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Automate your Mac: 10 ways to make managing email easier

Christopher Breen, Katie Floyd, Dan Frakes, Matt Gemmell, Topher Kessler, Kirk McElhearn, David Sparks | Sept. 3, 2014
If there's one daily chore that cries out for automation, it's managing your email inbox. Fortunately, there are all kinds of tools--some built into itself, others from third-party vendors--that can help you do just that.

If there's one daily chore that cries out for automation, it's managing your email inbox. Fortunately, there are all kinds of tools — some built into itself, others from third-party vendors — that can help you do just that.

Hide the Reply-All-ers

Tool: Mail Like every company, we here at Macworld deal with groups inside our organization who believe clicking Reply All is a proper response to any "Welcome Bob!" or "Great Work, Team!" message that crosses the wire. Thankfully, these people tend to cluster in their own domain — something along the lines of So I created a Mail rule to handle their effusions: In the Inbox Rules section of the Rules tab in Mail's preferences, I added a rule that looks for messages in which the From field contains that domain, then performs the action Move Message and specifying a separate mailbox as the destination. I can then peruse that box when my patience allows. — Christopher Breen

Keep Track of Shipments

Tools: Delivery Status, Mail I routinely shop online and easily lose track of when packages are scheduled to be delivered. So I use Delivery Status from Junecloud — which includes an iOS App, Dashboard widget and cloud service — to keep an eye on incoming packages. Among other features, the service allows me to forward order and shipment-confirmation emails to JuneCloud, which parses their text and adds their tracking information to the app. So I created some simple Mail rules to handle this forwarding automatically.

First, there's a rule that looks for any subject that contains the words order has shipped and then forwards such messages to This catches most of the relevant messages. You can create other, more customized rules for particular vendors. For example, I have one that looks for (and then forwards) messages in which From contains — Katie Floyd

File Mail messages to Evernote

Tools: Evernote, TextExpander I use Evernote to store and manage all kinds of documents. One thing that makes it more efficient: Evernote gives every user a unique email address, which you can use to send documents to your Evernote account. Email messages sent to that address are usually saved in your default notebook. But with a little planning, you can organize and tag notes more precisely.

The subject of the email becomes the title of the note in Evernote. To specify a notebook where that note will be filed, adding the @ symbol followed by the name of an existing notebook to the subject line. Similarly, you can tag the note by appending #, followed by an existing tag, to the subject.

If you find yourself sending messages to the same set of notebooks and tags routinely, you can automate this tagging process with a TextExpander snippet. For example: I'm going back to school this year and want to keep track of the associated expenses. In Evernote I keep a notebook called Tax Receipts for every year, as well as an Education tag; I also like to include date information with each note. So I created the following snippet in TextExpander to use as the subject of my message:


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