Mountain Lion: Integrating Emails with Reminders

| TMO Quick Tip

I like to use my inbox to remind me to follow up on emails. When I have no messages there, I know I’m done with all of the social interaction I’ll have for the day. Whew! However, because of Mountain Lion’s new Reminders app and the way it integrates with Mail, I don’t have to do that anymore. I can now add a message to my reminder list and get a helpful link back to the original email, no matter where I’ve filed it away. A cleaner inbox? Thanks, Mountain Lion!

So all you have to do is pick up a message in Mail that you need to take action on and drop it into the Reminders window…

…and you’ll get a new reminder, complete with a link to view the message.

The program will set the subject of the email as the title of the reminder, and if you’d like, you can then click the small “i” that appears when you hover over it to add notifications or change its priority. 

You can also select the reminder and press Command-I (View > Show Info) to do the same thing if you’re fond of shortcuts. I know I am. And you guys probably know that, too, since I so rarely shut up about it.



Nice feature!  Odd thing I noticed…if there are no entries in a reminder list, you have to drag the email to the reminder list title. After there is at least one entry, you can drag to the list body.

Melissa Holt

Oooo, thanks for pointing that out, cjpitt! I appreciate it. smile


I’ll be using this a lot. Unfortunately, the “Show in Mail” link doesn’t work in Reminders on the iPad.

Melissa Holt

Hey macgeek4life,

Yep, unfortunately the “Show in Mail” doesn’t carry over to iOS. Which I sincerely hope they fix?that’d be AWESOME.


Paul Goodwin

Very slick. Thanks.  And yeah, it would be nice if in iOS Mail they’d add a send to reminders function on the drop down that only has Reply, Forward, and Print. And include the mail link in the reminder. I have so many personal folders that it may be worth the upgrade cost for Mountain Lion just to get that feature. But I use the iPad way more for email than the computer, so I really hope this gets into the next iOS release



Well, it worked fine for three e-mails and now Reminders refuses to accept any more.

Any ideas?

Melissa Holt

You’re welcome, Paul!

r.boylan, I haven’t seen that behavior, but I would try quitting Reminders and Mail and reopening them. Does that fix it?


Also note that it (apparently) has to be an individual email message…not a ‘thread’ of email messages. If within a thread…you have to select an individual email message and drag it over to Reminders.

Melissa Holt

Yep, cjpitt, that’s how it’s working for me. But I hate Organize by Conversation, so I may be the odd person out here. wink


That’s a nice email management tips, thanks.

But it’s a shame that more and more apparent feature haven’t been fully integrated in Apple’s solutions.

What I mean it that this function is almost useless just for the fact that haven’t pay attention to iOS Reminder.  Even if reminder sync, you can’t see email and as you can’t link an email to a reminder in iOS.

The point of Reminder on a Mac is to have it work with mobile devices.  I hope Apple will refine new function implementation.


The point of Reminder on a Mac is to have it work with mobile devices.  I hope Apple will refine new function implementation.

Honestly, I expect this function to show up in iOS 6 in a few months.

Doc Rock

I have a weird issue.  This totally work when i had Sparrow Installed. After MT. Lion I hated Sparrow so I went back to not it does not process the “Show in Mail” link

The handler request looks something like:


Any Ideas on how to re-associate it with mail.  I also went into mail preferences and made sure the default mail program was Mail 6.1


Melissa Holt

Hi there Doc,

Did you create these reminders by dragging in a message from Sparrow when that’s what you were using? If so, then you will probably have to search for those messages and re-create the reminders from Mail.

Does the feature work now if you drag a message from Mail and create a new one?


Doc Rock

It was from But I figured it out it was an old copy of sparrow on an old Lion internal drive causing the error. I fixed.


Melissa Holt

Glad to hear it, Doc! smile


Thank you for this post! I was missing this feature, since Apple removed notes and Todos from “Mac Mail” before Mountain Lion. But this is a good enough replacement

Melissa Holt

Happy to help, Doogie!


Hello Melissa and thanks for a fine post.

I have a problem though, seems like I experience the same thing as r.boylan up above.

Some E-Mails that I drag doesn’t register in Reminders. When I drag an E-Mail and hover one of the categories it should turn Blue to show which category the reminder will be registered in, for some e-mails this doesn’t happen.

If i drop the e-mail directly among my other Reminders nothing happens either. It is like the reminders application doesn’t register that the mouse is above it.

Do you have any idea what might cause this?

Thanks in advance

Melissa Holt

Hi there SDNO,

I’m not sure. I just tried the things you mentioned, and they work fine for me. Maybe the thing to do is to try to figure out what the emails that won’t work have in common. Do they have attachments? If so, does it work for one type of attachment, but not others? Are they from a particular person or email domain?

If we could answer some of those questions, perhaps we’d be closer to solving the mystery!



Hello again and thanks for the comment Melissa.

Well, I have tried the following:
With and without Attachments.
With and without image signature
with and without HTML Content.

Seems to be quite random at first glance.
I will try check out if there might be a correlation between sender/domain or something like that.

Melissa Holt

Let me know if you figure anything out! I’m curious. smile



good article, but…

this only works if the mail app is not in full-screen mode.

just thought to add that info out there…

Melissa Holt

Hi Jeff,

It will work with Mail in full-screen mode—you’ve just gotta be a little tricksy (and use both hands)! In Mail, pick up and hold the email you need to be reminded of. Keep holding your mouse or trackpad button down, and use the Command-Tab shortcut with your other hand to get to the Reminders app. Then drop your Mail message onto Reminders as above.

Hope that helps!


Hmmm, trying to do exactly that but I only see a little envelope without it letting me create a reminder with it… ?!


Found it. Only works when grabbing the header section of the email itself. Selecting it from the list of emails won’t work.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account