MacMost Now 411: Mail Quoting

Learn about how Apple Mail quotes the contents of previous messages. You can choose to have the entire message quoted in a reply, or just a portion. You can change the quote level and decide on the default location of your signature.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 411: Mail Quoting.

Hi This is Gary with MacMost Now.
On today's episode lets look at coding in apple mail.
So quoting in terms of email is when you reply somebody's email message and when you include a bit of their message in your message.
When you do that to show their question and your response.
Now there are several different ways to modify how you quote in Apple mail.
Lets take a look
So here is an email message i have recieved and i have to reply to the person sending it.
So am going to press Reply button.
So the reply is automatically addressed to the person who sent the previous email.
My cursor is here at the beginning so that i can start typing but then i have got this line here that starts the quoted area and have this which is the previous message all quoted and under that i add my signature.
So this is the default.There are lot of ways to modify this.
Most common is to highlight in the message what you want to have quoted and only what you want to have quoted.
So i just want to quote this line which may be the question that they are asking and then i can press the reply button and reply now shows only that line the quote.
Thats a great when somebody sends you a real long message and you want to answer a specific question ,you can have just one question in the quoted area and not have the rest of the message there.And the next thing you may want to do is not answer the question here at the right top of the email and go down to underneath the quoted piece of text and say if thats a question and then do your response here.
That way it kind of makes sense when they get the email they are going to read what they asked and then what your response is.
Now if you have quoted several lines of you can still insert your own text in between it.
Just put the cursor there and the return and you can see that your text is not quoted yet their text is.
If you go to Mail->Preferences ,there are several choices that you could make infact how quoting works.
First is if you go to Signatures and you go to signature for your email account,you can check Place signature above quoted text and this will allow you to basically put in your entire message above what is quoted which will all be below.
I dont like that.Myself is ,i like to answer the questions inside of the quoted text like i was just showing you.
Also you can go to composing that preference set and make several choices here.
So most notably under responding ,you can choose Quote the text of the original message or not if you don't like quotes you can completely remove them.
You can choose increase the quote level.So if its a message that has been responded to several times back and forth you can set with that to increase the quote level.All the quotes in there and when quoting text in replies you can choose what i have set it to be which is include the selected text, if any otherwise include all text or to ignoring the selected text and include it all and that you want it to.
So here is the message i have got in that has already been responded to.This is the third pass on this email when i hit reply,i can see that there is two levels of quoting here,i have got the entire message quoted and i have got the original message double quoted there.
I can change the level of any line in here by simply going to Format and then quote level and then increase or decrease.
And also use Command and apostrophe and absa command and apostrophe.
So lets use those ,i can for instance do ,absa command and apostrophe and bring that down to quote level all the way down to low quotes and bring it up ,and even add more.
This is useful when say you are bringing together the whole message and you kinda of want to quote somebody even though you are not responding directly to the email,like, like this.And i can indent this with a quote level there and thats also useful when you are copying or pasting from different documents and trying to put together in a email message that uses quoting like this.
So this is also a matter of etiquette.If you get one of those emails that is bounced around from person to person and by the time you get it,its several pages long but you only ever will need a couple of sentences and information out of it.Well the thing you do is before you float it on or quote that email to somebody else,make sure you are only quoting the necessary information,so that they can quickly read it and respond to you.
Hope you liked this look at quoting in Apple Mail.
Till next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 9 Responses to “MacMost Now 411: Mail Quoting”

    9 years ago

    Thanks Gary. Is there a way I can set the default font when composing a mail?

      9 years ago

      Yes. Go into Mail’s Preferences. Choose Fonts & Colors. Press the Select button next to the “Message font” and set the new font and size. This only works, of course, if you have new messages set to be “rich text” in the Composing preferences too.

    9 years ago

    I noticed that when I send e-mails to PC users using Outlook, sometimes the font that I use gets changed. I noticed it when they reply to me with my message quoted that my quote has a different font, and sometimes it even has several fonts or sizes even though in my original mail it all looked the same on my screen.
    Originally I thought it was because I used a font that is not installed on the recipients computer. I therefore switched the default font to Arial because I thought this would be a commonly installed font. But it does not seem to solve the problem.
    The messages sometimes really look bad which I find embarrassing and its so unpredictable as everything looks great on my screen, ie all Arial 14pt and then the recipient gets half in Arial and half in Times Roman and in two different font sizes.

    Is there any setting or trick to avoid this? Or what font and size would you recommend using to minimise this problem?

      9 years ago

      I avoid this by using plain text email. :)
      But when using rich text, it really comes down to what the person on the other end has, and their settings. There are many versions of Outlook in use, and older ones probably don’t display as well as newer ones.
      The only way to make them look good for certain is to work closely with people you regularly correspond with and get them to send you screen shots as you try different things.

    9 years ago

    As i recent convert from PC to iMac, I miss some features in Outlook that I cannot find in Mail:
    1. The ability to request received and read receipts, on emails I send, and
    2. The ability to highlight a section of an email, eg say in a yellow “highlighter pen” effect.

    Is there a way to achieve these in Mail, and/or is there an app that produces these desired outcomes?

    Cheers, Charles

      9 years ago

      The first one is tricky. I don’t know how Outlook did this. It either had to rely on the other person also using Outlook and on some sort of private (Exchange?) system, or it installed little “bugs” in the message, like tiny images that would signal when an email message was opened. Both are unreliable as the receiver could simply be outside of your system, or could have such bugs blocked. I didn’t think this was done much anymore because of privacy concerns. Think of what spammers could do with such functionality!
      The second one — I wonder if that worked. I mean, did the person receiving the email see the highlight? What if they didn’t have Outlook? You can make text any color you want in Mail, using standard rich text, but I don’t see a way to change the background color.

    7 years ago

    I’m wondering whether I can change the way Apple Mail quotes messages so that it displays all the information in the previous e-mail more systematically. Currently, Apple Mail precedes the quoted message with

    “On [date & time], [sender] wrote:”

    But I would rather it appear like

    From: [sender e-mail]
    Date: [date/time]
    To: [all recipients of this e-mail… Mail’s quote method doesn’t allow you to backtrack!]
    Subject: [Message subject when sent… again can’t backtrack]

    This way it contains more information so that you can look back and see more specifics about the e-mail that was sent… also I’m wondering if there’s a way for Mail to separate the quoted message from the new message with a horizontal line extending the entire page? I would rather it do that than indent with a vertical bar.

      7 years ago

      I don’t know of any way to do that.

        7 years ago

        I have been through this situation also and I found this after hours of searching for the solution and it works like a charm. use with Lion Mail hope it works with others (Leopards and Snow). Follow the instruction in Github page with easy steps. Hope this help.

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