Keeping threads cohesive (sent messages stored with thread)

Daniel's Avatar


27 Oct, 2010 02:14 PM


I moved from Thunderbird to and MailTags.

My workflow is adapted to the Thunderbird function "Keep replies in the same folder"
This stores the sent messages within the folder of the thread one replies to.
This way, conversations are kept cohesive.

Now with MailTags I can search for my mail easily, but as they may be in three different folders (Inbox, Archive, Sent) the thread is not cohesive any more. I can only see the thread in context of one folder.

Can Mail ActOn succeed in moving reply to message's folder I was replying to?

  1. 1 Posted by Gabe on 28 Oct, 2010 06:08 AM

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    This is a limitation on the part of, and something that annoys me to no end.

    To that end, I created these rules, which solved the problem for me. YMMV.

  2. 2 Posted by Gabe on 28 Oct, 2010 06:13 AM

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    Oh - the first rule is simply a rule to delete mail that come from yourself, as we're already moving them to the unified folder. I sent to a lot of lists of which I'm a member, and I don't need two copies of the same mail.

    One more thing - you'll notice that I only do this for mails that are tagged. If they're not tagged, slapping them into one huge folder is gonna make it really tricky to find later on.

  3. 3 Posted by Daniel on 29 Oct, 2010 01:22 PM

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    Thanks for the response, Gabe. Your idea is to create an outbox rule that moves the message to a certain folder. I guess you are doing the "move" in a separate rule so you can assign a shortcut key to it.

    I guess, it's not possible to move "current message" to "prior message's folder" with prior message (in an outbox rule) is the message I replied to?!

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by Scott on 01 Nov, 2010 07:11 PM

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    We are working on this kind of functionality in MAO 3. We have been reticent of incorporate it fully because we anticipate problems where people would inadvertently store their sent mail in their inbox (leading to many "support" issues)

    One thing you can also do is create smart mailboxes for specific correspondents to show email to and from those correspondents.

  5. 5 Posted by Daniel on 01 Nov, 2010 08:42 PM

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    Hi Scott,

    that's exactly my setting in Firefox: New sent mail goes to Inbox. So I can tag it and move it to the archives folder. Replies go to the folder where the thread ("prior message") is.

    I am looking forward to mail ActOn 3 :-)

    PS: I am using smart mailboxes for mails that are tagged with "action" keywords. For "project" keywords I search using quick search bar.

  6. 6 Posted by Daniel on 07 Dec, 2010 06:55 PM

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    The idea is that individuals are carrying on a conversation through their emails and that those conversations are weakened when spread over several folders.

  7. 7 Posted by petra on 07 Dec, 2010 07:19 PM

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    Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for the link.

  8. 8 Posted by Samuel Smith on 10 Feb, 2011 01:08 AM

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    I bought mail act on mainly because I thought it would allow me to automatically move stuff from my sent mail to the inboxes so that I can keep both sides of the conversation together. Unfortunately I can't figure out a way to make that work. All the workarounds I have seen on this sight involve some multi-step procedure. Arrg.

    Currently I just cc myself on any outgoing messages. This sort of works. The problem is that it confuses Apple's threading algorithm so I get messages from multiple threads combined into one since the cc makes the sender also a receipient and so if the subject line matches that of another thread, the threads get combined.

    It would really be nice to have rules the work on the "sent" mailbox so that I can automatically combine both sent and received into a single conversation.

    Mail should be orgainzed by account not by inbox and sent mail. Inside an accounts mailbox when listing the mail the "read" icon is all that is needed to distinguish incoming mail (ie it hasn't been read yet)

  9. 9 Posted by Daniel on 10 Feb, 2011 08:41 PM

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    Samuel, this is a suggestion that I did not try myself yet.
    There is a menu entry "Mailbox > Use this mailbox for". I can not set my inbox to be used as sent folder. But what about creating a rule to send any incoming mail to a certain folder and additionally setting this folder as "sent folder" using "Mailbox > Use this mailbox for > Sent"?

  10. 10 Posted by smithsm on 18 Feb, 2011 07:14 PM

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    "use this mailbox for" only works for IMAP mailboxes not POP. Mine are pop.

  11. 11 Posted by Marc Jacobs on 21 Jun, 2011 05:03 AM

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    Hi Scott; I have also had this conversation with you many times over the years. I have never really understood your view on the support side of this issue. Thunderbird uses the text "Place replies in the folder of the message being replied to" with a checkbox. I don't have any stats, but I suspect there are many more copies of Thunderbird out in the world than Mac Mail. Is it your premise that TB users or more sophisticated than Mail users, so not needing additional support, or maybe they are just better readers and followers of instruction. If you ever do decide to add it, I certainly will welcome, and promise to never cry for help if you put my mail exactly where I ask you too. :-) Thanks for Mail Acton and MailTags. I love them both. Even without this feature, they make Mail a useable client.

  12. 12 Posted by smithsm on 21 Jun, 2011 02:07 PM

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    Here Here!
    Given that the big new feature of Apple Mail in Lion is "CONVERSATIONS", it seems that Mail Act may have missed the boat. The workflow for people who use email
    productively is to include both sides of a conversation in one thread. Not doing it that way is just plain inefficient. Apple finally "got it". Mail Act On even though they could have, decided not to "get It".

  13. Support Staff 13 Posted by Scott on 21 Jun, 2011 02:15 PM

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    MAO 3 will have the ability to file messages in the same folder as the source message on an adhoc basis -- it will be out this summer.

  14. Support Staff 14 Posted by Scott on 21 Jun, 2011 02:27 PM

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    MAO is not about showing conversations -- never suggested that it is was for this and it would have been a monumental task to add this in. It would also take away from the focus of MAO, which is about controlling the location and attributes of messages through rules and giving the user the ability to decide where messages should be archived and when. If anything conversations views was something we would have considered for MailPerspectives had Apple not added it in Mail 5

    The conversation views of Mail 5 does a good job of linking messages together regardless of where they are in your Mail library --- but it doesn't do what many people need -- to have better control over where sent mail is actually archived (i.e. not necessarily in the sent mail folder)

    There are really good reasons why people need to have this better control. One that comes to the top of my head is that users need to archive to specific IMAP folders so they can maintain organization on a server that other clients use.

    In anycase MAO 2 will be ready to ship with Lion as a free update. MAO will be coming later

  15. 15 Posted by smithsm on 21 Jun, 2011 03:30 PM

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  16. 16 Posted by Gabe on 05 Jul, 2011 06:25 AM

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    I was tinkering with a colleague's developer preview of Lion, and it looks like the new solves this problem beautifully.

    If you're looking at one mail thread with replies scattered in more than one mailbox, the new Lion will reconstruct the whole thread into one conversation. It's like a library of conversations now, instead of a huge set of folders with individual mails.


  17. 17 Posted by Gabe on 05 Jul, 2011 06:25 AM

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    Oh dear... I see I effectively repeated what Scott just mentioned. Sorry for the pointless bump.

  18. Scott closed this discussion on 30 Mar, 2012 03:05 AM.

  19. Beth closed this discussion on 05 May, 2015 12:24 AM.

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