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Apple Mac OS X tips and tweaks

Customise the Mail toolbar

We tend to use an application in it's default setup and the menus, toolbars, add-ons and extensions are just the basic ones that come with it. However, many applications can be customised and if you explore the settings and options you can tweak it so that it works in a way that suits you better. Instead of the general configuration that the developer has provided that's OK for most people, you can add features, functions and tools to make it more convenient to use. You can add shortcuts to common functions and you can make tasks easier to perform. Apple Mail is a typical application and it can easily be customised. In this tip we'll look at customising the toolbar and the mail list view.

To customise the Mail toolbar, right click (Ctrl+click) in an empty area and choose one of the view options. You can show the buttons, text, or buttons and text. It's your choice. Now the the view is to your liking, right click the toolbar again and this time select Customize. In Custmize mode you can click and drag the toobar buttons around. For example, by default there is a space between the Get mail button and Delete/Junk. Click and drag Delete/Junk and drop it next to Get mail if you would prefer to have the buttons next to each other.

The Delete and Junk buttons are joined and they are a pair. If you find that you occasionally click Delete when you mean to click Junk or vice versa, click and drag Delete/Junk off the toolbar and drop it on the toolbar palette. It will be deleted. Now click and drag the separate Delete and Junk buttons to the toolbar to add them. Now they are separated by a small space. If they are still too close, click and drag the Space icon in the palette and drop it in between them in the toolbar.

If you print a lot of emails you might find it useful to have a Print button in the toolbar, so click and drag it from the palette to the toolbar and drop it wherever you want it. Other buttons you might find useful are the Smaller/Bigger pair, which make the font size smaller or bigger. Having a button to make text bigger could be a big help if your eyesight isn't perfect.

There's a bounce button to send email back to the sender. The idea is that irritating junk emails can be returned from wherever thy came and you can use it to get your own back on the spammers. Don't use it! Spammers don't use their own email address because it would then be too easy to find out who they are and block them. They use fake email addresses or even the address of a real person and bouncing email just increases the junk mail goging around the internet.

Apple Mail tollbar

Customise the view

Click and drag the Flag button to the toolbar. This enables you to attach a flag next to email messages and this can serve to highlight them. Flag important messages or ones that need to be followed up and you won't then forget about them.

Close the Customize window and see if there is a Flag column in the message list. If there isn't, select View, Columns and then tick Flags. The Flags column is then displayed. You can now select a message in the list and click the Flag button in the toolbar to add a flag.

The Flag column might be the first, second, third or fourth column. Wherever it is, it can easily be moved. In fact, all the columns can be rearranged if they aren't in the best order for you. Click and drag the flag column header either left or right to move it.

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