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Add color labels to message in Mail.app Apps
Not sure if this has been covered before, but I just discovered that you can add color labels to messages in Mail.app (like you can in the Finder). Just select the message(s) you wish to color, then select 'Show colors' from the 'Format' menu. Click on any color and voila -- the selected message(s) in Mail is now highlighted that color.

It would really be better if you could do this via a contextual menu, like you can in the Finder. Perhaps someone can create an AppleScript to make it a bit quicker.

[robg adds: Amazing; nearly four years of Mail use, and I'd never thought to try this (of course, who knows when it started working...). I know you can create rules to color items based on criteria, but this is a great trick if you just want to color a selection of messages on a one-time basis. It's amazingly fast to do, especially if you have the screen real estate to just leave the color wheel open. Note: I switched the "internationally correct" spelling of 'colour' in this hint to the US standard of 'color,' just to make it easier for those doing searches...]
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Add color labels to message in Mail.app | 27 comments | Create New Account
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Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: cmittendorf on Jun 21, '04 10:55:36AM
You can write a script for the AppleScript menu of Mail like this:

tell application "Mail"
	set maillist to selection
	repeat with i from 1 to number of items in maillist
		set this_item to item i of maillist
		if class of this_item is message then
			set background color of this_item to blue
			-- other colors are
			-- gray / green / orange / red
		end if
	end repeat
end tell


[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: yopu on Jun 21, '04 11:54:34AM

Well, how do you know international users don't want to search for "colour"? :)


Chris (Canada)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: robg on Jun 21, '04 01:09:28PM

I'm sure they do ... but since I can't really write "color (colour)" or "colour (color)" for every instance in every article, I chose one ... and since I'm a biased American jerk, I chose color :).

cheers;
-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: ether on Jun 22, '04 01:26:09PM

As a Canadian living in the US, I prefer colour, but have learned to live
with less vivid colors. :-)

But everyone is missing the point! By saying "I changed 'colour' to
'color'.", Rob ensured that either search will turn up the da{rm}n hint.
(Try 'colour label mail' in the search box...it turns up exactly the hint
in question. :-)

Talk about the tempest in the teapot!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: MichelP on Jun 22, '04 06:29:41AM

To make it even easier to use, and leveraging another hint into this one:
http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20040618161426854

just rename the scrip (or its alias) as:
Mail color___ctl-l.scpt

Then it will be invoqued by Control-L
(why L ? well to avoid conflicts with other key shortcuts, and call it Label rather that color/colour !!)

Now if some Script-geek can make the script more powerfull, in that it would propose a popup list of colors (including none): that would be a killer hint!
;-)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: iSierra on Jun 22, '04 07:42:43AM

The hint didn´t work for me, but yout little script did. Is there any way to be able to choose the color instead of having 5 versions of the script?



[ Reply to This | # ]
As a contextual menu item
Authored by: hombre on Jan 09, '05 06:00:57PM
I put the above applescript into some OnMyCommands. It gives you a 'Label' contextual menu item in Mail.app.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
	<key>COMMAND_LIST</key>
	<array>
		<dict>
			<key>ACTIVATE_ONLY_IN</key>
			<array>
				<string>Mail</string>
			</array>
			<key>COMMAND</key>
			<array>
				<string>tell application "Mail"
        set maillist to selection
        repeat with i from 1 to number of items in maillist
                set this_item to item i of maillist
                if class of this_item is message then
                        set background color of this_item to none
                end if
        end repeat
end tell
</string>
			</array>
			<key>EXECUTION_MODE</key>
			<string>exe_applescript</string>
			<key>NAME</key>
			<string>none</string>
			<key>SUBMENU_NAME</key>
			<string>Label</string>
			<key>VERSION</key>
			<integer>1</integer>
		</dict>
		<dict>
			<key>ACTIVATE_ONLY_IN</key>
			<array>
				<string>Mail</string>
			</array>
			<key>COMMAND</key>
			<array>
				<string>tell application "Mail"
        set maillist to selection
        repeat with i from 1 to number of items in maillist
                set this_item to item i of maillist
                if class of this_item is message then
                        set background color of this_item to red
                end if
        end repeat
end tell
</string>
			</array>
			<key>EXECUTION_MODE</key>
			<string>exe_applescript</string>
			<key>NAME</key>
			<string>red</string>
			<key>SUBMENU_NAME</key>
			<string>Label</string>
			<key>VERSION</key>
			<integer>1</integer>
		</dict>
		<dict>
			<key>ACTIVATE_ONLY_IN</key>
			<array>
				<string>Mail</string>
			</array>
			<key>COMMAND</key>
			<array>
				<string>tell application "Mail"
        set maillist to selection
        repeat with i from 1 to number of items in maillist
                set this_item to item i of maillist
                if class of this_item is message then
                        set background color of this_item to orange
                end if
        end repeat
end tell
</string>
			</array>
			<key>EXECUTION_MODE</key>
			<string>exe_applescript</string>
			<key>NAME</key>
			<string>orange</string>
			<key>SUBMENU_NAME</key>
			<string>Label</string>
			<key>VERSION</key>
			<integer>1</integer>
		</dict>
		<dict>
			<key>ACTIVATE_ONLY_IN</key>
			<array>
				<string>Mail</string>
			</array>
			<key>COMMAND</key>
			<array>
				<string>tell application "Mail"
        set maillist to selection
        repeat with i from 1 to number of items in maillist
                set this_item to item i of maillist
                if class of this_item is message then
                        set background color of this_item to yellow
                end if
        end repeat
end tell
</string>
			</array>
			<key>EXECUTION_MODE</key>
			<string>exe_applescript</string>
			<key>NAME</key>
			<string>yellow</string>
			<key>SUBMENU_NAME</key>
			<string>Label</string>
			<key>VERSION</key>
			<integer>1</integer>
		</dict>
		<dict>
			<key>ACTIVATE_ONLY_IN</key>
			<array>
				<string>Mail</string>
			</array>
			<key>COMMAND</key>
			<array>
				<string>tell application "Mail"
        set maillist to selection
        repeat with i from 1 to number of items in maillist
                set this_item to item i of maillist
                if class of this_item is message then
                        set background color of this_item to green
                end if
        end repeat
end tell
</string>
			</array>
			<key>EXECUTION_MODE</key>
			<string>exe_applescript</string>
			<key>NAME</key>
			<string>green</string>
			<key>SUBMENU_NAME</key>
			<string>Label</string>
			<key>VERSION</key>
			<integer>1</integer>
		</dict>
		<dict>
			<key>ACTIVATE_ONLY_IN</key>
			<array>
				<string>Mail</string>
			</array>
			<key>COMMAND</key>
			<array>
				<string>tell application "Mail"
        set maillist to selection
        repeat with i from 1 to number of items in maillist
                set this_item to item i of maillist
                if class of this_item is message then
                        set background color of this_item to blue
                end if
        end repeat
end tell
</string>
			</array>
			<key>EXECUTION_MODE</key>
			<string>exe_applescript</string>
			<key>NAME</key>
			<string>blue</string>
			<key>SUBMENU_NAME</key>
			<string>Label</string>
			<key>VERSION</key>
			<integer>1</integer>
		</dict>
		<dict>
			<key>ACTIVATE_ONLY_IN</key>
			<array>
				<string>Mail</string>
			</array>
			<key>COMMAND</key>
			<array>
				<string>tell application "Mail"
        set maillist to selection
        repeat with i from 1 to number of items in maillist
                set this_item to item i of maillist
                if class of this_item is message then
                        set background color of this_item to purple
                end if
        end repeat
end tell
</string>
			</array>
			<key>EXECUTION_MODE</key>
			<string>exe_applescript</string>
			<key>NAME</key>
			<string>purple</string>
			<key>SUBMENU_NAME</key>
			<string>Label</string>
			<key>VERSION</key>
			<integer>1</integer>
		</dict>
		<dict>
			<key>ACTIVATE_ONLY_IN</key>
			<array>
				<string>Mail</string>
			</array>
			<key>COMMAND</key>
			<array>
				<string>tell application "Mail"
        set maillist to selection
        repeat with i from 1 to number of items in maillist
                set this_item to item i of maillist
                if class of this_item is message then
                        set background color of this_item to gray
                end if
        end repeat
end tell
</string>
			</array>
			<key>EXECUTION_MODE</key>
			<string>exe_applescript</string>
			<key>NAME</key>
			<string>gray</string>
			<key>SUBMENU_NAME</key>
			<string>Label</string>
			<key>VERSION</key>
			<integer>1</integer>
		</dict>
	</array>
	<key>VERSION</key>
	<integer>2</integer>
</dict>
</plist>


[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: ppayne on May 05, '05 04:16:43AM

Thank you! You have solved my problem. I am finally moving from Eudora but love to have my messages color coded so I know that I can forget them. I added the following

set flagged status of this_item to 1

which also flags the current messages, since there's no way to sort by color. This works fine with Tiger Mail



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: gregs on May 16, '05 03:45:21PM

Why not use Format -> Show Colors (Shift-cmd C), then pick the color you want?
It's pretty quick if you use the keyboard short-cut.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: Thomas_U on Jun 21, '04 02:43:43PM

I tried out this hint, but the color-changes do not persist: After checking mails in an other folder, I found the colors gone when I looked at the mails I had colored.

cu

Thomas



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: iSierra on Jun 22, '04 07:37:20AM

I had the same problem as you, it changed the color after switching folders, but I ran the Script posted and it doesn´t change even if you close Mail. Nice hint, although I´d love to be able to choose the color, instead of having 5 versions of the same script.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: eno on Jun 21, '04 04:34:54PM

Spell it "color" to help people with searches? To help Americans, you mean.

"Colour" would've been a better, fairer choice.

Of the 293 million people that make up the population of the USA, there are 30 million that speak English as a second language.

This compares with a global estimate of 320 million who speak English as a first language, or 460 million when you include second-language speakers.

This page, however, estimates that as many as 400 million speak English as a first language, and the total goes as high as 1500 million when you include people who speak it as a "foreign" language. See also this page for more info.

God bless America. I think you should've left the original poster's choice of spelling unedited.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: azguy on Jun 21, '04 04:54:33PM

Good god... settle down.

Here's much more relevant information anyway:
http://images.apple.com/pr/pdf/q204data_sum.pdf

Considering only "offcial" "English" speaking countries,...
...Twice as many Apple computers were sold in America than in Europe last quarter... This does not include the Apple Retail stores, and not all of Europe speaks English anyway.

Sorry that more Americans use Macs, but it's just numbers. Simple majority wins.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: blubbernaut on Jun 21, '04 07:38:07PM

Dude, if it was a simple matter of numbers, then the rest of the English speaking world would have forced Americans to spell "colour" and "honour" et. al. correctly in the first place. Sorry, majority wins. ;)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: chyna4xena on Jun 21, '04 08:50:15PM

Most Americans write "color" so it should be color.
Ah! But, most people write "colour" so it should be colour.
No, wait! More Macs are sold to people who write "color" so it should be color.

Perhaps we can settle on "kulla" ? Actually, I think robg is right to say uniformity is necessary, and despite being an English English as opposed to American English speaker, I am happy if he wants to use "color".

Perhaps a mention on the Advanced Search page that American spellings are used could avoid any searchers trying to use "colour" ?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: Peter Maurer on Jun 22, '04 04:20:01AM
You didn't want to imply that all those who are not American and speak English as their nth language would spell "color" as "colour", or did you? I think it's a very good idea to have the editor choose spelling according to his country's conventions. Most scientific journals do so. (Think of it like this: If MacOSXHints.com were a printed journal, then it would be printed in the US.) This discussion is completely superfluous, but I just couldn't resist... ;-)

---
http://www.petermaurer.de/butler/

[ Reply to This | # ]

Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: dennisbest on Jun 22, '04 08:51:38AM

You know, the 'u' is pointless. Perhaps you could at least admit that even if more people globally add the superflous "u" to color and honor, they are wasting time and energy. Think of the calories from writing and typing the extra "u" — not to mention the pixels, scrabble tiles, and ink!

So please join us and put and end to this nonsense and stop the waste. U can make a difference!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: moyashi on Jun 22, '04 01:29:57PM

eww gad!

Why don't you shoot:
Webster for choosing the British English spellings for use in the States
AND
Cambridge for choosing to use the "popular" French spellings in the UK (or was it England at the time)

So those extra vowels are and inverted spellings come from French and not English.

So use colour or centre if you support French based English and color and center if you support the [ahem] Queen's English. :)

but ... this leads into another whole ball of wax as to what makes English -- English :)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: osxpounder on Jun 23, '04 02:56:52PM

Raised with American English spellings, I still prefer "colour" and "flavour" because the extra "u" just seems to make those words more colourful and flavourful. I'm glad there's some variety -- especially when it comes to accents and dialects. The spelling differences do trip up search engines, however, and there's no good reason why that must be -- search engines configured for English can be adapted to treat "color" and "colour" as equivalent, so why not do it?

---
--
osxpounder



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: rusto on Jun 22, '04 04:55:50PM

robg coulda helped this hint appear for searches of either spelling if he merely added a parenthetical instance of the 'other' spelling to the posted hint. This would have kept (nearly) everybody happy.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: davidnorton on Jun 22, '04 06:32:01PM

I think people should use common sense -- Americans can understand the British spelling of a word, and vice-versa. If you are doing a search, on any website, search in the "language" (spelling) of the country the site is based out of.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: Felix_the_Mac on Jun 21, '04 05:38:12PM

I use the rules to color my sent messages, and then sort them into all my mail folders.

In this way when you look in a particular folder the mails you have sent are easily recognized.

Once the rule is defined you go to sent messages, press apple + A to select all and then apple + option + L to color and sort the messages.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: el bid on Jun 22, '04 01:58:38AM

> of course, who knows when it started working...

Round about 1995? There's been a colorizer bundle (thanks to a guy called Eric Seymour, I think) available for Mail.app for as long as I can remember.

On NeXTStep, before the Mac crowd turned up, of course...



---
el bid



[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: biscuit on Jun 22, '04 05:17:20AM

I'd always wondered how Apple got their e-mails to go blue! I can't believe I missed that, I obviously should be using more rules.

biscuit



[ Reply to This | # ]
Old news?
Authored by: porkchop_d_clown on Jun 22, '04 07:47:13AM

Errr... I've been using this, along with mail rules, to automatically differentiate mail from family members, mail from Apple, stuff like that - for quite a while.

Actually, I'm pretty sure Mail ships with a rule for coloring mail from Apple a nice bright red.

---
Everyone loves a clown, but no one will lend him money!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Old news?
Authored by: asan102 on Jun 22, '04 11:03:27AM
we all know you can do this with rules, but if you actually read the hint, you'd see that this is for setting the color of an individual message you have selected, which not many knew how to do.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Add color labels to message in Mail.app
Authored by: dbourbon on Jun 30, '04 02:03:15PM

It would be very helpful if one could color the mail folders in Mail. Does anyone know of a way to do this?

Thanks.



[ Reply to This | # ]