If you are a user of Apple's Mail client and you've used other mail clients, you
may miss the ability request read-receipts or set the priority of the mail you send.
Fortunately, Mail has an extensible architecture that allows third-party developers
to extend its capabilities by installing "bundles".
MailPriority is a plug-in for Mail that provides a simple interface to request read-receipts,
set the priority of outgoing messages, and automatically color-code messages.
- Mac OS 10.2 or 10.3
(version 1.1 supports 10.1)
- NOTE: The Jaguar
version of MailPriority disabled itself after Security Update 2004-01-26.
Installation is straightforward. MailPriority downloads as a disk image, which should
automatically mount on your desktop. Double-click on the installer and press the
If for any reason
you can't or don't want to use the installer, there are simple instructions for accomplishing
the installation manually.
If you want to make MailPriority available to all the users on your system, you will
have to install it for each user, because it installs in the user's home directory.
But it only requires 288K of disk space, so you don't have to worry about wasted
disk space (just the inconvenience of the extra steps).
Once installed, MailPriority adds a Priority sub-menu to Mail's Edit menu. You can
use this to see or set the priority of messages. However, in my experience, I never
even knew the menu was there. In fact, I rarely use any of the menus Mail has; most
common operations are accessible via toolbar icons.
MailPriority adds icons to the palette of available toolbar options, making it unobtrusive
and well integrated with Mail. I customized my new message toolbar to add priority
and read receipt options.
Using MailPriority within Mail
To request a read-receipt for a message, just click the icon while composing. To
set the priority of your message, select from the priority icon. Based on your preferences,
the priority icon can display as either a pop-up of the 5 priorities (1-highest,
5-lowest), or a toggle-button that cycles through the different priorities.
MailPriority's other feature is the ability to color-code your e-mail. From the preferences
pane, you can automatically assign a color based on the priority of the message.
It comes with two pre-defined color palletes, but you can completely customize the
colors assigned to each priority. Personally, I don't get a lot of prioritized mail,
and I use Mail's rules to color mail from people in my Address Book and SPAM, so
this feature is not of much use to me. However, for the sake of this review, I tried
using the colorize feature. MailPriority adds a contextual menu (control-click, or
right-click with a 2-button mouse) to the viewer list.
Colorizing with MailPriority
After selecting a color, I found that I had to wait for a *very* long time (at least
10 seconds). If I didn't wait, the color didn't take. MailPriority changes the color
of the letters in the browser list display. Compared to Mail's built-in colorizing
of the background of the list entry, I didn't find it worthwhile. Also, having to
wait for the effect to be applied was frustrating and counterintuitive.
MailPriority is a plug-in that adds a couple of useful features inexplicably missing
from Apple's Mail client. It adds the ability to request read-receipts and to set
the priority of the mail you send. I find these features so glaringly absent from
Mail, that MailPriority is one of my "must-have" tools, and the price is
right. In contrast, the colorization feature is pretty much a waste of time. There
is a potential for it to be useful, if you receive a lot of prioritized mail. On
the other hand, Mail's built-in rule-based colorization is likely to be more useful.
Fortunately, MailPriority could omit this feature entirely and still be completely
worthwhile to me. Anyone who uses Apple Mail should install this plug-in.
- Adds the ability
to request read receipts to Mail
- Adds message priority
- Well integrated with
Mail preferences and screens
- Current version only
supports 10.2 and higher
- Difficult to use
out of 5 Mice