Find Next: Finds the next occurrence of the same misspelled word

· Ignore: Tells Mail that the word is correct

· Learn: Adds the word to the dictionary

· Define: Launches Mac’s Dictionary application and looks up and displays the word’s definition in the Dictionary’s main window

· Guess: Offers best-guess word choices

5. Click Send.

image The spelling and grammar checker can’t catch all possible errors (words like fiend and friend can slip past because the words are spelled correctly), so make sure that you proofread your message after you finish spell-checking and grammar-checking your message.

Receiving and Reading E-Mail

To receive e-mail, your e-mail application must contact your incoming mail server and download the messages to your Mac. Then you can either check for new mail manually or have Mail check for new mail automatically.

Retrieving e-mail

To check and retrieve e-mail manually in Mail, choose Mailbox⇒Get New Mail or click the Get Mail icon. The number of new messages appears next to the Inbox icon, and in a red circle on the Mail icon on the Dock and Launchpad.

Checking for new e-mail manually can get tedious, so you can configure Mail to check for new mail automatically at fixed intervals of time, such as every 5 or 15 minutes. To configure Mail to check for new messages automatically, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, choose Mail⇒Preferences.

2. Click the General icon on the toolbar to display the General pane, as shown in Figure 2-15.

3. From the Check for New Messages pop-up menu, choose an option to determine how often to check for new messages.

Automatically will get your new mail whenever you open Mail and continuously as long as Mail remains open. Choose Every Minute, Every 5 Minutes, Every 15 Minutes, Every 30 Minutes, or Every Hour, to check at the chosen interval.

4. (Optional) Choose a sound to play when you receive new messages from the New Messages Sound pop-up menu.

You can also choose None in case any sound bothers you.


Figure 2-15: Set how often to check for new e-mail.

5. Use the pop-up menus to select your preferences for the following options:

· Dock Unread Count: Choose whether the number in the badge on the Mail icon on the Dock reflects unread messages in your inbox only or in all mailboxes: for example, unread messages that went directly to Junk.

· New Message Notifications: Indicate which types of communications you want the Notification Center to manage: Inbox Only, VIPs, Contacts, or All Mailboxes. (See Book I, Chapter 6 to learn about the Notifications.)

· Add Invitations to Calendar: Invitations sent in the iCal file format can be added automatically to the Calendar app or never added, in which case you can add them manually.

6. Click the Close button.

image Mail can check for new messages only if you leave Mail running. If you quit Mail, it can’t check for new messages periodically.

Reading e-mail

After you start receiving e-mail, you can start reading your messages. When you receive a new message, Mail flags it with a dot in the Message Preview list, as shown in Figure 2-16. If you have the Mailboxes list showing, the number next to each mailbox indicates the number of unread messages.

image Your Mac can read your messages aloud to you. Just open a message and then choose Edit⇒Speech⇒Start Speaking.


Figure 2-16: Mail shows you which messages you haven’t read yet.

To read a message, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, click the Inbox button on the Favorites bar.

A list of messages stored in the Inbox appears in the Message Preview list.

2. Click a message to read the message in the message pane, or double-click a message to display and read a message in a separate window.

The advantage of the message pane is that you can scan your messages quickly by clicking each one without having to open a separate window. The advantage of reading a message in a separate window is that you can resize that window and see more of the message without having to scroll as often as you would if you were reading that same message in the message pane.

Viewing and saving file attachments

When you receive a message that has a file attachment, you see a paper clip next to the sender’s name in the Message Preview list and also on the actual message. To save a file attachment, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, click the Inbox button on the Favorites bar.

A list of messages stored in the Inbox appears.

2. Click a message with an attachment icon (paper clip) in the Message Preview list.

3. Click the attachment icon within the message and then choose File⇒Quick Look Attachments, which shows you a preview of the file without actually opening it.

A window appears, displaying the contents of your file attachment (or playing the file if it’s a music or video file). If there are multiple images, click the arrows to move from one image to the next or click the thumbnail view button to see all the images at once. Click the Close button (the X in the upper-left corner) of the Quick Look window when you finish looking at its contents.

image Double-click an attachment to open it in its originating app.

4. Choose File⇒Save Attachments.

If the e-mail message contains more than one attachment, choose an individual attachment to save it but not the others.

5. In the dialog that opens, choose the folder where you want to save the attachments.

By default, Mail saves your attachments into the Downloads stack on the Dock, unless you designate another folder in the General window of Mail preferences.

6. Click Save.

image You can also just click and drag attachments from the message body to the Desktop or a Finder window or folder. To do so, hold down the image key to select more than one attachment; then click and drag any one of the selected attachments to the Desktop or a Finder window.

Adding an e-mail address to Contacts

Typing an e-mail address every time you want to send a message can get tedious — if you can even remember the address. Mail searches your messages as well as Contacts for matches when you begin to type a name in an address field. Nonetheless, you may want to add the people behind those addresses to Contacts on your Mac so your addresses are all in one place.

When you receive an e-mail from someone whose name and address you want to remember, you can store that person’s e-mail address in Contacts by following these steps:

1. In Mail, click the Inbox button on the Favorites bar.

2. In the Message Preview list, select a message sent by someone whose e-mail address you want to save.

3. Choose Message⇒Add Sender to Contacts.

Although nothing appears to happen, your chosen e-mail address is now stored in Contacts.

image To view your list of stored names and e-mail addresses, you can retrieve information from Contacts by choosing Window⇒Address Panel.

Organizing E-Mail

To help you manage and organize your e-mail messages, Mail lets you search and sort your messages. Spotlight (search) finds specific text stored in a particular message. When you find the messages you want, you may want to group them in a folder. You can also establish “smart mailboxes” so Mail automatically puts related messages in the same folder or establish rules for what mail goes to which mailbox. We also tell you how to use the Flag tool, which helps you sort e-mails related to specific tasks you'd like to attend to.

Searching through e-mail

To manage your e-mail effectively, you need to be able to search for one message (or more) you want to find and view. To search through your e-mail for the names of senders, subjects, or text in a message, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, click the Spotlight Search box in the upper-right corner.

2. Type a word, phrase, or partial phrase that you want to find.

When you type, Mail displays a list of messages that match the text you’re typing in the Message Preview list and indicates where the text was found (for example, People, Subject, Mailboxes, or Attachments), and the word Search appears next to the buttons on the Favorites bar, as shown in Figure 2-17.

3. Click one of the buttons on the Favorites bar or the mailboxes in the Mailboxes list (click Show to see it) to narrow your search.

Your options are to search through All Mailboxes, the Inbox, or one of the account-specific inboxes or in Sent or one of the account-specific outboxes.

image To include the Trash, Junk, or Encrypted Messages in your search, choose Mail⇒Preferences⇒General and select the Trash, Junk, and/or Encrypted Messages check boxes.

4. (Optional) Click the Save button in the upper-right corner to open a Smart Mailbox window, and then customize your search.

Type in a name for your new Smart Mailbox search, choose any options you want to customize your search, and then click OK to save your Smart Mailbox search.

We explain smart mailboxes in depth in the “Automatically organizing e-mail with smart mailboxes” section, later in this chapter.

5. Click a message to read it.


Figure 2-17: Use Spotlight, and Mail displays a list of messages that match your text.

Organizing e-mail with mailbox folders

When you receive e-mail, all your messages are dumped in the Inbox. If you have multiple accounts, the Inbox shows messages from all accounts, and clicking a specific account on the Favorites bar or the Mailboxes list shows only the messages in that account. Organizing your messages by conversation (choose View⇒Organize by Conversation) helps, but after a while, you might have so many messages stored there that trying to find related messages can be nearly impossible.

To fix this problem, you can create separate folders for organizing your different e-mails. After you create a folder, choosing to organize by conversation keeps related messages together so you can quickly find them later.

image One common type of e-mail to organize is junk e-mail, which you can route automatically to the Trash folder, as we write about in the upcoming “Dealing with Junk E-Mail” section.

Creating a mailbox folder

To create a mailbox folder, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, choose Mailbox⇒New Mailbox.

A New Mailbox dialog appears, as shown in Figure 2-18.


Figure 2-18: Choose a name for your mailbox folder.

2. Use the Location pop-up menu to choose a destination for your new folder.

3. In the Name text box, type a descriptive name for your mailbox folder and then click OK.

Your mailbox folder appears in the Mailboxes column of the Mail window.

4. (Optional) Drag the folder onto the Favorites bar if you want.

Storing messages in a mailbox folder

When you create a mailbox folder, it’s completely empty. To store messages in a mailbox folder, you must drag those messages manually to the mailbox folder. Dragging moves your message from the Inbox folder to your designated mailbox folder.

To move a message to a mailbox folder, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, click the Inbox icon in the Mailboxes list or on the Favorites bar to view your e-mail messages.

2. Click a message and drag it to the mailbox folder you want and then release the mouse.

Your selected message now appears in the mailbox folder.

image If you hold down the image key while clicking a message, you can select multiple messages. If you hold down the Shift key, you can click one message and then click another message to select those two messages and every message in between.

Deleting a mailbox folder

You can delete a mailbox folder by following these steps:

1. In Mail, click the mailbox folder you want to delete.

2. Choose Mailbox⇒Delete.

A confirmation dialog appears, asking whether you’re sure that you want to delete your folder.

image When you delete a mailbox folder, you delete all messages stored inside.

3. Click Delete.

Automatically organizing e-mail with smart mailboxes

Mailbox folders can help organize your messages, but you must manually drag messages into those folders or set up rules to automate the process. As an alternative, to make this process automatic, you can use smart mailboxes.

A smart mailbox differs from an ordinary mailbox in two ways:

· A smart mailbox lets you define the type of messages you want to store automatically; that way, Mail sorts your messages without any additional work from you.

· A smart mailbox doesn’t actually contain a message but only a link to the actual message, which is still stored in the Inbox folder (or any folder that you move it to). Because smart mailboxes don’t actually move messages, a single message can have links stored in multiple smart mailboxes.

Creating a smart mailbox

To create a smart mailbox, you need to define a name for your smart mailbox along with the criteria for the types of messages to store in your smart mailbox. To create a smart mailbox, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, choose Mailbox⇒New Smart Mailbox.

A New Smart Mailbox dialog appears.

2. Click the Smart Mailbox Name text box and type a descriptive name for your smart mailbox.

3. Open the Match pop-up menu and choose All (of the Following Conditions) or Any (of the Following Conditions).

4. Open the first criterion pop-up menu and choose an option, such as From or Date Received, as shown in Figure 2-19.

5. Open the second criterion pop-up menu and choose how to apply your first criterion (for example, Contains or Ends With).


Figure 2-19: The first pop-up menu lets you choose criteria for the type of messages to include.

6. In the Criteria text box, type a word or phrase that you want to use for your criterion.

7. (Optional) Click the Add Rule icon (the plus-sign button) and repeat Steps 3–6.

8. Click OK.

Your smart mailbox appears in the Mailboxes column of the Mail window. If any messages match your defined criteria, you can click your smart mailbox’s icon to see a list of messages.

image The messages stored in a smart mailbox are just links to the actual messages stored in your Inbox folder. If you delete a message from a smart mailbox, the message remains in the Inbox; if you delete a message from the Inbox, it is also deleted from the smart mailbox.

Deleting a smart mailbox

Deleting a smart mailbox doesn’t physically delete any messages because a smart mailbox only contains links to existing messages. To delete a smart mailbox, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, click the smart mailbox folder you want to delete.

2. Choose Mailbox⇒Delete.

A confirmation dialog appears, asking whether you’re sure that you want to delete your smart mailbox.

3. Click Delete (or Cancel).

Automatically organizing e-mail with rules

Smart mailboxes provide links to e-mail messages that remain in your Inbox folder. However, you may want to actually move a message from the Inbox folder to another folder automatically, which you can do by defining rules.

The basic idea behind rules is to pick criteria for selecting messages, such as all messages from specific e-mail addresses or subject lines that contain certain phrases, and route them automatically into a folder.

To create a rule, follow these steps:

1. Choose Mail⇒Preferences to open the Mail preferences window.

2. Click the Rules icon on the toolbar.

The Rules window appears.

3. Click Add Rule.

The Rules window displays pop-up menus for defining a rule.

4. Click the Description text box and type a description of what your rule does.

5. Open one or more pop-up menus to define how your rule works.

For instance, you might define what to look for or which folder to move the message to, as shown in Figure 2-20.


Figure 2-20: Select messages to sort by your rule.

6. (Optional) Click the plus sign button to define another sorting criterion for your rule and repeat Steps 5 and 6 as often as necessary.

7. Click OK when you finish defining your rule.

A confirmation dialog appears, asking whether you want to apply your new rule to your messages.

8. Click Apply.

9. Click the Close button of the Rules window.

Mail now displays your messages sorted into folders according to your defined rules.

image To modify an existing rule, click an existing rule and click Edit.

Flagging your messages

Sometimes you receive a message that contains a task you must attend to later. You could print the message and hang it on a bulletin board in your office or on your refrigerator so you don’t forget, or you can flag it in Mail. You can choose from seven colors so you can use different colors for different types of e-mails: say, all e-mails related to one project, or to give the task a priority. Here’s how to work with flags:

1. Click Inbox on the Favorites bar or Mailboxes list.

2. Select the message you want to flag.

3. Click the Flag pop-up menu on the toolbar, or choose Message⇒Flag, and select the color flag you want to assign to that message.

A little colored flag appears next to the message in the Message Preview list and next to the From field in the message itself.

4. To see your flagged messages all together, do one of the following:

· Click Flagged in the Mailboxes list. (Click Show to the left of the Favorites bar to see the Mailboxes list.)

· Click the Flagged button on the Favorites bar. (If you don’t see the button, drag it from the Mailboxes list.)

· Choose Flags from the Sort By menu at the top of the Message Preview list to see the flagged messages all together in the mailbox that you’re viewing.

5. To remove the flag, select the message and choose Clear Flag from the flag pop-up menu.

image Flags are named by their color, but you can rename them; for example, name the red flag “Urgent” rather than “red.” Click the disclosure triangle next to Flagged in the Mailboxes list. Double-click the flag name (the color) to select the word, and then type the name you want.

image You can set up rules (choose Mail⇒Preferences⇒Rules) to automatically flag messages that meet certain criteria.

Dealing with Junk E-Mail

Just like you receive junk mail in your paper mailbox, soon after you get an e-mail address, you’re going to start receiving junk e-mail (or spam). While you can’t entirely stop it, Mail has filters that help limit the inevitable flow of junk e-mail so you can keep your e-mail account from getting overwhelmed, and — perhaps more important — limit the dispersion of your e-mail address and the personal information on your computer that can be accessed through your e-mail.

image Most junk e-mail messages are advertisements trying to sell you various products, but some junk e-mail messages are actually scams to trick you into visiting bogus websites that ask for your credit card number or (worse) try to trick you into giving your bank-account info. This form of spam is called phishing. Other times, junk e-mail might contain an attachment masquerading as a free application that secretly contains a computer virus. Or, a junk e-mail might try to trick you into clicking a web link that downloads and installs a computer virus on your Mac. By filtering out such malicious junk e-mail, you can minimize potential threats that can jeopardize your Mac’s integrity or your personal information.

Filtering junk e-mail

Filtering means that Mail examines the content of messages and tries to determine whether the message is junk. To improve accuracy, Mail allows you to train it by manually identifying junk e-mail that its existing rules didn’t catch.

After a few weeks of watching you identify junk e-mail, the Mail app’s filters begin to recognize common junk e-mail and route it automatically to a special Junk folder, keeping your Inbox free from most junk e-mail so you can focus on reading the messages that matter to you.

To train Mail to recognize junk e-mail, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, click the Inbox button on the Favorites bar or click Show to reveal the Mailboxes list, and then click the Inbox button.

A list of messages appears in the Message Preview list.

2. Click a message that you consider junk.

3. Choose Message⇒Mark⇒As Junk Mail or click the Junk button on the toolbar.

This tells the Mail application’s filters what you consider junk e-mail. The message is moved to the Junk mailbox.

4. Click the Junk mailbox.

Mail displays the messages in the Message Preview list and the message information is written in brown.

5. Click the message you marked as Junk.

A banner runs across the top of the message, as shown in the top of Figure 2-21. If you accidentally marked the message as Junk, click the Not Junk button and drag the message back to the inbox it came from.


Figure 2-21: Click Not Junk for legitimate messages.

6. Click the Delete icon (upper left).

This deletes your chosen message and “trains” Mail to recognize similar messages as junk.

image Sometimes legitimate e-mail messages can wind up in Junk in Mail or in the Spam folders of web-based e-mail providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Microsoft Live Hotmail. If there are messages in your Junk or Spam mailboxes that shouldn’t be there, click the message. A banner runs across the top of the message, as shown in the bottom of Figure 2-21. Click the Not Junk button and drag the message to your Inbox. This way, Mail learns that messages from this sender are not junk mail.

image The cleverness and prowess of spammers and phishers increases daily. Keep an eye out for these tipoffs to counterfeit requests:

· Misspelled words

· Logo design, colors, or type that is slightly different than that of the legitimate company

· Sender addresses that don’t match the company name

Using advanced filter rules

If you find that you’re still getting a lot of junk mail or that it arrives from a specific source, you can set the Junk mail preferences to better manage junk mail by following these steps:

1. Choose Mail⇒Preferences and click the Junk button.

The Junk Mail preferences window shown in Figure 2-22 opens.


Figure 2-22: Help Mail learn which messages are Junk by setting Junk preferences.

2. Make sure that the Enable Junk Mail Filtering check box is selected.

3. Select one of the following choices to indicate where you want Junk mail to go when it arrives.

· Mark as Junk Mail, But Leave It in My Inbox: Puts junk mail in with all your good mail.

· Move It to the Junk Mailbox: This option nicely separates junk mail for you and puts it in its own mailbox.

4. (Optional) Select the Perform Custom Actions radio button to activate the Advanced button. Then click Advanced.

A pane opens, as shown in Figure 2-23.

1. Use the pop-up menus to set up rules for filtering incoming mail. Use the plus and minus buttons to the right of each rule to add or delete a rule.

2. Use the pop-up menus in the Perform the Following Actions section. Indicate what you want Mail to do when a message arrives that meets the established rules.

3. Click OK.


Figure 2-23: Advanced Junk settings can better eliminate unwanted e-mail.

5. Select one or more of the following choices for the types of messages to exempt from the junk mail filter.

This helps keep legitimate messages out of your Junk mailbox.

· Sender of Message Is in My Contacts

· Sender of Message Is in My Previous Recipients

Even if the sender isn’t in your Contacts, if you received a message from the sender in the past, it won’t be considered junk.

· Message Is Addressed Using My Full Name

6. Select the Trust Junk Mail Headers in Messages check box.

When you select this option, Mail trusts the mail that your e-mail provider identifies as junk.

Many web-based e-mail providers have special applications running on their e-mail servers that try to sniff out junk e-mail before it lands in your Inbox.

7. Select the Filter Junk Mail before Applying My Rules check box.

This gives precedence to Mail’s filter before applying your custom filter rules.

image Although Mail’s built-in junk e-mail filters can strip away most junk e-mail, consider getting a special junk e-mail filter as well. These e-mail filters strip out most junk e-mail better than Mail can do, but the Mail application’s filters might later catch any junk e-mail that slips past these separate filters, which essentially doubles your defenses against junk e-mail. Some popular e-mail filters are SpamSieve ( and SPAMfighter ( Spam filters cost money and take time to configure, but if your e-mail account is overrun by junk e-mail, a separate junk e-mail filter might be your only solution short of getting a new e-mail account.

Deleting and Archiving Messages

After you read a message, you can leave it in your Inbox, delete it, or archive it for old time’s sake. Generally, it’s a good idea to delete messages you won’t need again, such as an invitation to somebody’s birthday party back in the summer of 2008. If you do delete a message that you shouldn't have, you can retrieve it, but only if the Trash folder hasn't been emptied.

Deleting messages

By deleting unnecessary messages, you can keep your Inbox organized and uncluttered — and if you’re using an IMAP or Exchange account, free up space on the mail server where your e-mail messages are stored.

To delete a message, follow these steps:

1. In Mail, click the Inbox button on the Favorites bar.

A list of messages stored in the Inbox appears.

2. Click the message you want to delete.

image To select multiple messages, hold down the image key and click additional messages. To select a range of messages, hold down the Shift key, click the first message to delete, click the last message to delete, and then release the Shift key.

Sorting by From can make deleting messages from the same sender easier.

3. Choose Edit⇒Delete (or click the Delete button).

image Deleting a message doesn’t immediately erase it but stores it in the Trash folder. If you don’t “empty the trash,” you still have the chance to retrieve deleted messages, as outlined in the next section.

Retrieving messages from the Trash folder

Each time you delete a message, Mail stores the deleted messages in the Trash folder. If you think you deleted a message by mistake, you can retrieve it by following these steps:

1. In Mail, click the Trash folder.

A list of deleted messages appears.

2. Click the message you want to retrieve.

3. Choose Message⇒Move To⇒Inbox.

image You can set up Mail to automatically move deleted messages to the trash and permanently erase those trashed messages after a month, a week, a day, or upon quitting Mail. To configure this option, choose Mail⇒Preferences, click the Accounts button, click a mail account in the Accounts column, and then click Mailbox Behaviors and adjust the settings for Trash to suit your e-mail housekeeping style.

Emptying the Trash folder

Messages stored in the Trash folder continue to take up space, so you should periodically empty the Trash folder by following these steps:

1. In Mail, choose Mailbox⇒Erase Deleted Messages.

A submenu appears, listing all the e-mail accounts in Mail.

2. Take one of the following actions.

· Choose In All Accounts to erase all deleted messages.

· Choose the name of a specific e-mail account to erase messages only from that particular account.

Archiving messages

If you want to reduce the number of messages you see in your mailboxes but not delete the messages — say, at the end of the year or when a project is complete — you can create an archive of those messages. Archived messages are kept in a folder in Mail but removed from active mailboxes. To archive messages, do the following:

1. Click the mailbox that contains messages you want to archive.

2. Right-click the messages you want to archive or choose Edit⇒Select All if you want to archive all messages in the mailbox.

3. Choose Message⇒Archive.

The selected messages are moved to the Archive file in Mail.

image You can then click the Archive file, select the archived messages and choose Mailbox⇒Export Mailbox. Select a destination in the window that opens and then click Choose. Your messages are exported to a file in the selected folder on the chosen external drive or directory, and you can delete them from Mail to free up space on your Mac.