1/13/219:00 am 10 Ways To Customize Mac Mail Mail is one of the most customizable apps that comes with macOS. You can change how you view your list of email, access mailboxes, read messages and much more. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let me show you ten ways you can customize the Mail app on your Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 800 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. Now the Mail app is what most Mac users use to read their email. There are a lot of customization options in Mail. You can change how you view all the messages that come in. What the messages look like. The Toolbars. All sorts of things. So let's take a look at the different ways you can customize it so it works better for you. So some of these things are new in macOS Big Sur. One of those is, how the Sidebar here that shows the mailboxes works particularly when it comes to the Favorites at the top. Notice you have Favorites here at the top. Maybe some other things like Smart Mailboxes. Then you have a section for each account. So I've got an iCloud email account and a MacMost email account. There's a button here to Hide or Show all the mailboxes for each account. Now I know a lot of people don't like having to go all the way down in this list to access some of these mailboxes. You don't have to because you can add what you want to Favorites. So customize Favorites to fit your needs. For instance here under Favorites I have All Inboxes. I could open that up and see both inboxes for both accounts. But I could also do the same to Archive. Let's say I want to add the Archive mailbox for my iCloud account up here as well. I could drag that up and add it there. I could do the same thing say with this account as well. Drag it up to Favorites and add it. I could arrange these as I like. So let's put that one down there, that one down there. Once I have the mailboxes that I actually use up here in Favorites I can just close these so I don't have to clutter up the Sidebar with them. Now if you don't want to see these mailboxes at all you don't have to. You can go to View and then choose Hide Mailbox List. That gets rid of the list completely giving you lots of extra room for the messages and viewing each message. But you could still do everything even though you can't see the mailboxes. For instance if you select a message, like this one, I could easily move it to any mailbox I want in a variety of ways. I could go to Message, Move to. I could Control Click, two-finger click on a trackpad or right click on a Mouse, and then choose Move To. Or I could use the button here in the Toolbar to move it to anywhere I want. If you want to view a different mailbox, here I'm viewing all inboxes, you could do that as well. Just go to Mailbox and then Go To Favorite Mailbox and you'll see some mailboxes listed here. These correspond to the Favorites up here at the top. So if you want anything to appear in that Go To Favorite Mailbox List. Just make sure it's added up here in Favorites. You could even see there are keyboard shortcuts assigned to those. So if you learn those keyboard shortcuts you could jump around to different mailboxes without ever needing to see the Sidebar. Then, of course, you always could bring up and hide the Sidebar with Shift Command M, the keyboard shortcut, very easily. Now by default you'll see your list of messages and then whatever message is selected you'll see a preview to the right. But it doesn't have to be to the right. You could go to View and then use Show Bottom Preview. Now your list of messages is at the top and it goes all the way across. Your Preview is at the bottom. You can grab this line here and drag it up to create a larger preview area. You could also go with no preview at all. So if I take this line here and I drag it all the way to the right the preview goes away. So how do you read your messages? Well, just double click on anyone of them and it will open up here in a new window. Some people may prefer it that way. If you want to get it back all you need to do is move your cursor over to the right side of the screen until you see the cursor change to something like this. Then drag to the left. You have to drag far enough and then it will appear. If you want this line to go back to its default location just double click. Now a completely different way to view your messages is with the Column Layout. Go to View, Use Column Layout, and now you get something that looks like this. You have a list at the top. It's looks kind of like List View in the Finder. You have different columns here and you can Control Click, two-finger click on a trackpad or right click on a Mouse, and Add or Remove columns. You can easily Sort By these columns by simply clicking on them. Then with a message selected, the message preview appears at the bottom. But you can change the message preview to go to the side as well. Another way to customize how email works is to choose whether or not to organize your messages by conversation. So here I have a message here that's obviously a response to a previous message. So what exactly was said before. What's the whole thread. Well, you could go to View, Organize By Conversation. Now when I select this I actually see the entire conversation including messages that I've sent so I could follow along. Now another way to customize Mail is to customize the Toolbar here at the top. See all of these different buttons here. You can completely customize this Toolbar. You can Control Click on the Toolbar and choose Customize Toolbar. But you could also go to View, Customize Toolbar. You could see there are a ton of different buttons you could add here. You could also remove some. So you could add some here like, for instance, I could do an Archive button here on the left side so it's a little closer to right above the top message. Maybe remove the Reply,Reply All and Forward completely to put a Reply button instead here on the left. A standard alone Forward button here. You could also switch from Icon Only to Icon and Text so you could see what each button is labeled and also Text Only if you prefer that. If you ever want to reset it to the Default set you can just drag this here up and it resets everything. You also have the ability in Mail to Hide the Toolbar completely. That gets rid of it and creates more space to use. If you don't ever use those buttons, you use keyboard shortcuts or Menu commands, then you don't really need the Toolbar. Now when talking about the Toolbars Mail is different than most other apps in that there is a second toolbar. When you either reply to a message or compose a new one then you get this special toolbar here at the top that's different from the main one. You can customize that one as well. You can see if I do Customize Toolbar with the composition window open there are different buttons and different things that I could add. So add the things that you use the most while writing or replying to messages. Now, of course, there are many customizations under Mail, Preferences. Let's go to Fonts & Colors. Here we can change the fonts used in the list here. So say this text is too small. I can click here to select and make that bigger so it's easier to read here. I could also change the message font and make that larger as well. Of course the final result of what you get here in the message really depends on what was sent to you. Somebody sends you html email with specific fonts and sizes in it, then changing the message font may not have the same effect. But of course also under Viewing there are lots of things you can change. For instance, in List Preview you could go from two lines to up to five to include more of the message or None if you rather just see the subject. Now here's a bonus tip. Mail works a little differently than other apps when you're looking at it in full screen view. So I'm going to click the green button here to go to Full Screen View for Mail. So far it looks just fine. But what if I'm to compose a new message or reply to an existing one because normally another window would open up. But we're in Full Screen View which doesn't allow for other windows. But Mail has a special feature where when you open up a composition window it goes to the split screen view. So you still have Full Screen View with no menu bar, no dock, nothing else. But now you've split the screen between two windows. Your Mail window where you can see your messages. Notice the Sidebar automatically went away because there is no room for it. You could still browse your messages and look at them over here which is handy for reference. Then the other side is now your composition window with its own Toolbar and everything. As soon as you send this message, or maybe if you go to the top here and just click X to dismiss that message window, it goes away and you're back to full screen. The same thing is true if you were to actually remove the message preview area. So now you're in Full Screen with no message preview area. So I double click on this message to read it and it gives me that message viewed in split screen which is a really handy way to view email. Now I can view this message here. I could close it. I can go and double click to view this message here. It's a little neater than opening up a new window and having different windows floating around. But it does allow you to view most of your messages in this one big long list. It also works well if you're using Column Layout or without Column Layout but you go into Preferences and then have the List Preview set to maximum so you could see as much as the message as possible. So there's some different ideas about how to customize Mac Mail to fit your needs. Related Subjects: Mail (84 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 44 Responses to “10 Ways To Customize Mac Mail” Russ Winkler 3 years ago I have a section in the sidebar titled, "On My Mac". What is this for? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Russ: It is for messages stored on your Mac and not on any server. You can create mailboxes there to move messages to and have them only stored on that one device. I don't recommend using it, but maybe for drafts. Jesper Vogelius 3 years ago Hi Gary, Is it possible to "merge" mailboxes under favourites like e.g. inboxes? I would like to move some boxes from all my accounts to favourites but only want to see one that I can expand if needed. thanks in advance Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Jesper: Merging mailboxes would mean copying all of the messages from one mailbox to another and deleting the empty one. There's no way to merge a mailbox but only in Favorites as Favorites just shows your normal mailboxes. You could create a Smart Mailbox with conditions that specified any email in both. Not sure how well that would work but try it and see. Norm Probst 3 years ago I send and receive message for personal and trustee business under the same Yahoo account. I have been saving many of my email for trustee business in folders by year under the Yahoo account name because I often need to look back for messages. I also would like to transfer the correspondence to my successor eventually. What is best way to move this correspondence in these folders to my Mac in way that I could give them to someone? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Norm: "Best" is subjective. But maybe in this case use multiple methods. Why not? Export them as .eml files. Then also export them as PDFs. Give both. See https://macmost.com/better-ways-to-organize-important-email-messages-on-your-mac.html for ideas. Brian Edmond 3 years ago I have three mailbox accounts but when I receive mail addressed to one account it is deposited in the wrong account? e,g, my bus emails go to my Gmail acc? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Brian: Not sure what you are seeing. Incoming email isn't "deposited" anywhere, you are just viewing the different mailboxes. So when you select JUST one account's inbox, you would be viewing just the messages in that account's inbox. Sue Herrmann 3 years ago Hi Gary, I enjoy the All Inboxes displaying all the emails from my three different email accounts. I have created Smart Mailboxes to collect my most read emails. However, now I have two copies of those emails, one in All Inboxes, and one in the Smart Mailbox. If I delete one from All Inboxes, it also deletes it in the Smart Mailbox and vice versa. I was hoping the Smart Mailbox would file the email out of site. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Sue: You don't have two copies. A Smart Mailbox is just a different way to look at your messages. Think of it like a playlist in Music/iTunes or an album in Photos. The message is there once, but you have different ways of grouping them now. nick 3 years ago hi Gary, how should Archive be used? I like to save important emails in the native Mail format in specific folders I created in Finder, but always wondered if there are advantages in using Archive. thx Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago nick: It is all a matter of personal preference. Plus, no reason you can't do both. The advantage to saving everything in your Archive like I do is there is one place to search. I don't have to think about whether an email I'm looking for was important enough to be in one place or the other. Everything is in Archive so I search there. nick 3 years ago Gary: I like the idea of having al email in one place. I have 3 email accounts, if I archive emails, will they go into each account Archive? Also, does the search within an Archive look at all text within the emails? I'm just trying to anticipate what the search terms might be. Thanks for taking the follow up question :) Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago nick: When you archive an email, it goes to the archive for its account. Search should look at all text, but it really depends on the email service. The Mail app just asks the service for results. Braden Minaker 3 years ago My favorite customization is to turn on "view favorites bar" and then I can maximize my screen space by minimizing the mailboxes. With this I can put any folders that I would need to go into, or you can even drag a message to one of those favorites right in the bar. I love it since I keep my folders pretty simple. Petri 3 years ago When you group related messages it show you all the conversations that took place with the newest at the bottom. Is there a setting to switch this around and put the latest at the top? Petri 3 years ago Garry I got the box to tick for that David Wright 3 years ago I use Rules to pre-sort my emails for things like Priority; News Letters; Family; etc. and move them to an appropriate folder. Would it be better, or more efficient, to use Smart Mailboxes instead of the Rules feature? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago David: Up to you. Just two different ways to do it. I don't use rules or multiple mailboxes as I don't want to create complexity that isn't needed. I find searching my archive is all I need. But Smart Mailboxes are just searches that are easy to access, so in a way that's not far from how I do it. Sue Herrmann 3 years ago After expanding my Mail window to full screen, when I double click on an email to open it, or create a new email, it doesn't go to split screen. A new, smaller window opens on top of my Mail window. The split screen would help in responding. Is there another way to do it? I have the latest update to Big Sur on a MacBook Pro. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Sue: Perhaps you turned this off? Look in Mail, Preferences, General for "Prefer opening messages in split view when in full screen." Sue Herrmann 3 years ago That was it! Thank you. I never turned it off. Apparently it had not been checked when updated. kirsten 3 years ago Hi Gary, I installed Big Sur and now every time I open an e-mail, it shows e-mail by conversation, which I find EXTREMELY annoying. I can only turn it off by clicking 'hide related messages' (since show by conversation was already turned off!), but that only works once for every mail. And then when you go to the next mail in your inbox: it's with conversations again. Do you know how to fix this? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago kirsten: Turn off View, Organize By Conversation. Kirsten 3 years ago Hi Gary, that's what I said: show by 'conversation' (or: organize by conversation) is already turned off but STILL it shows e-mail by conversation. The only way I can turn if off now is by clicking (a bit further below) on 'hide related messages', but that only works for one mail/conversation at a time, it's not a general setting for all mails. Seems like a bug or something? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Kirsten: Then how about Mail, Preferences, Viewing and "Include Related Messages." Does that fix it? Kirsten 3 years ago That's already checked as well. However: without restarting, rebooting or anything, the problem now seems to have stopped. I find Big Sur to be very frustrating so far, it seems really buggy. Dragging a calendar appointment to another date often doesn't work either, until you click another appointment, drag that around for a moment and then try again with the original one you wanted to move. Things like that. ANYWAY: thank you for trying to help out, I really appreciate it!! Sue Smith 3 years ago Hi Gary, How can I customize my mail sidebar so my email accounts are listed first and my folders after the emails? When I upgraded to Big Sur the sidebar flipped and folders are now above my email accounts. Thanks! Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Sue: Just move what you want to Favorites. Linda K 3 years ago If I close the mail preview screen - drag it all the way to the right - I no longer see the preview, BUT does that also stop it from opening? or does it still open, just out of sight? I get 100's of unwanted emails, unsubscribing seems to multiply them, and most of them never actually unsubscribe, no matter how many times I try. The opening of the preview screen seems to slow down my deleting when each frame opens even if I do it as fast as I can. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Linda: Not sure. But it doesn't really matter. Yes, I can see how it would speed up deleting messages, but it could also slow you down if there is a message you aren't sure about. It sounds like your email service isn't doing a good job with junk mail. Maybe consider switching. See https://macmost.com/how-to-really-stop-getting-spam-email.html Gilbert M 3 years ago Hi Gary, I finally upgraded to Big Sur. I'm frustrated by the layout of the toolbar. Thhe "reply, reply all & forward" buttons have not only been condensed into an arrow, but that this arrow is all the way over to the right. It's not logical and requires more track pad motion to the right. If I'm not mistaken these buttons were straight up from the list of emails. Is there a way to move the reply-replay all and forward buttons over to the left? I went under customize toolbar & you can't.Thanks. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Gilbert: You can customize the toolbar in Mail and almost any app. See https://macmost.com/how-to-customize-app-window-toolbars-on-your-mac.html Cortjan 3 years ago Hi Gary, Using Big Surs Mail is there a possibility to completely turn off 'Grouping Conversations' for all postboxes/folders in one setting? Or is there only a tick/untick option per postbox/folder? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Cortjan: View, Organize By Conversation. allison 2 years ago How do I change the toolbar in mail to gray slate. Everything is white. I would like the mail sidebar/favorites bar to be grew and messages in black with white background. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Allison: You can't theme the toolbars. Maybe try switching to Dark Mode if you want a more radical change. Or look at some of these options: https://macmost.com/10-ways-to-customize-the-look-of-macos-big-sur.html Karen 2 years ago I just created a new mailbox in my mail account and it appeared at the bottom of my list of mailboxes. When I tried to drag it up to where I want it, it bounced back to the bottom. I have always been able to drag and drop mailboxes in the past but I think this may be the first time I've tried it since installing Big Sur. Is there a trick? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Karen: The sidebar is broken into sections by account. You can drag within your section, or you can drag to the Favorites section at the top. You can't drag from one account to the other as that doesn't make sense. Karen 2 years ago Got it. It works. Thanks. Randy 2 years ago Any way to have the inboxes (just inboxes) from my 5 accts at the top of the sidebar (in Favorites), but have the Favorites bar listing only folders/sub-mailboxes. My workflow has me quickly sorting mail from inboxes into sub-folders. This was possible in Catalina, but it seems that they dumbed down the app in Big Sur. Thanks! Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Randy: Those are just two different ways to view your Favorites. Randy 2 years ago Thanks, Gary. What I basically want is to have items in my Favorites section of the sidebar that are different from the Favorites bar across the top. Possible? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Randy: Not possible. Maybe just have Favorites in the Favorites bar and have it closed in the sidebar. Comments Closed.