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How to Customize Apple Mail in Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Mac OS X Snow Leopard makes it easy to customize the Apple Mail application. You can add sound, check mail automatically, and more. For example, you may want to change some of these Mail settings:

  • Adding sound: To choose a sound that plays whenever you receive new mail, choose Mail→Preferences and click the General button. Either click the New Messages Sound pop-up menu and choose one of the sounds that Apple provides or choose Add/Remove from the pop-up menu to choose a sound file from the Sounds folder (which, in turn, is located within your Library folder). Choose None from the pop-up menu to disable the new mail sound altogether.

    Choose a sound from Apple’s selection.
    Choose a sound from Apple’s selection.
  • Check Mail automatically: By default, Mail automatically checks for new mail (and sends any mail in your Out folder) every five minutes. To change this delay period, display the General pane in the Preferences dialog, choose the Check for New Messages pop-up menu, and then choose one of the time periods. To disable automatic mail checking, choose Manually; you can click the Get Mail toolbar button to manually check your mail any time you like. (For example, those folks using dial-up analog modem connections may not like Mail taking control of the telephone line every 5 minutes.)

    Change when Apple checks for mail.
    Change when Apple checks for mail.
  • Automate junk mail and message deletion: Set Mail to automatically delete sent mail and Junk messages (as well as permanently erase messages that you relegate to the Trash). To configure these settings, display the Accounts pane in the Preferences window, click the desired account, and then click the Mailbox Behaviors tab.

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    To delete Sent messages automatically, click the Delete Sent Messages When pop-up menu and choose the delay period or action. You can choose to delete mail after a day, a week, a month, or immediately upon quitting Mail. Alternatively, you can leave this field set to Never, and Mail never automatically deletes any messages from the Sent folder.

    To delete Junk messages automatically, click the Delete Junk Messages When pop-up menu and choose the delay period or action.

    To delete messages from the Trash, click the Permanently Erase Deleted Messages When pop-up menu and choose the delay period or action.

  • Add signatures: To add a block of text or a graphic to the bottom of your messages as your personal signature, Choose Mail→Preferences and click the Signatures button.

    Because downloading a graphic in a signature takes longer, avoid the temptation to include graphics in your signature.

    If you prefer the signature to appear above the quoted text in a reply, select the Place Signature above Quoted Text check box.

  • Change the status of an account: Sometimes you can’t reach one of your accounts. For example, maybe you’re on the road with your laptop and you can’t access your office network. Apple Mail allows you to enable and disable specific accounts without the hassle of deleting an account and then having to add it again.

    To disable or enable an account, open the Preferences dialog, click the Accounts button, click the desired account, click the Advanced tab, and then select (or deselect) the Enable This Account check box as necessary.

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