3 Toolbar Icons to Make OS X Mail more Powerful

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If you right- or Control click on the grey area at the top of Mail’s window, you can choose “Customize Toolbar” from the pop-up that appears.

Afterward, you’ll find a ton of convenient buttons that you can drag into your toolbar for easy use. 

That’s…that’s a lot of possibilities.

Today we’re going to be talking about three of my favorites—“Show Related Messages,” “Redirect,” and “Move.” I hope you think they’re as handy as I do!


1. Show Related Messages. Some people like the “Organize by Conversation” feature, which is available under the View menu:

I personally have always turned that off, as it makes more sense to me to look at emails as individual items as opposed to a long chain of responses. If you’re like me, you can use this “Show Related Messages” button to temporarily show the conversation for the selected email only, which is darned useful if you want to see the responses to something you’re looking at.

Beats pawing through the sent folder or having “Organize by Conversation” on all of the time. In my opinion, at least.


2. Redirect. Using “Redirect” is a different method for forwarding emails when you’d like someone else to respond to them. As you know, when you forward a message the usual way, Mail will change the color of the quoted text and put the forwarding info at the top:

When the person you’ve forwarded it to clicks “Reply,” it’ll of course send the response back to you, as you’re the one who forwarded it! 

If you use “Redirect,” though, it not only leaves out all of that quoted text formatting…

…but when the person you’ve redirected the message to clicks “Reply,” the response will go back to the original sender, just as if the email had been sent to the appropriate person in the first place. 


3. Move. Of course, you can always drag and drop emails into your mailboxes using the sidebar if that blows your skirt up, but I really like using the “Move” button instead. You just have to select the item you want to file away, and then click the “Move” button to get an easy drop-down to tell it where to go.

For people with dexterity problems especially, this is often easier than dragging and dropping, as you don’t have to simultaneously hold your mouse or trackpad button down while you’re scrolling the sidebar. I find that I end up putting things in the wrong place far less often this way! Maybe you will, too, if you have fifty bazillion mailboxes you’ve organized stuff in.

But…um…if that’s what you’ve done, can I interest you in a tip on archiving your messages out of Mail? No offense.

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Eolake Stobblehouse 1

Great tip. I think Mail now has a distinct poverty of buttons. If I remember right, I don’t even see a New Message button.

By the way, I only have about thirty-five bazillion mail boxes, so do I need the Move button?


The New Message is always there in the main mail window (new Finder Window).

I do miss the plus and minus that used to be at the bottom of the folder column. That seems to have disappeared in El C. Now it’s a teeny plus sign that you would not even know is there, if you didn’t accidentally mouse over next to the words “On My Mac” that triggers the + to suddenly appear. Sometimes all the hidden stuff for the sake of clean design gets annoying when you have to find it again.

Another example of hidden useful stuff is when you open an eMail with an attachment. If you want to save the attachment run your mouse over the middle of the very faint line that divides the body of the eMail from the To, From, Subject area and suddenly a set of arrows, etc. appears that you can click on to trash, forward, or save the attachment to a folder. I hit that one day, years ago by accident and discovered I no longer had to drag and drop the attachments to a folder.


Correction. That should read “new VIEWER Window,” in Mail not new Finder Window.

Melissa Holt

Thanks for the comments!

Eolake, 35 bazillion is indeed a qualifying number, just so you know. wink


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