Get The Most Out Of The Favorites Bar In Mail [OS X Tips]

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Like all of its predecessors, Mac OS X Lion ships with a Mail application. It is probably one of the most important applications you’ll find on your Mac, and although it isn’t perfect, it is at least free. You can buy more expensive alternatives, which I won’t list here, but I suggest you spend more time with Mail before giving up on it.

Mail has a lot of not-quite-obvious features that you might have missed and I’ve talked about a few of them in earlier tip posts. Today I’ll take a look at another one that will let you quickly access your favorite mailboxes or folders.

If you haven’t already, launch Mail. It is in the /Applications folder on your startup disk or you can launch it using the Mail icon on the Finder Dock.

The Favorites bar appears across the Mail applications window above the sidebar and viewer area. You can use it to quickly access your favorite or most-used mailboxes or folders. If you want, you can drag messages from the current mailbox to any one of the favorite mailboxes in the Favorites bar; the message will be moved to that mailbox.

There are five default favorites in Mail: Inbox, Drafts, Sent, Notes and Flagged. Drag a mailbox or folder to the Favorites bar to add more. A really handy thing to know is that the first nine of the favorites are accessible using a combination of the Command key plus a number one through nine (i.e. Command+1 accesses the default Inbox.). You can have more than nine Favorites, but you won’t be able to find them with shortcut keys.

If you want to remove a Favorite just click on it, drag it off the Favorite bar, and let go. It will disappear in a puff of smoke.

You can get fairly creative with your Favorites. One way would be to create an mailbox called Archive and add it to the Favorites bar. You can drag and drop email you want to archive to that mailbox. Later you can select that mailbox and use the search options in Mail to find an old message or two.