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Use sounds to distinguish new messages in Mail Apps
This may be common knowledge but I think it is worth being submitted here.
I subscribed to several mailing list and I get many emails every day, most of them being automatically transfered to the corresponding mailbox, but I wanted to be specifically warned for incoming personal email. Here is how to make (in Jaguar) play a different sound for your different email accounts and/or to play a sound only for emails that are not automatically transfered to another mailbox.

Say you have two different email accounts ( and and that you subscribed to a mailing list (myMailingList).
  1. In the Preferences of, set "New mail sound" to None (otherwise, you'll get several sounds played)
  2. Say you already have a rule to automatically transfer emails from the mailing list to a mailbox called "MailingMails". The rule is something like "If Subject contains [myMailingList], perform Transfer message to mailbox MailingMails (it depends on how the mailing server formats the Subject header. Adapt this rule to your own header structure)
  3. Click on the Plus button in "Perfom the following actions" section and select "Play sound" and the sound you want to be played, most likely a quite discrete one. Validate the changes.
  4. Create a new rule which will serve as a default rule.
  5. Set the new rule to "If To contains, perform Play sound" and select the sound you wish.
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 to create another rule for your email address ans set another sound if you wish.
  7. In the Rules list, you must reorganise the order of the rules so that your mailing list emails will be transfered from inbox before the default rules apply.
That's it! Now your mailing list emails will be transfered first with the sound you attached to that action. For all the remaining messages, the default rules will apply and play the sounds you've selected for your different email addresses. Hope you'll find it useful.
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Use sounds to distinguish new messages in Mail | 3 comments | Create New Account
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E-mail sounds - Speech is cool too
Authored by: tsaar on Oct 01, '02 11:54:06AM

I've been using a very cool little applescript called
" speak sender " for a while now.

When new mail arrives it uses speech to tell me the name of the sender
and also the subject of the mail. So I never need to get up to know who has sent me an e-mail about what...

It's made for use it with entourage, but I think that a smart person can probably adapt it for use with

Here it is:

[ Reply to This | # ]
RE: E-mail sounds - Speech is cool too
Authored by: jiclark on Oct 31, '02 12:36:28AM
It's made for use it with entourage, but I think that a smart person can probably adapt it for use with
I looked, and there really is no option for anything like this in the Mail rules. Does anyone know how to make this work in Mail, or if it's even possible? Thanks, John-o

[ Reply to This | # ]
a little more you can do
Authored by: mingking on Oct 30, '02 09:00:06PM

I too subscribe to a number of mailing lists and I wanted to have a different sound play when receiving mailing lists versus other mail. This is slightly different than what the original poster wanted, plus his suggestion resulted in no sound playing for non-filed mail. My solution gives me a bit more control.

I already had rules that file targeted message types in special folders. I then added a special sound to each of those rules so that I now get a custom sound per mailing list.

I still wanted to get a sound when unfiltered mail comes in. So I then created a default rule that plays a sound when no other rule files the message. The rule criteria to use is 'Every Message'. Since I put it last in the rules, it gets called after all the other filtering is done.

The one last trick is that in each rule that assigns a custom sound I added as the last action to 'Stop evaluating rules.' Otherwise you will get the sound from the first rule that files the message, and then the default sound. Now I can assign custom sounds for each type of incoming mail.

[ Reply to This | # ]