How to Set Mail Rules in Mac OS X Lion - dummies

How to Set Mail Rules in Mac OS X Lion

By Bob LeVitus

If you really want to tap the power of the Mail application in Mac OS X Lion, you need to set rules. With rules in Mac OS X Lion, you can automatically tag messages with a color; file them in a specific mailbox; reply to/forward/redirect the messages automatically (handy when you’re going to be away for a while); automatically reply to messages; and kill-file messages (just delete them without even bothering to look at them).

Here’s a quick look at how to create them:

  1. Choose Mail→Preferences.

  2. Click the Rules icon on the toolbar of the Preferences window.

  3. Click the Add Rule button.

    The first condition should say From in its first pop-up menu and Contains in its second pop-up menu. Look at your options in these menus but return them to their original state — From and Contains — when you’re done looking.

  4. In the field to the right of the Contains pop-up menu, type LeVitus.

    Below the condition you just created, you should see an action under the words Perform the Following Actions. It should say Move Message in its first pop-up menu and No Mailbox Selected in its second pop-up menu.

  5. Look at the options on these menus, but this time, change the first one from Move Message to Play Sound and the second one from No Mailbox Selected to Blow.

  6. Type a description of the rule, such as Message from LeVitus, in the Description field.

    Your rule should look identical to the example.


  7. Click OK.

    Mail asks whether you want to apply your rule(s) to the selected mailboxes.

  8. Choose Apply if you want Mail to run this rule on the selected mailboxes, or choose Don’t Apply if you don’t.

    And that’s how you build a rule. From this point forward, every time you get a message from me, you hear the Blow sound.

Notice the little + (plus) and – (minus) buttons to the right of each condition and action. Use the + button to add more conditions or actions and the – button to delete a condition or action. If you have multiple conditions, you can choose Any or All from the pop-up menu above them, which executes this rule when either any of the conditions or all of the conditions are met. Either way, all the actions you create are always executed when this rule is triggered.