Email tips for Mac Mail | Plus: Mail features coming in El Capitan

Here are the best Mail features and how to use them, plus we have the latest information about the new Mail features that are arriving with OS X El Capitan

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  • More like iOS 1
  • Swipe to delete 2
  • Multiple threads 3
  • Data detectors 4
  • Natural Language 5
  • Markup Menu 6
  • Annotations 7
  • File Formats 8
  • Sign Here 9
  • Mail Drop 10
  • Quick Compress 11
  • Storage Limits 12
  • Download Links 13
  • HandOff 14
  • In The Cloud 15
  • More stories
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Tip 1 of 15: Coming in El Capitan: iOS Mail features coming to Mac

Mail is getting a big update in El Capitan with many features reminiscent of the iOS version of Mail. 

For example, if you are composing an email and want to check another message you can minimize the email you are drafting so that it goes to the bottom of the screen (similar to the way it works on iOS 8). This way you can access your email inbox and find the other message that you want to refer to.

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Mail is getting a big update in El Capitan with many features reminiscent of the iOS version of Mail. 

For example, if you are composing an email and want to check another message you can minimize the email you are drafting so that it goes to the bottom of the screen (similar to the way it works on iOS 8). This way you can access your email inbox and find the other message that you want to refer to.

 

Step 2 of 15: Coming in El Capitan: iOS swiping in Mail on the Mac

Speaking of iOS-like features, swipe gestures are also coming to Mail for El Capitan. 

These swiping gestures, familiar to any iPad or iPhone user, make is easy to mark an email as unread, for example.

Assuming you have a trackpad, it works in the same way as on the iPhone: Swipe left to delete a message, swipe right to mark it as read.

 

Step 3 of 15: Coming in El Capitan: Manage multiple threads

Multiple email threads taking over your inbox?

In Mail 9 it’s easy to manage more than one email conversation, switching between active email threads using tabs – similar to Safari tabs.

This will make it easier to locate and keep tabs on the message threads that matter.

 

Step 4 of 15: Coming in El Capitan: Data detectors

Mail will volunteer to add events to your calendar and contacts to your contact database, this isn’t a new feature, but it is improved in El Capitan Mail.

Mail will add banners in between the address field and the body of the message with data it’s detected and possible actions to take.

In another attempt to be useful, Mail will note that the email of the person who emailed you isn’t in your Address Book and will offer to add it.

 

Step 5 of 15: Coming in El Capitan: Natural Language search

Mail in El Capitan will use Natural Language search. This means you can type: “Show me emails with ‘El Capitan’ in the subject line” and that’s what you’ll get.

It’s a lot more like the way you speak to Siri (which makes us wonder if Siri will eventually make it to the Mac.)

Read our El Capitan Tips

 

Step 6 of 15: Markup Menu in Mail

You can now make quick annotations on images or PDF files that you attach to your emails.

Hover your mouse over the image when it appears within your email, and you’ll see a little arrow appear in the top-right corner of the image.

Click on this and select Markup from the pull-down menu.

Read: Here's how to use OS X Extensions and The top 10 Yosemite Extensions

 

Step 7 of 15: Apple Mail Annotations

The Markup toolbar includes tools for adding text, or simple shapes such as rectangles and circles for annotating your images.

There’s also a pen tool that you can use for freehand drawing, and Mail will automatically smooth out your drawings to make them look nice and tidy.

 

Step 8 of 15: Markup File Formats

Unfortunately, Markup only works with photos, PDF files and other types of images.

You can’t use it to annotate other types of files, such as spreadsheets or presentations that you create in Numbers or Pages.

 

Step 9 of 15: Sign documents in Apple Mail

One really useful feature that arrived in Yosemite is the ability to ‘sign’ documents, such as PDF forms.

Click the Sign button in the Markup toolbar and Mail will ask if you want to write your signature by hand, using your mouse or trackpad.

It can also use your Mac’s camera to take a photo of your signature as well.

 

Step 10 of 15: Mail Drop

Many email systems put a limit on the size of file attachments that you can send via email, but Mail in Yosemite introduced a new option called Mail Drop that can get around this.

However, Mail Drop uses iCloud to store your file attachments, so you have to be signed into your iCloud account to use it.

 

Step 11 of 15: Compress files to email

If you’re sending a folder full of photos or other files you’ll need to compress the folder first.

You can do this by using your mouse or trackpad to Control-Click on the folder (or right-click with a two-button mouse) and then selecting the Compress command in the pop-up menu that appears.

 

Step 12 of 15: No Storage Limits

File attachments sent using Mail Drop don’t count towards your free 5GB of iCloud storage, so you won’t have to pay for extra storage.

However individual attachments start at 5GB in size, with a total limit of 1TB.

Attachments are also deleted after 30 days to free up space.

Read how to manage iCloud Storage

 

Step 13 of 15: Download Links for non OS X users

If the person that you sent the message to is also using Mail and OS X (Yosemite or El Capitan) then they’ll receive your email and its file attachment within Mail just like an ordinary email.

People using other email programs, or web mail sytems like Gmail, will receive an email with a download link for the file.

Related:

 

Step 14 of 15: HandOff

Since Yosemite Mail had worked with HandOff, so you can start to write an email on your iPhone or iPad and then switch over to your Mac if you need to look for a photo or other file that you want to attach to the message.

Read our complete guide to OS X and iOS Continuity features

 

Step 15 of 15: Mail Drop and the Cloud

If you get an error message saying that you can’t send files using Mail Drop, you may need to go into the iCloud preferences panel and then click on the Options button for iCloud Drive.

Make sure that Mail is selected in the list of programs that store data in iCloud in order to activate Mail Drop.

Read: More El Capitan tutorials including: How to use Mission Control on a Mac |and How to use Notes on a Mac |and How to use the Safari web browser on the Mac | Plus: Mac OS X El Capitan review | and Brilliant tips for Mac OS X El Capitan

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