How to use keyboard shortcuts to move Mail messages
Quick Mac Tip, 10 April 2011
You can use the power of the System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts facility to easily move Mail.app messages into a different folder by a single key combination.
This guest Tip is written by Graham McKay.
Double check the menu item
The first thing is to take a note of the exact spelling of the menu item that corresponds to moving the message to the folder.
Graham McKay is a long time corporate IT guy, originally from NZ but now in Sydney, who has recently decided to break out of the grey suited world and share his extensive Apple OS X troubleshooting skills via his own consulting company.
In Mail select any message then using the menu bar, click on
Message then move your cursor to the
Move To sub menu to see the list of folders. In my example the folder is simply called
This method will encounter problems if you have more than one folder or subfolder with the same name.
Set a custom keyboard shortcut
Back in the
Keyboard shortcuts window select
Application Shortcuts on the left and then click on the plus button to add a new keyboard shortcut.
In the dropdown window that appears select the
Menu Title box.
Then tab to, or click within, the
Keyboard Shortcut box to position the cursor there.
At this point you need to decide what keyboard combination you want to use for the shortcut. I generally use the
Control (⌃) key and the first letter of the folder — in this example then it is
Control (⌃) W.
Click on the Add button then go back to the Mail window.
Check the Message menu in Mail
Bring up the Message > Move To menu item again to see that your keyboard shortcut is now listed next to that folder name.
Now if you select a message and press
Control (⌃) W it’ll be moved to the
Does Mail Copy instead of Move?
Important note: Mail will also have a menu item called
Work under the
Copy To option and hence your
Control (⌃) W might perform a copy instead of a move.
To get Mail into the frame of mind to do a move rather than a copy, perform a single move using your mouse and the menu. After that the keyboard shortcut will use first preference of the