If you not only receive tons of emails each day, but also reply to, forward, and send even more, then it really can be hard to keep up. Inspired by a discussion in the Apple Support forum, we decided to help out those who fall into this situation.
By keeping track of emails that you still need to answer and being able to sort them easily, you can increase your productivity twofold. And with the flexibility we’ll show you, can you find the emails awaiting your replies quickly.
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Create a Smart Mailbox
Smart Mailboxes are handy tools for moving messages automatically. While emails remain in their original location, they are also displayed in a specific mailbox that you create using criteria; sort of like Mail Rules.
To see which emails you have not answered, all in one spot, here’s how to set up that Smart Mailbox in the Mail app on your Mac.
- Click Mailbox > New Smart Mailbox from the menu bar.
- In the pop-up window, name your mailbox with something like “Unanswered Emails” or whatever you like.
- For the Contains messages that match [any/all] of the following condition, pick all.
- In the criteria section, click the first drop-down box and select Message was not replied to.
- Optionally mark the boxes for Include messages from Trash and from Sent.
- Click OK.
You can test this out if you like. Send yourself an email and it should show up in your new Smart Mailbox. Reply to it and it should disappear from that mailbox. (You may have to give it a few seconds to disappear.)
Sort emails in your Smart Mailbox
The Smart Mailboxes work just like the others you use in the Mail app. So, if you use the classic layout for Mail, you can sort using the columns. This makes it easy to sort by clicking the Date Received header and seeing the most current emails at the top.
If you use the default layout in the Mail app, you can still sort quickly using a couple of methods.
First and easiest, click the column header for your message list and pick Date and Newest Message on Top. Alternatively, you can click View > Sort By and choose Date and Newest Message on Top from there.
Edit your Smart Mailbox
One more tip you can use with the Smart Mailbox you create is to make it even smarter! Maybe you would like to see all of those unanswered emails from today, yesterday, or this week. It takes only a minute to edit your Smart Mailbox.
- Select your Smart Mailbox and either click Mailbox > Edit Smart Mailbox from the menu bar or right-click it and pick Edit Smart Mailbox from the context menu.
- In the criteria box, click the plus sign button all the way to the right to add another filter.
- For the first drop-down box, pick Date received and for the second one, pick the date or range you’d like to use. You can choose from options like today or this week, is exactly or is between, and is before the date or is after the date. These selections give you great flexibility.
- When you finish, click OK.
Like when you initially create the Smart Mailbox with the steps above, you can run a quick test.
You can create or edit Smart Mailboxes to include all sorts of criteria like this. So if you have a chance, look through the options in case you see additional filters to include. And if possible, run a test and match that criteria to see if everything works as you expect.
Are you ready to boost your productivity?
Letting emails go unanswered that shouldn’t can cause plenty of problems, especially for your job. So if you find this tutorial helpful and something you’re going to use please let us know in the comments below!
Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a project manager, department manager, and PMO Lead. She then decided to follow her dream and now writes about technology full-time. Sandy holds a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology.
She loves technology– specifically – terrific games and apps for iOS, software that makes your life easier, and productivity tools that you can use every day, in both work and home environments.
Her articles have regularly been featured at MakeUseOf, iDownloadBlog and many other leading tech publications.