Apple Mail: Using the Append Function

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!).