Join Christopher Breen for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating smarter Smart Mailboxes, part of Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Tips and Tricks.
The Mac OS supports a variety of smart features and I use Smart in quotes. What defines a smart item is the ability to create lists or play lists or searches by defining a number of conditions which produces results that match those conditions. For example in iTunes I might create a smart playlist by looking for soul songs that were recorded say between 1970 and 1990. And they're under four minutes long. Apple's Mail application has its own smart features called smart Mailboxes, and I'm going to show you how to create some that you'll find helpful. So first we'll start by launching mail.
And I will click on the Show button so we can see the Mailboxes panel. Now there are two ways to create smart mailboxes. One is I can go to the Mailbox menu and choose New smart mailbox or I can click on the plus button down at the bottom left of this window and choose new smart mailbox I'l l o that here. When the sheet comes down you first want to name it and I'm going to name this one Apple and you'll see why in just a second. And then I have to create condition, this is a rule that must be matched in order for message to appear within this mailbox. So, let's say from, contains, and we'll say Apple. Now if I want, I can also include messages from the trash and messages that I've sent.
In this case, let's keep it simple and I'll just leave it as apple, without those option checked. Now, I click on OK. And now I have a new apple smart mailbox, which you could see under the smart mailboxes heading. So what's in here? Well, as I scroll down here through the list, you see that there are lots and lots of messages from Apple. And this can include things about changing my Apple ID, verification processes and advertising.
Now, that's great if I want to see just messages from Apple. But I'd like to refine that a little bit so I can see things from Apple that also have to do with my iCloud account. And I can do that be creating another condition. So I'll double click on the smart mailbox to show that sheet again. I'll click on plus to add another condition. I'll choose from Again. And this time it also has to contain iCloud. Now at the top of this sheet i have a couple of options. The first is all and the other is any. And what this means is that if you choose any, only one of these conditions must be met in order for a message to appear in the mailbox. If you choose all, every condition that you've added must be met and then the message will appear in whatever the smart mailbox is. So now I'll click on OK again and I see this list is shorter. And it's shorter because, as you see, not only does the From field contain Apple but also iCloud.
And that's true for each one of these messages. So how is this helpful? Well, you may not want to filter all of your messages from Apple. However, if you get email from your company and your company has an email domain, this is a quick way to see just those messages that have come from your company. Now one thing to note here is that messages like these have not been moved from the inbox. So if I click on my Inbox, I see that I still have these messages. It's just that when I create a smart mailbox, I now have a list of those messages that match that condition, but they haven't been moved from the inbox. One great thing to note about smart mailboxes is that they're dynamic. And that means that they'll be updated with any future messages you receive that meet those conditions So in this case it's Apple sense to be another message that contains iCloud in the from address.
That message will appear in the smart mailbox. Now that's great if you want to create a smart mailbox that includes just a single domain. But what if you want one that includes all your business contacts, or your bowling team pals, or your bee keeping buddies for example. All of whom send mail from different domains. In this case you'll need help of the contacts applications. So I'll fire up contacts and here are my contacts. What I'm going to do in this case is create a new group and I do that by going to the file menu and choosing new group. I'm going to call this Beekeepers.
Click on All Contacts and I'm going to find my Beekeeping buddies. Maria is one, so I'll drag her into Beekeepers, and Peter is as well. So now I can close out contacts. And let's create a new smart mailbox. We'll call it, Beekeepers. This case, I'm going to chose, sender is member of group. And here are my groups and Beekeepers is the one I want. Click OK and here's my Beekeeper's group and you'll see that those people that I added to that group within contacts appear within this smart mailbox. Again, they haven't been moved out of the inbox, but I now have a list that has just those people in that smart mailbox.
Again, this mailbox too is dynamically updated. One more. Go back to inbox, click on plus, and we'll create a new smart mailbox. We'll call this one old messages. And the first condition is going to read date received. Is not in the last 365 days. And I click OK.
Now, if you scan through the dates of these messages, you'll see that these are over a year old. So what good does this do you? It's likely that you don't really need this mail any longer, at least not to the point where you need it clogging up your inbox, so let's archive it. To do that I'm going to control click on this old messages mailbox And I'm going to choose export mailbox. I'll save it to the desktop so you can see where this happens and click on choose. And here's an archive of all these old messages.
At this point I can then select all these messages and I can delete them. I can do that just by clicking on the Trash button. And here they are in the trash. Now, in this case, I would delete them again, and then they would really, really be out of mail, and gone. I won't do that now,because I may need these messages later for further demonstration. Now if you later need these messages, you can import them into mail or into another mail client. For the time being I'll delete that Archive and I'll select these Messages and I'll put them back into my Inbox and Close Mail.
There are a lot of ways you can take advantages of smart mailboxes to help clean up your email. I encourage you to take a long look at the condition options avaliable to you.
- Creating smarter Smart Mailboxes
- Sharing and delegating calendars
- Syncing Google contacts
- Discovering hidden tricks within contact headings
- Scheduling startup and shutdown
- Copying files via Bluetooth
- Using a remote disc
- Creating password-protected archives
- Creating a bootable installer drive
- Repairing your keychain
- Resetting your login password