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How to get organised with Smart Mailboxes

Just like Finder’s Smart Folders or iPhoto’s Smart Albums, Mail can be smart too...

If you’re anything like us here at iCreate, it doesn’t take long for your email inbox to swell to bursting, making it all but impossible to track down that one particular email containing that vital snippet of information, like the time of the meeting you suspect you might already be late for. Mail is on your side though, as among a handful of useful organisational tools such as Spotlight search and message flagging, lurks an often overlooked feature – the Smart Mailbox.

Smart Mailboxes don’t contain any actual messages. They merely provide a filtered search result view of Mail’s message database, automatically sorting and displaying messages depending on whether or not they fit the criteria you set up when creating the Mailbox. Their most common use is to easily locate messages from a particular correspondent. To see how to configure this, read on.

1: Menu method

To set up a Smart Mailbox, start by launching Mail and selecting the New Smart Mailbox option from the Mailbox menu.

2: Title deed

Type a name for your Mailbox. This will appear in Mail’s sidebar, under the Smart Mailboxes header, once the Mailbox has been defined.

3: Any or all

Use the any/all pop-up to determine whether messages displayed in your Smart Mailbox should adhere to any or all of the conditions you set.

4: Configure criteria

To display messages from a particular sender, set the first pop-up to From, and the second to Contains. Then enter the required details in the text boxes.

5: Add and delete criteria

To refine the search parameters, click the round ‘plus’ button to add a criteria. Similarly, use the ‘minus’ buttons to delete criteria.

6: Check it out

If you want to include messages from the Trash and Sent Mailboxes, select the appropriate checkboxes. Once you’ve made your selections, click OK.

7: Direct address method

You can also quickly create a new Smart Mailbox directly from an email message. Click+hold on the sender’s name and select Create Smart Mailbox.

8: View messages

To view the messages that meet your criteria, simply select the correct Smart Mailbox. Messages will be displayed in the same way as your regular inbox.

9: Edit mailbox

If you need to refine the criteria, select your Mailbox and choose Edit Smart Mailbox from the Mailbox menu. Make any necessary changes and click OK.