iOS 5: Quote Levels and Text Formatting in Mail

iOS 5 is packed with new features, but the best ones to me always mean that I gain the ability to do things on my iPhone that I can already do on my Mac. For example, I’ve long been a fan of Mail’s Format > Quote Level functionality for calling out text I’ve pulled from the Web or another e-mail, but now I can do that on my iPhone, too. Included also is the ability to add text formatting (like italics) to our e-mails. Awesomesauce—my phone’s becoming more and more like a mini-Mac every day. We live in the future, people.

You’re probably familiar with how Mail on your Mac uses colored bars to indicate quoted text from previous e-mails. The more colored bars there are, the more times the text in question has flown back and forth.

As I mentioned, I love using the Format > Quote Level command in Mail to selectively add those bars to text I’m quoting and the like (or to take some bars off of text if they’ve become egregious). So to access this same feature while you’re composing a message on your iOS 5 device, touch and hold briefly on a block of text, then release. You’ll see the “Select” menu pop up. Note that you have a new arrow to the right of “Select All” that you can click on.

Doing that and then choosing the “Quote Level” option that follows gives you the choice of increasing or decreasing those lovely colored bars, which is excellent news if you, for example, are pasting in text from another person and would like to indicate it in a professional, attractive way. What? I can be professional sometimes. Can so.

Of course, you probably don’t need to increase the quote level three times like I’ve done here.

Next, let’s add some text formatting to our message. To do that, tap and hold briefly on your text again, but this time, use “Select” to, well, select some text. You’ll get another arrow with more options hidden beneath it. If you choose that one, you’ll see the button that will allow you to add bold, italic, or underline formatting to your text.

If you’d like to skip a step here, double-tapping a single word selects it automatically. 

I could add something snarky about how long I’ve been wishing for a way to do these things, but I won’t. That’s how classy and professional I am, folks. Never you mind the fact that I just ate some peanut butter right out of the jar for lunch.