The Secret Smarts of Apple Mail


The Secret Smarts of Apple Mail
Mac Tip #360, 15 October 2008

Do you use Apple’s Mail program? It has a few secret ‘smarts’ you may not have discovered yet.

Mail makes it easy to handle names, dates and phone numbers. Hover over the email address in the From field, for example. Notice how a blue ‘capsule’ is displayed? There’s a tiny white triangle at the right-hand end of that capsule.

Click the triangle to see a pop-up menu that offers choices such as Copy Address and Open in Address Book as two of half a dozen possibilities.

Or hover over the date at the top of this Tip in the body of the message. Again, a ‘capsule’ appears, in the form of a dotted line around the date, with a small grey rectangle at the right-hand end, with a white triangle inside it. Click the triangle to see a couple of options: Create New iCal Event… and Show This Date in iCal.

Have you received an email with an address in it? Hover and click to see options about adding or editing Contacts, showing a map or displaying the information in large type.

I had varying results with the map — 2 out of 3 addresses worked well. I selected Show Map…, then my preferred web browser opened, connected to Google Maps and displayed the location of the address I’d chosen.

Large Type is a delight for those who hate squinting at a screen while trying to dial the phone. Choose Large Type from the pop-up menu and the information is displayed in very large white type on a dark grey background. That’s easy to read even from across the room.

Note: As I write this Tip I’m using Version 3.5 (929.4/929.2) — that’s the one that comes with Mac OS X 10.5.5. If you have an older version of Mail, things may be different.

If you use Apple Mail experiment with names, addresses, phone numbers, dates and times to see how it could make things easier for you.

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