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Using Mail's rules, smart mailboxes, and VIPs

Christopher Breen | April 5, 2013
In this Mac 101 lesson, Professor Breen discusses the many ways Mail helps you filter and file your email automatically.

In this case, you first configure the very top pop-up menu that appears in the 'If x of the following conditions are met' statement. The x, in this case can be either any or all. If you choose any, only one of the conditions has to be met for the following action to be imposed. With all, every condition must be met for the rule to function.

For this rule to work, you must have all conditions met. You then follow that up with two conditions: From Contains bozorepliers (where bozorepliers is the offending division's domain name) and To Does not contain me (where me is your email address). Create the first condition and then click the Plus button to its right to create another.

For this rule to execute, not only does the message have to be from the offending domain, but it also can't be addressed to you personally. (You set it up this way as a fail-safe measure so that messages sent from the domain that demand your specific attention aren't lost among all the cruft.)

Finally, create a new folder for messages from these people and then design an action that moves any of their mail not addressed to you to this folder.

The multiple-action rule: You can also create rules that have multiple actions.

For example, you could create one that reads: If From Contains theboss (where theboss is your supervisor's email address), Set Color of Message of Text to Red, Play Sound Sosumi, Send Notification, and Bounce Icon in the Dock. This rule would make your manager's messages impossible to ignore (see the image at the top of the page). And as with the multiple-condition rule, you add more actions by clicking the Plus button in the actions area.

Rules-like features

Mail includes a couple of features that mimic some of the power of rules. The first is smart mailboxes, and the second is the VIP mailbox.

Smart mailboxes: A smart mailbox is like a rule that has just one action--gathering together matching messages in a specific mailbox. Let's make one.

Choose Mailbox > New Smart Mailbox (or click the Plus button at the bottom-left corner and choose Smart Mailbox from the menu). Name the mailbox Apple and configure the condition to read From Contains apple. If you'd like to include messages in Mail's Trash, enable that option. Click OK, and a new 'Apple' mailbox appears beneath the Smart Mailboxes heading in the Mailboxes pane. If you select it, you'll see all those messages from Apple that advertise one thing or another or inform you that your Apple ID was used to sign in to such and such a service.


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