Apple Mail Hack: Move Message To Sent Folder

In the year that has elapsed since I failed to explain why I was using PINE for email, I’ve switched to Apple Mail.

Well, it’s been alright, but much to my regret the improved latency due to keystrokes only traveling around my local machine – instead of through the interweb and back as was the case with PINE on a remote machine – makes it almost justifiable. Almost.

Apple Mail makes it really easy to delete messages. You just press the “Delete” button. Poof.

Apple Mail, however, makes it a lot more difficult to SAVE messages. You have to go to the “Message” menu, then select “Move To”, then select the mailbox you want to save it in. Or use the mouse to drag-and-drop it into your mailbox of choice. But this is not acceptable as using the mouse depletes one’s indie cred even more than simply using a GUI mail client in the first place.

So, armed with James Eagan’s article on writing mailbundles I wrote a hack which adds a menu item, complete with keyboard shortcut, allowing the user to easily and quickly file one or more messages away in the “Sent” folder (*). See here:

Move to Sent Menu Screenshot

(*) Since switching to Apple Mail – and having access to its nifty and swift full-text search capabilities – I’ve abandoned the thousand-or-so individual folders in which I used to file things away. Mail in my Inbox now goes to one of two destinations: Trash, for spam and automatic notifications and other stuff I have no interest in ever looking at again, or Sent, for anything written by a human and on occasion important things written by computers.

Download Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) only.

To install:

  • Copy the mailbundle to ~/Library/Mail/Bundles. Create this folder if it doesn’t already exist.
  • Open Terminal and run the following commands to enable mailbundle support:
    defaults write EnableBundles 1
    defaults write BundleCompatibilityVersion 3

Steve Mokris is a developer at Kosada, Inc.



Ironically enough, your screenshot shows the built-in way of handling this: the “Move to X Again” item in the menu there. Since you only use two destinations, you’ve got Delete as the shortcut for “Move to Trash”, and after moving one message to “Sent” with the “Move To” submenu, Mail will let you use Cmd+Opt+T to move other messages to Sent. It appears to remember this even after you quit and restart. And if you don’t like the default shortcut key, you can change it in Keyboard Preferences by adding a shortcut for “Move to “Sent” Again”…


Andrew -

I was looking for a more robust solution. Since Apple Mail doesn’t provide any visual feedback regarding which mailbox the “Move to x Again” function actually moves the mail to, I’m concerned that I might (for some unusual reason) drop a mail in another folder, then make use of “Move to x Again” and end up unintentionally filing a ton of important messages in some arbitrary folder (which may or may not end up being cached locally and therefore searchable). That just feels too fragile for me.

Plus I was just interested in trying to figure out how to do this. :^)



That’s pretty cool. I’d like to add a menu item to move mail to my archive folder. Could you post your source? Thanks, Michael.

The link to Eagan’s article is busted. I’m very interested in finding ways to improve the functionality of Mail, having just migrated from Eudora after installing OS X 10.6. For example, if I was working on an open composition (either a new message or a reply to another), and changed my mind and wanted to delete the open message, I could just hit command-D in Eudora and off it went to the Trash.

In Mail however, the only thing I can see to do is hit command-W to close, then mouse to select “Don’t Save” in the subsequent dialog box. I would even settle for a “Delete” button on the toolbar of an open composition. These are just tiny things, but they make a lot of difference in my daily experience.

I really like your solution above, although I haven’t tried to install it on Snow Leopard yet.

You can also use the Keyboard Preferences to set up application-specific keyboard shortcuts for to move messages (or do anything else from the menus). Seems easier to me than installing stuff.