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Keyboard Shortcuts In Mail Without Preview Pane

4148 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Nov 18, 2012 4:48 PM by exyfeplin RSS
biznacho Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 6, 2011 10:17 AM
Greetings, I like using any mail client (Mac or Windows or Linux) without the preview pane being open. This means the email in the Inbox is shown in list form, and opening an email means double clicking it to view it in a new window. However, on Mac there seems to be no keyboard shortcut to move to the previous or next email, which means I have to close the email, then double click the next email and becomes somewhat tedious.

If the preview pane is open the up and down arrows (or the three finger swipe) moves to the previous or next message, but this doesn't work if the email is open in a new window.

Does anyone know a keyboard shortcut that will work when an email is open in a new window?

Thanks in advance.
MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.6), Mail, Keyboard Shortcut, No Preview Pane
  • Jeffrey Jones2 Level 6 Level 6 (8,425 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 6, 2011 11:44 AM (in response to biznacho)
    The Return key opens the selected message(s). Command-W closes the current window; the Delete key deletes the current message (even if it's open in a separate window). The arrow keys navigate the message list when it has focus. The Tab key moves focus among the visible panes in the Viewer window. Mail is easy to use without ever touching the mouse. I find it remarkably efficient. I use a Smart Mailbox to display unread messages. I never use the Preview pane.
  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,500 points)
    Jeffrey Jones2 wrote:
    Mail is easy to use without ever touching the mouse. I find it remarkably efficient.

    In this particular case, Mail is remarkably inefficient. To go from one message to the next without a Preview pane, one must:
    1. Command-W to close existing message window
    2. Arrow key to next message
    3. Return to open message window

    In other mail clients, this is a one-key operation to simply display the next message in the existing message window. Apple Mail cannot do this and requires 3x the keystrokes to do the same thing.

    I love Apple Mail, I switched to it from Eudora and use some of the power user features, but in this one area, Apple Mail is sadly lacking.
    Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, iPhone 3GS, Mac OS X (10.6.6), PowerBook G4 15" Al, PowerBook G3 FireWire, PowerCenter Pro, PowerBook 160
  • raka Calculating status...
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    Nov 1, 2011 3:12 PM (in response to biznacho)

    i have the exact same need: to use a single keystroke to read next/ previous Mail message, without having to use Preview mode.


    has anything changed, or is this still impossible?


    MS Outlook & other mail apps have this capability


    does anyone perhaps have a script or workaround i can use to achieve this?



  • findmory Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 16, 2011 2:22 PM (in response to biznacho)

    Yeah just want to agree that this is big flaw in Mac Mail.  Reading mail in preview pane is flawed to me for two reasons... one is that if you single click a message in your list (let's say to file it or flag it), it instantly gets marked as unread.  A lot of times this is NOT my intention.  So i accidentally mark stuff I haven't read thoroughly as unread.  Even more dramatic is that if you are clicked on a message in your message list (in the inbox, for example) and you press the delete key, it deletes the message (as it should) and then instantly highlights the previous message in your inbox... thus marking it READ!  ugh.. certainly not my intention, and caused me to mistakenly think messages were read (when they weren't) so often, I switched to having messages open in their own window.  I actually really have come to like this... i keep the mailboxes and message list in one monitor and then open the individual mail message mostly full screen in a 2nd monitor.  But now that leaves me without the ability to quickly go to a previous or next message from that individual mail message.  WHY???  As others have mentioned... just about every other mail client (including MAIL on iPhone!!) has buttons in the toolbar of the message window for NEXT or PREVIOUS message!! 

  • JDfunky Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 15, 2012 9:08 PM (in response to findmory)

    findmory, re marking stuff as read when just quickly scrolling through... I use TruePreview, a preference panel which adds on to Mail to allow me to set my own preferences as to what is considered 'read'. e.g. after pausing on it for 30 secs, or only after opening it, etc.

  • fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,655 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 16, 2012 12:46 AM (in response to raka)

    raka wrote:


    does anyone perhaps have a script or workaround i can use to achieve this?

    AFAICT, it cannot be done with Mail's scripting model. It probably could be done by UI scripting. But you would need a utility to execute the script with a shortcut anyway, such as Spark or Keyboard Maestro. And if you use Spark, it's simpler to set it to trigger the sequence ⌘W, ↓, ↩ or ⌘W, ↑, ↩ with a shortcut, rather than write a UI script.

  • unfrostedpoptart Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 25, 2012 11:59 AM (in response to fane_j)

    You've got to be kidding me.  After switching to OSX 3 years ago I keep running into these absolutely stupid ommisions in the OS and apps that make daily use a continuos search for new pref pane plugins!


    No command in a mail program to go to the next message or next unread message?  I can't think of another mail program I've used in over 20 years on a dozen OSs that is missing this.   I was trying to give Apple Mail a chance again with 10.8.2 and with msgFiler, it does most of what I need but this is just insane. 

  • exyfeplin Calculating status...

    +1000 - this is truly pathetic, an obvious omission that has been with us for years and years now.


    i guess noone at Apple Inc actually uses Apple Mail, or maybe they've spent so long drinking the iKoolaid that they think this is just normal.  Whatever, they don't seem to listen to their users...  :-(


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