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10.6: Easier formatting of lists in Mail Apps
In Mail in 10.5 and earlier, converting some text to a numbered or bulleted list was almost impossible: you had to create a new numbered list just above then move your lines into it, then press Return (or use the method described in this hint).

Mail in 10.6 works as expected now: select some paragraphs of text, choose one of the list options, and the text will become a list.
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10.6: Easier formatting of lists in Mail | 14 comments | Create New Account
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email etiquette
Authored by: schutt on Oct 09, '09 08:42:38AM

Remember, sending email in a format other than plain text is considered poor form. Use other formats only if you really need the formatting. It is better to use a plain text list in almost all cases.



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email etiquette
Authored by: jvoskuil on Oct 09, '09 09:37:45AM

I think that etiquette advice is out of date. It certainly was good advice a few years ago, but email clients now handle rich text and HTML routinely. I'd say that sending in plain text is still good practice when emailing someone you don't know.



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email etiquette
Authored by: schutt on Oct 09, '09 09:48:41AM

Yes, most clients handle formatted email just fine, but that doesn't mean it should be used. Most people that use formatted email are actually obfuscating their message. Blocking formatted messages is also a good way to eliminate a significant fraction of spam, since the majority of actual emails are plain text, and the majority of spam are formatted.



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email etiquette
Authored by: tedw on Oct 09, '09 12:09:13PM
I'll add that I routinely filter html emails to junk mail; the vast (vast) majority of the html emails I get are spam of one sort or another (the exceptions being mailing lists I've explicitly joined and obnoxious people who cram their signatures with tripe). For the most part, if I'm not already expecting to see html in an email I don't want to see it, and I would prefer (as a matter of etiquette) that people don't send it to me.

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email etiquette
Authored by: glusk on Oct 09, '09 12:26:20PM

And yet you used underline and italics to emphasize your point.(?) :-/

(I'm sure this was intentional, but I couldn't resist the bait.)



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email etiquette
Authored by: tedw on Oct 09, '09 02:35:20PM

italics in email are usually sent as rtf, not html, and this isn't an email anyway. but I appreciate the irony regardless. :-)



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email etiquette
Authored by: palahala on Oct 09, '09 03:48:56PM

Not RTF, but enriched text, I hope? As far as I know, only older versions of Outlook use Microsoft's RTF (and that's exactly why Outlook fails to communicate well with non-Outlook clients, and why sites like winmaildat.com exist).

(Apart from that, I think HTML is used much more often than enriched text.)



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email etiquette
Authored by: Helge33 on Oct 12, '09 06:27:53AM

you both must live then on another planet or timezone ;-) If I would re-activate my e-mail HTML Filter from 1998 I would miss 98% of my business e-mail!



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email etiquette
Authored by: palahala on Oct 12, '09 07:17:10AM

Then I hope your old filter also rejects multi-part messages, when some part of it is HTML?

True, spam is often HTML-only. But for many real messages Mail's Option-Command-P (Message » View » Plain Text Alternative) is my friend. So, I assume that if I would reject HTML-only message then I'd not miss that much. But I didn't test that...



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email etiquette
Authored by: tedw on Oct 12, '09 11:16:23AM

Your business wouldn't happen to involve that drug that starts with a 'V' (which I can't name, otherwise OSXHints will flag my post as spam), would it? - lol

actually, I'm an academic - the only HTML emails I want come from centers advertising talks and conferences. so yeah, I live on another planet. such is life.



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email etiquette
Authored by: OverZealous on Oct 09, '09 03:03:34PM

While I hate highly stylized email as much as the next persion, bullets and basic formatting make an email easier to read.

Case in point:

Bob, it's really important that you handle this today. Please follow these steps:
1. Do thing A. (Avoid clicking on the Q button)
2. Do thing B.
3. Don't forget to eat lunch.
4. Do thing C.
vs:
Bob, it's really important that you handle this today. Please follow these steps:
  1. Do thing A. (Avoid clicking on the Q button)
  2. Do thing B.
  3. Don't forget to eat lunch.
  4. Do thing C.

Properly formatted text also provides semantic information for people with disabilities, whereas plain text ignores all of the accessibility advances we have made in the past 20 years or so.

Beyond that, all modern email apps happily send both plain and HTML messages along. The reader is the one who should choose how he or she wishes to view it. Just select Always show as plaint text and your email reader will switch to the format you want to see.

The problem isn't HTML email, the problem is users who think that changing the font face, colors, and font size makes an email stand out. You will never prevent these users from doing so, but you can always set an example for clean, well-formatted emails. :)



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email etiquette
Authored by: palahala on Oct 09, '09 03:59:05PM
sending email in a format other than plain text is considered poor form

This being 2009, I'd like to rephrase that to: using an email client that sends polluted HTML (like one that always specifies the font face and size) is considered poor form...

Putting a single word into italics in Apple's Mail.app will in fact only add two tags to the HTML version of the message. Doing the same in Outlook results in a message that is full of style declarations, and hardly allows the recipient to even increase or decrease the text size... Using Outlook without plain-text is criminal indeed.



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email etiquette
Authored by: Spartacus on Oct 10, '09 08:14:54AM
Very true. For me, an ideal markup system for e-mail would be:
  • The recipient specifies the font in their mail preferences, the sender has no way of overriding it (die, Comic Sans, die die!);
  • The colour cannot be changed (I'm not really into pink);
  • Only basic markup is used: bold, italic, underline, quote, lists.


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email etiquette
Authored by: schutt on Oct 10, '09 11:25:05AM

Sounds good to me. Avoiding all the extras helps keep it readable, and speeds up the network. For the rare occasion you need the extra formatting, just email a link to a PDF or HTML file.



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