Review - MailTags 2
by , 2:00 PM EDT, August 29th, 2007
Apple's Mail application offers some pretty powerful tools for organizing your email, but it could do so much more. Thanks to indev software's MailTags, it does.
MailTags is a plug-in for Mail that lets users attach metadata to messages, search tags, and create tasks and events in iCal. The big horse power behind MailTags is Apple's Spotlight technology. Yes, the same Spotlight that drives many Mac users to gouge their eyes out -- but MailTags shows just how amazing Spotlight can be when you slap a good interface on it.
The MailTags plug-in adds an unobtrusive tag icon to email messages that displays or hides the interface for adding and editing tags. Always at the ready, but never in the way.
Tags can include anything you want: Your own custom keywords, project names, or anything else you can think of to help organize your email and your life. If there are keywords you rely on all the time, the MailTags preferences, available in Mail's preferences dialog, lets you build your own list that's available to any of your email messages. If you want to add notes to an email, that's not a problem. MailTags adds a notes field to each message.
Once you start adding your own tags to messages, you'll want to take advantage of Mail's Smart Mailbox feature. The metadata MailTags adds to your messages is fully searchable, so it's easy to create mailboxes that dynamically fill with just the messages you need.
For example, I tag the emails that relate to a specific project that I'm working on. I then create a Smart Mailbox that searches for that tag, and displays all of the related messages regardless of what other mailboxes they may be filed away in. In fact, one of the Smart Mailboxes I use all the time tracks products that I am reviewing or plan on reviewing.
MailTags is also a great tool if you use Apple's iCal. It can create tasks and events in iCal for you, let you assign tasks and events to categories, and will even track their status inside Mail. The tasks and events it creates appear just like any other in iCal, so there aren't any problems syncing with the iPhone or any other devices.
Earlier versions of MailTags only worked with POP email accounts. With the release of version 2, however, IMAP support is available, too. That's a big help since IMAP is becoming more and more popular.
Unfortunately, I found that MailTags 2 created some instability for me. Occasionally when I would click the MailTags icon in a message, Mail would hang and I had to force quit the application. Luckily, the version 2.0.1 update fixed that problem for me. I haven't experienced any stability problems with Mail since installing the MailTags update.
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