How to Customize the macOS Mail Toolbar

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Mail is one of the most commonly used native macOS apps, and you can significantly improve your day-to-day interaction with the program. Here’s how to customize the Mail toolbar to improve everyday use.

Image: Igor/Adobe Stock

There is a temptation, especially when using a new Mac for the first time, to use applications as is. But there are plenty of benefits waiting for you – sometimes you just need to customize a few options. A great app to start with is macOS’ own Mail.

While most people know that the email client supports a variety of customizations, many might be surprised to learn that tweaking the toolbar to better suit needs and habits requires, quite literally, only a few seconds. Yet these simple toolbar customizations can save time and multiple clicks several times an hour every day.

SEE: iCloud vs OneDrive: Which is better for Mac, iPad and iPhone users? (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The messaging toolbar itself can be shown or hidden. If when Mail is opened, you don’t see the toolbar present, as shown in Figure Aclick View and select Show Toolbar.

Figure A

The macOS Mail toolbar contains many action icons and shortcuts that can be adjusted to each user’s preferences.

The Mail toolbar also supports displaying action icons alone or with explanatory text. Right-click on the toolbar and select one of three options to adjust the layout:

  1. Icon and text: macOS displays both the icon for the action (such as the back-pointing arrow) and the corresponding description of the action (Reply) with text.
  2. Icon only: macOS only displays the icon for an action.
  3. Text only: macOS displays only the text description of an action.

The actual actions available on the macOS Mail toolbar are adjusted by right-clicking the toolbar and selecting Customize Toolbar, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

The macOS toolbar supports adding and removing shortcuts for a number of actions, including reply, reply all, and forward.

When enabling toolbar customization, the toolbar icons and descriptions flicker from side to side to indicate that they are ready to be adjusted and the user is in toolbar customization mode. To reposition a toolbar control, click the corresponding toolbar action and drag it to the location where you want the action to be positioned.

Toolbar icons and descriptions can also be removed from the toolbar. To remove an action from the toolbar, while still in toolbar customization mode, simply click on the action you want to remove and drag it down and off the toolbar. ‘tools.

To add an action to the toolbar, in toolbar customization mode, click and drag the action or shortcut you want to add to the Mail toolbar to where you want it. position the action or the shortcut.

Many Mail actions and shortcuts are available, including the following as shown in Figure C:

  • Add sender to contact
  • Archive
  • Wipe off
  • Flag
  • receive mail
  • Increase/decrease font size
  • Waste
  • Mark as read
  • Mark as unread
  • New message
  • To print
  • Show/hide sidebar
  • Show headers

Figure C

macOS Mail supports adding many actions and shortcuts to the application’s toolbar menu.

In toolbar customization mode, macOS users can also change toolbar action display functionality by selecting Icon and Text, Icon Only, or Text Only from the drop-down menu included in the toolbar customization menu.

While the Apple developers have done well in creating a reliable email program more than capable of meeting the demands of even a corporate environment, customizing the toolbar you see every day helps ensure that the program remains adapted to your daily habits according to your needs. Don’t forget to take the time to adjust the toolbar to suit your preferences.


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