Rules in Mail

Some people don’t like mactalk much because their inboxes get a bit overrun with mactalk emails if we’re being particularly chatty. One option for dealing with that is to set up a special mailbox for mactalk messages. Then you won’t see them unless you want to.



First we have to create a new mailbox for mactalk messages, it’s like a folder for email messages.

While in Mail, click on the word Mailbox near the top of the screen in the Menu Bar. You get a list of things, a bit more than half-way down click on the New Mailbox . . . option.

In the box that pops up the first option is Location: It probably says On my Mac in the box which is fine if you want to store mactalk messages on your machine. If you click on the blue bit at the end there you’ll be given a choice of which of your email accounts you want to put your new mailbox ‘under’. There’s no right or wrong answer here but, if it were me, I’d pick the emial account that YMUG and mactalk stuff gets sent to. (I’ve got waaaaaay too many email accounts so it’s a different issue for me.)

In the Name: box I’d just put mactalk but useless blather is good too.



Now we have to send mactalk messages to that mailbox.

Click on Mail in the Menu Bar which gives you a menu of further choices; pick Preferences.

You get a ‘dialogue box’ which looks pretty busy and confusing. To the far right, near the top is the word Rules with a funny picture above it. Click on that.

You now want to click on Add Rule. Lots of choices now . . .

Description: put whatever you want here. Some people have lots of ‘rules’ for email so they pick descriptions they can recognise if they want to make a change later.

if: leave it at any for now.

See where is says From? We want to change that to To by clicking on the little blue thing at the end of the From bit. There are TONS of choices, pick To near the top.

contains is good for what we’re doing but check out the other options if you think you might like to set up some other Mail rules.

The last box is where you put in the filter criterium . . . no, wait, that’s a bicycle race . . . criterian? . . . condition, the filter condition: put [email protected] in that box.

Okay, so you’ve told Mail what to look out for, now you’ve got to tell it what to do when it sees a message that matches your condition. So next line . . .

Move Message is good so we just need to tell it which mailbox. In the next box click on the blue bit and look for whatever name you picked for the mailbox. Notice that this is a way you could set certain messages to be automatically sent to Junk or something else.

When everything looks something like this image, click OK.

example Mail rule



If it all works as it should new mactalk messages should be automatically routed to that mailbox. So . . . how do you look into that mailbox?

When I’m using Mail I have a list of all my mailboxes and submailboxes in all my email accounts along the left side of the screen. If you can’t see something like that (including Drafts, Sent, Junk and Trash) click on View in the Menu Bar . . . long list here . . . bottom box, near the top Show Mailbox List . . . click on that.

Now you should have a sidebar which doesn’t have whiskey decanters or those cut-glass tumblers you got as a wedding present; it does have a list of your mailboxes. Some are hidden; i.e. Inbox includes all the inboxes for your different email accounts. There’s a little triangle to the left of Inbox which, if you click on it, opens up a sublist with all your inboxes. You get used to it.

If you put your mactalk mailbox On my Mac then go down the sidebar until you see On my Mac and there’s nothing there! But if you hover your mouse on On my Mac you’ll see the word Show magically appear. Click on that. Poof! Now you can see a list of all the mailboxes on your Mac. If you want to look inside one of them just click on it.

Some people who participate in mactalk send messages marked with OT (for off topic) in the subject line to a separate mailbox from the main mactalk messages. You’d want to set up a rule with two conditions that need to be met before the message is moved to your designated mailbox. If you play around a bit you can see that there are lots of different filters and actions you can create. It’s all pretty logical but don’t be surprised if you get some things wrong at first. When you get good at it you can create special mailboxes for your family, your Amazon orders, emails from Russian women looking for husbands, etc.

And I am sorry about the way Mail displays mailboxes, why some are from different accounts are grouped together (Inbox, Trash, etc) but the rest you have to access under the name of the account. It kind of makes sense but . . . I dislike it.


Whew, I think that’s just about it. Let me know if some of this is confusing or unclear and I’ll try and clarify things a bit more.

~jerad ([email protected])