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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail Apps
Ever wonder what Smart Mailbox Folders are for? In Mail.app version 2.0.5, they don't seem to do much except let you collapse away a group of Smart Mailboxes. Selecting a Smart Mailbox Folder doesn't show you any email messages from the contained Smart Mailboxes. Yet it was not always so...

In a previous version of Mail, I was able to right-click on a Smart Mailbox Folder and go to "Edit Smart Mailbox...", and set up a rule that allowed for any message in the sub-mailboxes to be shown when the folder was selected. This "smart" Smart Mailbox Folder still works in version 2.0.5, but it is no longer possible to create them. However, I have discovered how to modify the SmartMailboxes.plist to allow this.
  1. Create a new Smart Mailbox Folder (Mailbox -> New Smart Mailbox Folder).
  2. Quit Mail.app.
  3. Open your user's Library -> Mail -> SmartMailboxes.plist file in the Property List Editor.
  4. Find the Smart Mailbox Folder you just created -- they're in the order that they appear in Mail.app. Check the MailboxName attribute to make sure it's the right one.
  5. Change the IMAPMailboxAttributes property for the Smart Mailbox Folder you just created from 18 to 16.
  6. Save your plist and quit the editor.
  7. Reopen Mail.app
You will notice that when you right-click the edited Smart Mailbox Folder, you can now choose "Edit Smart Mailbox...".

For example, assume a Smart Mailbox Folder named Work that contains two Smart Mailboxes, Clients and Coworkers. You set up the Clients Smart Mailbox to show emails from your clients, and the same for Coworkers. Then for the Work Smart Mailbox Folder that we created using the steps above, create this rule:
  • Contains messages which match [ANY] of the following conditions:
    • [Message is in Mailbox] [Clients]
    • [Message is in Mailbox] [Coworkers]
Then, whenever you click on your Work folder, whether it's expanded or collapsed, you will see all your messages from either clients or coworkers. Note that you can also do this by creating a normal Smart Mailbox (instead of a Smart Mailbox Folder) and changing the IMAPMailboxAttributes value from 17 to 16, which will allow you to put other Smart Mailboxes into it.

[robg adds: This worked as described...]
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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail | 14 comments | Create New Account
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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: mayo2ca on Jan 03, '06 08:45:31AM

How exactly do you create smart mailbox folder under a smart mailbox folder? (as in hierarchy). I haven't seen that mentioned anywhere before...

thanks,
m



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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: mayo2ca on Jan 03, '06 08:48:05AM

oh nevermind, damn dislexia... (smart mailbox folder vs. smart mailbox. folder as folder as folder ...)

thanks,
m



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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: ddauerbach on Jan 17, '06 08:58:55AM

Great hint. I'm hoping that someone has a solution to a smart mailbox problem I have. Before switching to IMAP (actually before being swtiched to IMAP) I had filters that moved messages to appropriate folders. With IMAP I've had to change to COPYING them. (else they disappear from the server and I can't see them from other machines, etc...). I have a smart mailbox that consists of all unread mail. Obviously, it will often contain duplicates: an inbox message and the one copied to a folder. I want to be able to tell the difference. Simple, go to View and check the mailbox column. Works fine, EXCEPT it doesn't stick. Is there a way to make it stick?



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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: mark hunte on Jan 03, '06 08:45:59AM

Thanks for the hint, Very Nice.

Can I ask how you found this out..?

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mh



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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: rasman1978 on Jan 03, '06 09:18:35AM

Good question. I found it out because I had one like this already from a previous version of Mail.app. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out just what was different about the mailbox I already had. Why they took that feature out of the gui, I have no idea.



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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: mark hunte on Jan 03, '06 12:23:13PM
Oh well, I thought you may have found the holy grail on plist setting info for apple apps. : (

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mh

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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: rasman1978 on Jan 03, '06 12:52:59PM
Ha! Are you kidding?

That would be a helluva find, indeed.

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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: Cameroon on Jan 03, '06 03:37:05PM

Here's an important addition to the tip:

If you drag the mailbox folder that you've changed from 18 to 16, say to reorganize, it goes back to being an "18" and you will have to go in and modify the plist file again.

Literally just did that and found out.



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Good catch.
Authored by: rasman1978 on Jan 03, '06 11:41:05PM

Wow, that's pretty annoying. It's like Mail.app really doesn't want those 16's.



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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: Slinkwyde on Jan 03, '06 08:37:22PM

This hint should have the "10.4:" prefix.



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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: david-bo on Jan 04, '06 04:17:45PM

Anything similar for smart groups in the Address Book?

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Probably not.
Authored by: rasman1978 on Jan 05, '06 07:23:23AM

Probably not, since there's no concept of folders in Address Book.



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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: chigh on Oct 18, '06 09:38:23AM

I wish this worked for me, but it doesn't. It shows out to the side I have X unread messages, but when I click on the SMF, nothing shows up.

Mail.app 2.1.1 (10.4.8)



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Created rule-enabled Smart Mailbox Folders in Mail
Authored by: aloced on Mar 03, '11 03:27:16PM

I could do it by duplicating an existing smartmailbox folder . You then rename it, delete the other folders and change edit the properties.



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