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Mail.app: Automatically file my reply in same folder?

2539 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Dec 11, 2012 12:30 PM by jim55555 RSS
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jdmcmurtry Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 9, 2012 8:49 AM

I like Mail.app (v4.5) and use it daily. But a never-ending source of irritation for me is that every time I reply to an existing message that's filed in a given mail folder or subfolder, my reply gets stored in the "Sent" folder, and I have to manually move it to the folder containing the message to which I replied. I send quite a lot of replies, so this is a constant annoyance. Is there any way to make Mail.app automatically save my sent reply in the same folder as the message to which I replied?

 

Thanks,

~ Justin

Mac mini (Aluminum) 2.4 GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • kurt188 Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)

    Email that you send is supposed to be put in your Sent folder. Why do you think it shouldn't be?

     

    There's no good reason to store Sent messages anywhere else except the Sent mail folder. Moving it around ensures you can't easily find all the email you sent. When you reply to an email, the message you're replying to is normally part of it, unless you deliberately remove it. When you browse your Inbox, any message you've replied to will have an arrow on the left indicating that. If you search your email for those you've received from a particular email address or person, all of them will show up, along with that same indication as to whether or not you replied to it.

     

    You're just making more work for yourself, and that's foolish.

  • steve626 Level 4 Level 4 (1,395 points)

    What you are trying to do has a certain logic to it. You want all your to and fro correspondence to be sorted in the sane way.

     

    Eudora (no longer used much or supported) used to provide an option for what you want; the "Sent" destination could be redirected to a folder instead, but it had to be manually indicated for each email response, it wasn't automatic.

     

    I don't think any current email packages allow for the specific option you are requesting. However some allow you to view mail by "threads", including Apple Mail. But Apple Mail doesn't do what Outlook does do, which when viewing what Outlook calls "conversations" (which are like threads), it also show "sent" messages along with the messages that were being replied to, all grouped together. That sounds sort of like what you want. But it's a bit awkward to use in Outlook.

     

    If you simply cc yourself when you reply to a message, and then ask Mail to view by threads, it may group the messages together that you want. But it's not the elegant, automatic technique that you are looking for.

  • kurt188 Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)

    By your reasoning, all messages that one receives are supposed to be kept in your Inbox folder, as moving them around ensures you can't easily find all the email you've received.

    That's exactly right. You'd prefer them to all go to the Trash, instead?

    Creating subfolders to organize your communications is just making more work for yourself, and that's foolish.

    It's interesting that you try to put words in my mouth, since that's not what I said. Clearly, you don't know how the concept of email works, or even how Mail works. You should study the Help files.

     

    There's absolutely no good reason to move any email out of your Inbox. You can use Smart Mailboxes to organize your email in such a fashion, but the original email is still always in your Inbox.

  • steve626 Level 4 Level 4 (1,395 points)

    kurt188 wrote:

     

    There's absolutely no good reason to move any email out of your Inbox. You can use Smart Mailboxes to organize your email in such a fashion, but the original email is still always in your Inbox.

    Actually, both Apple Mail as well as MS-Outlook allow you to MOVE messages from the Inbox to other folders, or to COPY messages from the Inbox to other folders; in the latter case, the original message stays in the Inbox, but in the other case, the message is physically moved. This actually can matter when the Inbox is physically on an IMAP or Exchange server and the size of that Inbox determines how much the provider charges for storage, or there is some other limit on the number of mesages in the Inbox. Microsoft has recommended not allowing that Inbox to grow too large, say more than 10,000 messages. In fact my company automatically archives such emails to prevent the size of the Inbox from growing too large, at Microsoft's suggestion. I believe that Apple also recommends not allowing any one mailbox to grow beyond some nmber of messages. In a corporate setting (I run a department with over 600 employees), one can easily get thousands of emails in the Inbox in a relatively short time and some sort of sorting and organization is needed.

     

    Different people may have different approaches to filing their emails. For my personal email account, I don't get that much and leave a lot in the Inbox and have just a few folders. For my work environment, I get 10-30 emails per hour and manual and automatic sorting is a must into different folders.

     

    So I think both of you are right about this, you don't need to fight about it!

  • fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,655 points)

    jdmcmurtry wrote:

     

    Is there any way to make Mail.app automatically save my sent reply in the same folder as the message to which I replied?

    No. The best you can do is to try to use rules or AppleScript to make it easier to move the replies from the Sent mailboxes.

     

    On a more philosophical tack, your problem is that you want to make the tool work the way you want it to work, rather than the way it was designed to work. There're quite a few learned papers and PhD theses about it, but little has been accomplished. For practical purposes, it's still the human being who has to adapt to the tool, rather than the other way around.

    … nuts… obnoxious…

    Tut, tut. If we have to be nasty to each other, couldn't we at least do it elegantly? Where are the scullions, the rampallians, and the fustilarians of yore?

  • fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,655 points)

    jdmcmurtry wrote:

     

    you seem to be saying that there's something wrong or misguided about the development of such things as

    I'm saying this: If the tool you are using does not meet your expectation, then either change your expectation, or change the tool. That is, if you want to be productive. If you're interesting in arguing, for instance about the cultural determinacy of notions such as "no-brainer", "normal", "logical", "obvious", etc, then that's a very different matter.

  • DarylLee Calculating status...

    Justin--thanks for the MailHub tip.  I have recently abandoned Thunderbird for Mail.app (for other, complicated, reasons), and this is the feature I miss the most.  I'm astonished that Apple hasn't implemented it.  I'm equally astonished that it isn't obvious to the most casual observer that the most natural place to file a reply is in the same folder as the message being replied to.  But not wanting to flame the fire, I'll just go have a look at MailHub.  The annoyance is worth $19 to solve.

     

    My next search will be on how to sort my mailbox by thread, but I'm going for one solution at a time now.

  • David Kelly1 Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    I'm in a similar boat. What I would like is to be able to apply Rules to outgoing messages. Then if I have a rule sorting a person or email list to a specific folder I can add one more condition to that rule to capture my outgoing to place in same folder.

     

    Of course with most email lists my posting reflects back and gets sorted in the list's folder. But personal emails only go to the Sent folder (as does everything I send). I could create a rule and periodically run it on the Sent folder but thats inconvienient.

  • dnine Calculating status...

    I don't think this is so much an issue of whether to put things in folders or not - it's an issue of how Mail handles threading...

     

    What jd is going for here is something that we already have in web-based mail apps like gmail. My impression is that he would like to see the complete conversation in one place (i.e. the recipients replies as well as his are in chronological order in the same thread). Usually your own reply will be quoted when a recipient responds to your email, but there is no guarantee of this - some people like to delete the endless quotes before they reply so yours might not be on there. More importantly, what if you are in the midst of a conversation and the person you wrote to hasn't replied in quite a long time - you want to see the last thing you wrote to them and how the conversation had evolved before you send another message. The problem is that the last thing you wrote to them is in your sent mail but isn't yet in the thread because no one has replied to it yet. This means you have to sorta bounce back and forth between your sent mail and the thread to see the whole conversation.

     

    I agree that it is very frustrating, and actually I use the Gmail web interface primarily for this reason - if you reply to a message you should be able to at any time click on a single thread and see what both parties have said in its entirety.

     

    Seems easy enough to make this an option for those of us who want it, no?

  • nbevan Calculating status...

    David Kelly1 wrote:

     

    What I would like is to be able to apply Rules to outgoing messages. Then if I have a rule sorting a person or email list to a specific folder I can add one more condition to that rule to capture my outgoing to place in same folder.

     

    Of course with most email lists my posting reflects back and gets sorted in the list's folder. But personal emails only go to the Sent folder (as does everything I send). I could create a rule and periodically run it on the Sent folder but thats inconvienient.

    Provided by another essential plug-in: MailActOn, which costs $25 in addition to the $19 I now know I need for MailHub (sigh!).

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