spectating participant

February 20, 2008

OS X Mail Rules and User Intelligence

Filed under: geek — suzanne henderson @ 1:58 pm

For months I’ve been very frustrated about the limited power of mail’s rules to do what I want. What I wanted was to review all messages from an email list I’m on and only keep the ones with a certain subject line. To try and make do, I made rule after rule deleting all the messages with other subject lines but that wasn’t enough and was too labor intensive too.

I saw that applescripts could be of some help but I didn’t want to go that direction. What I really wanted was the ability to say if message matched x and any of y (with lots of variables) then do z.

After months of random search failures, my brain finally flipped on a switch when it remembered that the rules are run in order of preference and that I could simply make two rules to do what I wanted. The first rule found the messages I wanted to keep and sorted them into the proper folder. The second rule deleted everything else. Here I spent so much time being frustrated when a rather simple solution was waiting for me the entire time.

I still feel like it would be useful if you could have rules that with more options that just “match any” or “match all” because I can see lots of instance where you’d want to run a rule on all messages from a certain sender that match a variety of (aka “any”) variables. As far as I can tell, short of writing an applescript to do this, it isn’t an option at this time.