Graphic Arts’ IT Guy – November 2008

Q I’m trying to set a rule in Mail to organize my messages. I made a Smart Folder to sort my messages, but when I deleted them from my inbox they were deleted from the Smart Folder as well. Can you tell me what’s wrong?

A. A Smart Folder in Mail is actually a special way of viewing all of your messages. Like a rule or a filter, you can specify the criteria that picks the messages out. For instance, a Smart Folder will gather all the messages to and from an email address or domain that you specify.

Many users organize the email they want to save in folders–a Smart Folder will gather all the messages from all of the folders in your mail application. You can even choose to include your sent messages. It does this without moving the messages. So, if you delete a message and then empty the mail’s trash, you will delete the message.

If you want to keep a message in an organized way, you should create a folder or mailbox as they are called in Apple’s mail. Behind the scenes, Mail stores your messages in a file called an “mbox.” This is an open source format that many applications use such as Mozilla’s Thunderbird. In fact, you can import messages into Microsoft’s Entourage by dragging an mbox file onto “My Messages.”

Storing your messages in mboxes also makes them easier to back up. You can find your mboxes in the mail folder that is inside your own library folder–you will see a folder called “IMAP-your-email-address” if you use an IMAP account and/or you will see a folder called “POP-your-email-address” if you use POP3.

Inside these folders you will see an mbox file for each folder” you have in mail. You will see an “Inbox.imapmbox,” “Deleted Messages.imapmbox,” “Sent Messages.imapmbox” and so on. If you want to keep messages from “Client A” in your mail application and you make a rule to move the messages you have received into a folder, mail will make a file called “Client A.mbox.”

To make a new Mailbox in Mail:

1. Choose New Mailbox from the Mail menu.

2. Select On my Mac as the location.

3. Name it “Client A”. (or whatever name you like) and press OK.

4. Select a message from “Client A.”

5. Choose Rules from Preferences located under the Mail menu.

6. Choose Add Rule (or edit).

7. Set it to the following:

If [Any] of the following conditions are met.

From ”@clientadomain‚Ķ”

Perform the following actions:

[Move Message] to mailbox: [Client A]

Press OK.

This way, when you “Apply Rules” it will move the messages to the “Vector” mailbox/mbox, and any new email you receive will go into that folder automatically.

Q. My Internet Service Provider (ISP) uses Yahoo! mail as the online mail, and I have been storing my messages in folders that I made online. When I connect my Mail application to get my email, I cannot get the folders or the messages. Is there a way to import the messages from Yahoo!?

A. When you log onto the Internet to check your email, you are most likely using an IMAP account, which stores the messages on a server. When you connect your local Mail client to fetch your email, your ISP often requires you to use POP3, which moves the messages from your inbox onto the server to your Mac. The problem is that POP3 knows nothing about the other folders you have created using the IMAP so your messages cannot be retrieved.

You can export your messages from Yahoo! and then store them on your Mac. Yahoo! will archive them into a zip file–it will contain “eml” files. Unfortunately, you cannot import eml files into Mail, but Apple’s built in spotlight will index the messages. It makes it possible to search the contents, and when you double click a chosen message, it will open in Mail–then you can reply or forward the message.

Here are the steps to download your messages:

1. Log into and go to Mail.

2. Click on the Options link on the right side.

3. Click Archive Messages on the right.

4. Under Step 1 of 2: Build Archive choose a folder from the pull down menu.

5. Press Continue.

6. Press Download Archive.