Make Your Own Mailbox Shortcuts in Apple Mail

For the longest time, I've been wanting to free myself of the old-school mailbox pane that Apple Mail provides users. It's a bit of a retro throwback to the old Mail.app layout, but it seems that for those that have multiple mailboxes and accounts, managing email and Inbox Zero can be a nightmare.

Enter the mailbox shortcut bar.

The mailbox shortcut bar is probably the least used feature in the new Mail app. Hidden right below the icon toolbar, the mailbox shortcut bar is quite possibly the handiest feature for users who want the look and feel of the mail app on their iPad or iPhone and retain the speed and ease of managing multiple folders across different email accounts. Even if you only manage one email account (lucky you!), you'll still find that using the mailbox shortcut bar is a breeze for your productivity. Before I spruced up my views this is what my Mail.app sidebar and shortcut bar looked like.

Screen Shot 2011 12 27 at 2 27 07 PM

Screen Shot 2011 12 27 at 2 26 45 PM

After I worked some mojo, I was able to completely hide the mailbox pane on the left and now my mailbox shortcut bar looks like this:

Screen Shot 2011 12 27 at 2 27 21 PM

You can add mailboxes by simply dragging the mailbox group name to the shortcut bar and drop it. It will add a drop-down menu to display the individual mail folders for that account. When you want to sort mail in your inbox into one of these folders, simply right click and choose the Move to… function to place the message in the folder of your choosing. Here's what the mailbox folders will look like in your shortcut bar.

Screen Shot 2011 12 27 at 2 27 34 PM

With this new method, you'll have a much less cluttered mail interface and a more seamless transition when switching between your iPad and your desktop or laptop Mac. Happy Inbox Zero!