Apple Mail: Using the Append Function

| TMO Quick Tip

Ah, Apple Mail’s Append feature. It allows you to attach any number of previously sent or received messages to one you’re composing, without copying and pasting anything, and with a minimal number of keystrokes. I love things that make my life easier, and this certainly fits the bill. Here’s how you can take advantage of it.

So let’s pretend you’re writing an e-mail to your elderly Aunt Julia when you realize that you want to send her the details of that new first-person shooter video game. Rather than copying the content of the seven messages you received from Rockstar Games and pasting them one at a time into what you’re writing, you can simply go out to your Message Viewer window and select all the e-mails in question by holding down the Command key and clicking to highlight each in turn.

 

The familiar Message Viewer window, where I’ve selected some e-mails to append.

 

Then go back to the e-mail to Aunt Julia and choose the menu item Edit > Append Selected Messages. Apple Mail will pop the content of those e-mails into your work in progress, all easy-like. The messages you select don’t have to be in your inbox, either; they can be in any custom folder, your sent mail, your trash, and so on. (And for you shortcut divas out there, the one for this is Command-Option-I.)

One other quick tip: You may know that you can choose View > Customize Toolbar in many OS X applications (like Mail, Safari, and the Finder) to change the buttons that appear on the toolbar of the program. From the box that pops up, you can then drag those fancy new buttons into your toolbar to give you easy access to the features you personally use most.

 

Here’s my Mail toolbar, complete with aforementioned fancy buttons.

 

In Mail, though, the available buttons change if you’re currently composing a message. So if you start writing an e-mail and then choose View > Customize Toolbar, you can add an Append button to your composing window so you can just click it when you want to use this tip. Not everybody likes memorizing keyboard shortcuts, the weirdos. 

Here’s how the Customize Toolbar window looks when you open it with an

e-mail in progress (the arrows show my favorite options!).

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Comments

ARS

I don’t have an Append, Link or Lists button when I try to customize my Toolbar. I am using Mail Version 4.5 (1084).

Lee Dronick

Thanks! I thought that I was a power user, but this tip showed me that my battery is low.

I was going to say that I don’t the Append and several other buttons in the Customize Toolbar pane. Then I had a “D’oh!” moment realized you have to have an open new message window before choosing Customize Toolbar. Otherwise you are customizing the Inbox’s toolbar.

Darren

Okay this is a fantastic tip. I’ve been using Mail as my primary e-mail client forever and I had no idea you could create lists. Wow.

Melissa Holt

I don?t have an Append, Link or Lists button when I try to customize my Toolbar.

Hi there ARS,

As I noted in the article (and as Sir Harry was so kind to point out below), you have to start a new message and then choose Customize Toolbar. Otherwise, you’re editing the toolbar for your Message Viewer, not your composing window. Make sense?

Thanks for reading!
Melissa

Melissa Holt

I?ve been using Mail as my primary e-mail client forever and I had no idea you could create lists. Wow.

Hey Darren,

There’s actually a menu item for it, too (Format > Lists), but I find that much less convenient than adding the toolbar button. smile

Darren

There?s actually a menu item for it, too (Format > Lists), but I find that much less convenient than adding the toolbar button.

Melissa, that’s awesome. The first thing I recommend to anyone using a new program is to explore the menus and the preferences to see what it’s capable of doing… and I’ve somehow missed that all these years. Goodbye, tab-asterisk technique!

Melissa Holt

Goodbye, tab-asterisk technique!

I’m so happy to have helped in some small way!

wab95

Melissa:

Terrific tip, many thanks!

I don’t need to append that often, but have felt there should be an easy way to do it for those times that I do. Now I know!

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