Using the Mail app on your Mac you can get a special alert when an email from a specific sender arrives. This can be a sound, notification, icon bounce or even a special color for the email in your inbox. To do this, learn to use Mail rules. A rule can identify a new message and then apply an action to it. You can also have messages forwarded to another email address.



Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s look at creating special alerts for specific email that you receive.

Let’s say you are awaiting an important email from someone or you want to get a notice every time a certain person sends you an email. Well you can use Mail Rules to do a variety of things like play a special sound or give you a notification when you get an email.

So here we are in Mail and the way to set up Rules in Mail is go to Mail/Preferences and under that you have various different things like Accounts and such and you can go to Rules here. Rules allow you to set up specific actions that can happen when a set of circumstances occur. Like for instance you get a new email from a specific sender.

Let’s create a new rule here. We will call it Special Alert and we’ll set some conditions. We’ll set it just to a simple one condition here that the sender From contains and we’ll give a name of somebody just we’ll say it is John or we can actually go and say “is equal to” and give it a specific email address; anyway you want to do it. But it has to match exactly. So the person’s email address should be exactly that or the person’s name should be exactly that. It comes through in the From email message field when you get a new email.

Then we want to set what action to perform. So here we want to go and do something really simple like play a sound. We have some specific sounds we can choose here. We can use Add/Remove to add another sound you may have. So let’s just play a sound like that and it will play that sound only when you get email from that person. Hit okay. We don’t need to apply it to our messages there because we just want to play it on new messages that come through.

We can edit this by simply going and selecting Special Alert there and hitting edit. This allows us to now look at some other possibilities for alerts that we can have. For instance we can have it bounce the icon in the Dock. We can have it set the color of the message to something specific that way the message will be highlighted. There we can have it red for instance so it will show up. You can also have it Send Notification and use the Notification Center on your Mac so that you can see it very easily.

The cool thing is that you can do multiple ones of these. You can hit the Plus button here to have it play a sound but also have it bounce the icon on the Dock and for good measure to make sure we don’t miss it let’s set the color of the message of the background there to red so we see it highlighted in red or we can have the text actually appear in red in the Inbox here.

Another thing we can have it do is automatically forward the message. So this is useful say for instance in my case I have my Mac running at home all the time and if I’m out I will have my iPhone on me. A message sent to my business email I won’t necessarily notice until I check my email. But I have a personal email address that actually I get my phone to sound an alert and buzz when I get a new email sent to that. So I can have it automatically forward a copy of that message to that email address so that I get an alert right away on my phone when I get an email from a certain person.

You can add in here in the Forward some extra text if you want to remind you why you wanted to get a special alert.

You can also use other criteria other than the Sender. For instance you can use something in the Subject line and then you can tell people that if they really need to reach you they can include something in the Subject line. Or even if say you are working on a project you can be looking for a key word in the mail itself. Somebody sends you a message with the name of that project in it for instance you will also get an alert.

So there are a lot of different variations that you can play around with to get a Special Alert when you get an important email.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.


10 Responses to “MacMost Now 815: Special Email Alerts”

  1. Paul Cannon says:

    The Special Email Alerts video has been extremely useful, I have been trawling through emails searching for specific ones at times and this has just saved me a lot of time and frustration.

  2. Cathy says:

    It’s a nice feature. Be great if there was a way to do this on the iPhone and iPad as I suspect more of us are on the go….and less of us in front of a desktop now. I’ve used a pay-for app in the past but it was inelegant and difficult.

  3. Ginny Rodgers says:

    Thanks !

  4. Dena says:

    can you use this as an auto responder . For example when you are on vacation and you want all emails coming in to know you are out? It is my understanding that Mac can not do this?

    • Well, you can set a rule to automatically reply to a message. But your Mac can only do that while it is awake and receiving email. So if you want to go on vacation and leave your Mac on, with sleep turned off, and Mail running and set to check your email constantly, then yes. But usually you would not use a personal computer for this. You would instead go to your mail server’s settings and use the vacation setting there.

    • Fred says:

      Your iCloud Mail has automatic vacation response. Go to iCloud > sign in > Preferences > vacation.

  5. Kidson says:

    Is it possible to resurrect the ‘bounce back’ option in current version of Apple OSX 10.8.2?

    • Not easily, that I know of. That didn’t really serve any purpose anyway. Anyone you would want to bounce an email to (spammers) wouldn’t ever get the bounce or care if they did.

  6. richard says:

    Gary, on my Mac and in sleep mode can i set-up an alert/sound or notification telling me i’ve receiced email.
    i have no other Apple devices.

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