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Create a Thunderbird-like mail archiving feature in Mail
Authored by: Reaperducer on Feb 23, '10 08:44:25AM

I agree with valx -- the workflow you're using seems archaic. The whole point of technologies like Spotlight and the search bar in Mail and MacOS in general is that you don't have to bother with a bunch of folders like back in the days of Pine and Mutt. It's not the 80's anymore.

My method is similar to valx's -- I create a few topic-based mailboxes ("Personal Archive", "Work Archive", "Online Purchases")and when it's time to archive a message, I simply drag the message from my inbox into the archive mailbox.

When it was created and what folder it's in are irrelevant since if I need something old I can just search for keywords in the Mail app or in Spotlight. It also gives the added benefit of spanning across years, which is helpful for things that happen in December and January. I don't know about you, but my mail conversation don't all magically end on December 31 each year.

And since the archive mailboxes are on my IMAP mail server, I can access the messages in them even when I'm away from my computer via my iPhone or a web browser. If all of my messages were archived in dozens of little folders on my computer that doesn't help me when I'm halfway around the world and need to re-print a receipt for that ferry I booked months ago.

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Create a Thunderbird-like mail archiving feature in Mail
Authored by: hibbelig on Feb 23, '10 11:12:47AM

My personal workflow is this: Incoming mail goes to my Inbox. It stays in the Inbox until I am done with it. When I am done with a message, I archive it. I don't choose different archive folders for different messages because I find that the global message search provided by both Thunderbird 3 and Apple Mail (via Spotlight) is much better for retrieving old messages.

I like to keep the archive in the same account as the Inbox, however: This way, when processing work messages from home I can find the archived messages from work, too. And vice versa.

The subdivision of the Archives folder by year is done for two reasons: First of all, I feel it might avoid performance issues caused by folders containing lots of messages. Secondly, Thunderbird does it like this and I use different computers, not all of them Macs, so it seemed to make sense to be compatible.

For me, the main appeal of the A key in Thunderbird is: after being done with a message, I don't need to think about where it should go, I just hit A. In the same manner, I hit Command-Shift-9 in Apple Mail. After having tried this for a while, I found out that the cognitive overhead of thinking about which folder a message should go to was larger than I thought, and I felt a huge relief after I realized I don't have to think about that anymore.

Dragging and dropping messages is out of the question for me -- I am a keyboard junkie.

Perhaps that explains the motivation behind it. I realize that different people have different habits. My habit is not catered for by Apple Mail, so I wanted to change it. I thought maybe there are a few readers that also know Thunderbird and that also like the A key and miss it :-)

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