Exclusively manual running of Mail.app rules?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by lspector, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. lspector macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    #1
    Is it possible to turn off the automatic running of rules on incoming mail in Mail.app?

    I would like to have all of my incoming mail remain in my inbox until I hit the keystroke for “Apply Rules” to file it away in another mailbox.

    Right now I can do automatic filing with rules but the rules are applied upon receipt so I never see those messages in my inbox. And I don’t want to have to hunt for them among my many mailboxes. If I want to see a message in my inbox then I can’t later have it moved by a rule and I have to file by dragging it manually to the right mailbox, which is a lot of dragging and the time adds up. If I could make rules for the majority of my lists/contacts/etc but apply them ONLY manually then I’d be able to run through my inbox much more quickly, filing anything that I don’t have to deal with and leaving anything that needs more attention in my inbox.

    The documentation that I’ve found just says that rules run automatically on incoming messages, and I don’t see a way to turn that off… Seems like there should be a switch somewhere but I don’t see it…

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Uncheck the Rules in the preferences pane and then re-check them when you want them to run.
     
  3. lspector thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    #3
    @miles01110: Thanks for the suggestion, but that won't achieve the objective. That would require that I open preferences, click dozens or hundreds of checkboxes to enable individual rules, apply rules, and then re-click dozens or hundreds of checkboxes to disable individual rules every time I want to file away the selected messages. That would be quite a bit more work than the current process in which I drag messages manually to mailboxes. It also wouldn't allow me to apply the rules only to selected messages, which is a necessary part of this.

    To be clear: The goal is to have all mail arrive initially in the inbox for initial examination and then, when I'm ready to file away the current message (or a bunch of selected messages), to hit a key stroke to apply the rules to that message (or those selected messages) and have them filed away by the rules. I receive hundreds of messages a day and generally process them in chunks of a few to a dozen or two. I'd like to be able to scan my eyes over the new ones quickly, select the ones that I don't have to deal with now, and hit a keystroke to apply rules to them.

    FWIW this was possible in Eudora, which I used many years ago. But I switched to Mail.app and would prefer to stick with it. So I'm looking for a switch to turn off the automatic running of rules on incoming messages and also a way to apply rules to selected messages.

    OR: Is there some way that others deal with this issue in Mail.app? Some other way to combine rule-based filing-on-demand with the accumulation of all new, unfiled messages in one place for initial examination?
     
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #4
    Correction: It would achieve the objective, but it would require significantly more work than you are willing to put in.

    I think you are confused about how Rules work. If a set of criteria are met, the Rule does whatever action you define to that message automatically. You cannot tell Mail to "wait" for you to do the first vetting and then apply the rules (unless you can somehow modify the behavior of the "Apply Rules" option when you right click on a message).

    So, I won't say it's not possible in Mail, but I've never seen anything to suggest that it is possible.
     
  5. lspector thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    #5
    The objective is to streamline the process of first reviewing and later filing new messages (via rules). This would not be achieved by the process that you suggested (although I appreciate it all the same).

    I understand that that's how Rules work now in Mail.app, but I *have* seen exactly the functionality that I'm describing, in the Eudora of maybe a decade ago, and I'm hoping that there could be some way to achieve the same thing in Mail.app -- either with existing features that I haven't found or with scripts or some other workarounds (or an update if Apple developers are reading this! :)

    I'm also curious about how others deal with large volumes of mail in Mail.app. I would think that lots of people would want to have all new messages arrive in one place for quick scanning in case something important has just come in. But I would also think that some of those same people would also want to be able to file messages away using rules. Apparently there is no way to combine these things in Mail.app right now, even though it would be simple to allow the combination that I've described (applying rules only when explicitly invoked on the selected messages).

    I suppose that some users get much less mail, and some probably delete rather than filing (which is indeed just one keystroke), and some probably have everything filed by Rules and then go hunting through their mailboxes to see what's new... But do other users with the needs that I've described just switch to other email clients? Everything else about Mail.app suits my needs fine, so I'd rather not have to switch just to get (exclusively) manual rule application. My suspicion is that others with similar needs DO use Mail.app but that they think about the problem differently and have their mailboxes & rules set up in some way that I haven't thought about... Maybe a smart mailbox that just shows the new stuff, from any mailbox? But I'm not sure how that would work. I'd love to hear if someone uses Mail.app in any way that lets them quickly see all new messages while also using the power of Rules to file things appropriately.
     
  6. Pomeroy macrumors 6502

    Pomeroy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Location:
    Arkansas
    #6
    I use a Smart Mailbox to capture all incoming mail from all my different email addresses till they are read. You might start there and then add more rules to do what you are looking for.
     

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  7. lspector thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    #7
    Thanks -- interesting suggestion that I didn't know was possible. I would have to mark anything that I *do* file away as read, so that it doesn't always show up in this smart mailbox, and I'd also have to be sure to file anything into a "Must Deal With" mailbox immediately after first reading it so that I don't then lose track of it. I assume that the smart mailbox won't be so "smart" that it stops showing a message *while* you're first reading it (since at that point it's no longer unread). I'll have to consider this approach a bit more to see if it will really work, or if it'd be simpler to switch to a mail client that allows rules to be applied only by manual trigger.
     

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