After reading this brilliant Mac App Storm post on Turning Mail.app Into the Best Mac Email App, I was inspired to follow a lot of the tips to make my emails easier to handle.
I made three Smart Mailboxes, following the tips I chose:
- ‘Follow Up’ which contains emails flagged with a green flag, using the shortcut of ⌘⇧g
- ‘Needs Reply’ which contains emails flagged with a blue flag, using the shortcut of ⌘⇧b
- ‘Needs Attention’ which contains emails flagged with a red flag, using the shortcut of ⌘⇧r
The benefit of using the red flag for ‘Needs Attention’ as a way of noting emails which need organising into either of the other smart mailboxes is that Mail.app on the iPhone only supports the red flag. This means I can easily flag something for later with a red flag on my phone, and deal with it properly when I get to my laptop.
However, I have a terrible memory for shortcut keys. I couldn’t remember which colours related to which mailboxes, and so couldn’t remember the relevant keyboard shortcuts (as these used the first letter of the name of the colour).
I knew Mail.app wasn’t hugely customisable, but I thought I could try using emoji characters in the names of the smart mailboxes as you can have coloured characters, rather than the one-colour characters in most fonts.
After some quick web searches, I couldn’t find any sites or apps that allowed me to grab the emoji I wanted. So I just wrote myself an iMessage with the emoji characters I thought might worked and send it to myself. With iMessage’s unreliability, I didn’t get it for ages, so in the meantime I copied and pasted the emoji into an email and sent it to myself.
As you can see, a few of the characters didn’t quite work as they’re mapped to other characters in OSX.
Copy, paste and ta-da
I then just copied and pasted the characters into the smart mailbox names.
It worked exactly as I wanted. I now have little coloured visual indicators that show me which shortcuts I need to use to send mail into those mailboxes.