How to Use Apple Mail on Mac OS X Snow Leopard - dummies

How to Use Apple Mail on Mac OS X Snow Leopard

By Mark L. Chambers

Mac Snow Leopard offers Apple Mail as an email application. The Mail icon resides in the Dock; click it to open the Mail window. Besides the familiar toolbar, which naturally carries buttons specific to Mail, you find the following:


  • Title bar: This heading at the top of the Mail window displays information about the current folder — typically, how many messages it contains, but other data can be included as well.

  • Message list: This resizable scrolling list box contains all the messages for the folder that you’ve chosen. To resize the list larger or smaller, drag the handle on the bar that runs across the window. To resize columns, drag the edges of the column heading buttons.

    To specify which columns appear in the message list, choose View→Columns. From the submenu that appears, you can toggle the display of specific columns. You can also sort the messages in the message list from the View menu; by default, messages are sorted by the Date Received.

  • Mailboxes: The Mailbox list can be hidden or shown from the View menu by clicking the Show Mailboxes item. To widen or narrow the Mailboxes list, click the divider at the right side of the list. Your mouse cursor turns into a line with double arrows — drag it in the desired direction.

  • Preview box: This resizable scrolling list box displays the contents of the selected message, including both text and any graphics or attachments that Mail recognizes.

Mail uses the following folders (some of which appear only at certain times):

  • Inbox: Mail you’ve received already.

  • Outbox: Messages that Mail is waiting to send.

  • Drafts: Messages waiting to be completed.

  • Sent: Mail you’ve sent already.

  • Trash: Deleted mail. You can open this folder and retrieve items that you realize you still need. Alternatively, you can empty the contents of the Trash at any time by choosing Mailbox→Erase Deleted Messages.

  • Junk: A collection of spam messages. You can review junk mail messages or retrieve anything you want to keep by choosing Message→Move To. After you’re sure nothing of value is left, you can delete the remaining messages straight to the Trash. (Junk mail filtering must be enabled from the Junk Mail settings in Preferences before you see this box.)

  • RSS: Messages from an RSS news feed that you’ve subscribed to.

  • Notes: This folder displays notes that you’ve made.

  • To Do: The To Do folder displays your To Do items.

You can add new personal folders to the Mailbox list to further organize your messages. Choose Mailbox→New Mailbox and then type the name for your new folder in the Name box. Click OK to create the new personal folder.