SmallCubed released its full set of Apple Mail plug-ins right in time for the release of macOS “Sierra”. I have been reviewing the MailTags, Mail Act-On and Mail Perspectives suite for quite some time now. For the first time, I’ve also tried out the SigPro plug-in.
Let’s start with Mail Perspectives 2.0. The predecessors of SmallCubed released Mail Perspectives a good number of years ago and it still is one of the best ways to focus on the important email folders in Apple Mail. For some time now, Mail has gained the ability to create a VIP system that allows you to group the messages from people you deem important. However, it still requires you to go into that smart folder.
In contrast, Mail Perspectives allows you to create one window with any number of folders listing their content. The clever thing about Mail Perspectives is that you can choose to show only today’s messages, new messages or all of the folder’s content. If you work with VIP statuses, this enables you to have the VIP folder’s content visible at all times, next to, the folder that contains messages from less important people you can’t ignore nevertheless, for example.
Mail Act-On 4
MailTags 5 has only been updated to be compatible with Sierra. Mail Act-On 4, however, is a different matter. For starters, it has a redesigned menu window that sticks to the message viewer. That way, it’s better to understand which messages you are “acting” on.
Suppose you have an Act-On rule that is conditional, i.e. it works only on messages with specific characteristics. If you have made such rules, there’s now a checkbox that allows you to hide those rules when messages don’t have those characteristics. This significantly reduces clutter.
Another new feature is that you can now forward messages as an attachment instead of an inline message — no more endless threads in one huge message, potentially clogging up your receiver’s mail client. A new Act-On rule lets you mark messages as junk or not junk. I haven’t tested this and can’t tell how it works alongside SpamSieve, which uses a different process to designate messages as junk/regular mail.
Another new Outbox rule lets you cancel sending a message and will display an alert instead. The usefulness of this rule is a bit of a mystery to me, but it does work only if you delay the dispatch of the message so it ends up in the Outbox mailbox. A more useful new Outbox rule in my opinion, is the one that allows you to change signatures.
A very interesting Outbox and Act-On rule is the one that lets you move or copy a message to a folder Mail Act-On asks you to designate after the message has been sent. This means you can process a message using any number of actions, then have the message saved to a specific folder after having sent it. If the folder doesn’t yet exist, you can create a new one right from the Act-On window.
Finally, the MAO results window is now a brief sheet in the viewer that lists the processed messages.
SigPro was completely new to me. It replaces and empowers Apple Mail’s built-in signature module. You can for example, add a Skype button to your Rich Text or HTML messages, or a quote of the day, or even a favourite iTunes playlist.
The “objects” that make your signature, like the Skype button, are presented in the form of draggable chicklets. It’s all very easy, but the random quotes feature is of course the most interesting. Instead of random quotes, you can put it to good use as a marketing tool. You could, for example, include random items you may have for sale, or Realtors could add recent houses for sale, etc.
SmallCubed’s Apple Mail plug-ins still turn this mail client into a powerful business instrument and the new features increase the power even more. However, a couple of the plug-ins had hiccups when I tried them out. The Mail Act-On window suddenly stopped being escape-able — you turn off the window with the Escape key on your keyboard. Mail Perspectives had a glitch that made Apple Mail crash. I could only fix it by removing Mail Perspectives completely, including its preferences. Finally, after also SigPro removing SigPro all the mystery problems stopped occurring, so my guess is that there are still bugs in one or more modules.
When these glitches have all been fixed, the new plug-ins will be a real boon for users who use Mail as their primary business mail client. The four plug-ins cost €64.