Using Mac OS X 10.2’s Mail application

One of the inclusions in OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) is Apple’s newly improved built-in Mail application. Working in conjunction with Apple’s own .Mac Internet services (including Web e-mail), Address Book, iChat and iCal calender software, Mail is designed from the ground up to be easy to use.

Alternative software for Mac OS X includes the mail clients bundled with Netscape and other Mozilla-based Web browsers, Entourage X (part of Micro­-soft’s Office v.X for Mac), the popular Eudora (, MailSmith ( and Powermail (

The Mail icon looks like a stamp and should be visible in your Dock. When you first launch Mail you’ll need to enter your name, e-mail address and incoming mail server. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or separate e-mail provider will be able to help you with the server details. Additionally, you’ll need to indicate whether you’re accessing a POP server (Post Office Protocol — the most common server type) or an IMAP server (Internet Message Access Protocol — stores messages on an IMAP server).

Next, you’ll need to enter your account’s user name, password and the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol — the standard protocol for sending e-mail), also known as the outgoing mail server. Again, your service provider will help you determine these details if you’ve misplaced them.

You can re-enter your account details or even create multiple accounts later by clicking on the Mail menu, selecting Preferences and then selecting either Add Account or Edit.

After you’ve entered your account details, you can choose to import e-mail messages from another e-mail program. You can import from Entourage, Outlook Express, Claris Emailer 2.0v3, Netscape 4 and above, Eudora, previous versions of Mail for Mac OS X, and standard mbox files.

In Mail, the Delete, Reply, Reply to all, Forward, Compose and Get mail icons are all in the main tool bar. The default Mailboxes are In, Out, Draft and Sent. The sliding pane on the right displays these, which can be hidden by clicking the Mailboxes icon in the tool bar. New Mailboxes can be created by holding down and clicking the right-side Mailbox pane, or from under the Mailbox menu. Deleting or renaming a Mailbox can be done in the same way.

Preference options include how often to check for new mail, notification sounds, fonts and colours, amount of header information displayed, and spell checking. The Signatures icon allows you to add information such as your contact details automatically at the end of each e-mail you send.

Sorting your mail

Filters: From the Rules option in Preferences you can add, edit, duplicate or remove rules. Clicking Add Rule will allow you to define what happens to selected e-mails you receive. As you can see at the bottom right of FIGURE 1, you’ll first need to enter a description of the rule. This feature would be great for separating mailing list e-mails into a dedicated Mailbox folder. Then, you’ll need to select whether this rule will be enacted if any or all of specified conditions are met. Using the drop-down list boxes, you can select variations ranging from who sent an e-mail to a key word it contains in its message or subject line, and then decide if you want to play a sound, forward it, reply, flag it or move it to a particular Mailbox.

Junk Mail: From the Mail-Junk Mail menu you can set Junk Mail filtering to Off, Training, Automatic or Custom. Mail begins in training mode, which this allows you to mark selected images as Junk using the Junk icon in the viewer tool bar. The messages will then become coloured. When Mail is satisfactorily filtering your Junk messages, you can set Junk Mail filtering to automatic. Selecting Custom is similar to establishing standard rules, and, if used and refined properly, can be very useful to help eliminate the impact of spam.

Bounce spam: A neat trick with Mail to help stop spammers mailing you is to select a spam message and select Bounce to sender from inside the Message menu. This will make the sender receive a reply saying that your e-mail address is not valid before the message you receive is moved to your deleted messages folder.

Searching your mail: To search through messages, you can -click your Mailboxes and then type a search word into the Search Selected mailboxes field at the top right of Mail. Click on the magnify­ing glass to search in various ways, such as the entire message or just the subject.

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