Review of Mail Act-On

Here’s the review of Mail Act-On from indev software which I did for Allison Sheridan at the Nosillacast Podcast hosted at But first, as always, there's a problem to be solved...

You like to be able to triage your e-mail inbox in your quest to attain inbox zero nirvana. My problem always has been that in order to get that inbox to zero, I had to move the e-mail to a folder to file it away. This of course meant either dragging the mail item to the appropriate folder - many times inadvertently filing into the wrong folder.

Alternatively you could use the menu command Move To or Copy To and scroll down to pick the folder - not terribly useful if you had several bills to file away and you had to pop the menu, scroll, and click to select the same folder.

Of course you could create rules to automagically file the items away but for me, that meant “out of sight, out of mind” and I didn’t get to look at that e-mail anyway. And what's more you'd have to tweak the rules time and again when new e-mails need to get categorised.

So here’s the deal, Mail Act-On from indev software is an add-on to Apple's Mail app which lets you use the keyboard to select the folder to file the e-mail (amongst other things) - click-click whoosh!

Pressing the Mail Act-On's Main Menu function key F1 brings up a translucent panel which lists a number of single key commands - type A to Apply Act-On's rules (more later), M to move the message to a folder, C to copy the message to a folder, or O to open a folder.

Pressing F1 brings up the Mail Act-On Main Menu as a translucent overlay

Press M and you are presented with a list of folders, with the last few used folders near the top. Just press the number corresponding to the folder, if it was recently used, or scroll or use the cursor keys to select the folder. Better yet, press the spacebar and then type a sequence of letters, and Mail Act-On brings up a list of folders with that sequence in the name. Cursor down and press return - and its filed! Neat huh?

Pressing M at the Main Menu or F3 by itself brings up the Move Messages to Mailbox panel.

If you press the space bar at the Move Messages panel, you can type a filter string

Pressing F2 brings up the Mail Act-On rules panel - just as you would have done by pressing F1 followed by A - thus saving a keystroke. Mail Act-On rules are like Mail rules - you create and edit them in the Rules section in Mail Preferences. In addition Mail Act-On also adds Outbox Rules, so sent messages will automagically get filed based on the rules you define.

Pressing the A key from the Main Menu or F2 if no menu is displayed brings up the Apply Act-On Rules Panel

Mail Act-On Rules are configured in the Mail Preferences Rules panel. Mail Act-On also adds Outbox Rules to filter outgoing messages.

Pressing F3 brings up the Move messages panel - just like F1 followed by M - yet another shortcut.

Now, where Mail Act-On shines is in its customised "Move To" folders panel. Clicking on Mail Act-On in Mail Preferences brings up its preferences. Now click on the Menus part of the segmented button to bring up Mail Act-On's menu preference pane. Finally, click on the "F6 - Move To Preferred Folder" and the right hand pane changes to a list of 10 folders. Use the pop up menus to select a folder to be used for each number. The next time you press F6 - your list of folders comes up - and all you have to do is to press the number corresponding to the folder you want to move the message to. What could be easier!

Pressing T at the Main Menu or F6 brings up the Move Messages to Preferred Folder panel.

You set up the preferred folders in the Menus section of the Mail Act-On preferences in Mail's preferences.

These Mail Act-On actions will work on one message or several selected ones. In addition, you can keep the panels up by pressing the function key twice in a row.

Mail Act-On's website says "Reduce the effort required to manage your e-mail" - and indeed it has done that for me. You can get a 30 day free trial of Mail Act-On from indev software's website at If you like it, it only costs just $24.95.

But wait, there's more - indev software also makes Mail Tags, and what problem does that solve for me, do you ask? Stay tuned!