Panther’s Mail: View settings for individual mailbox folders

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
February 2nd, 2004 • 5:57 am

I just read a post by a MacInTouch reader to the effect that “[e]very folder, not just Sent, retains its own sort order and its own settings about which columns to display

I was quite surprised, because I had never noticed this. As far as I can tell, since version 1.0, Mail has been unable to use mailbox-specific view settings — which is a huge drawback and a deal-breaker for some people, even though I personally can live with it. You can change view settings, i.e. add or remove certain columns, change the width of each column, and change the sort order — but these settings are not mailbox-specific.

It’s hard to describe what they are, actually. They are not exactly application-wide either. For example, say you have two email accounts. This means you have two “In” boxes, one for each account, and they are both inside the general “In” mailbox, whose content is the combination of the contents of the two account-specific “In” mailboxes.

Now select the first account-specific “In” mailbox, and go to the “View” menu and make an additional column visible, such as the “Mailbox” column. Mail adds the column, and automatically resizes the existing columns so that everything fits in the Mail Viewer window.

Now click on the main “In” mailbox icon in the mailbox drawer. You’ll notice that the “Mailbox” column is also visible in that mailbox. Now click again on the account-specific mailbox where you made the change. Guess what? The “Mailbox” column is gone!

In other words, the change that you made in the account-specific “In” box didn’t stick in that mailbox, but it did stick in the main “In” mailbox, where you did not make the change.

This is beyond strange.

What does seem to stick on a mailbox-specific basis is the sort order. If you are in a mailbox and click on a column heading to sort messages by that column’s contents, the change in the sort order only applies to that mailbox. And it is permanent.

But column-visibility settings are definitely not mailbox-specific. I am not even sure what they are. Oh wait, I know what they are: user-hostile.

2 Responses to “Panther’s Mail: View settings for individual mailbox folders”

  1. ssp says:

    Just to get your adrenaline flowing a little, play around with the ‘Threading’ option in X.3’s Mail.


    and you’ll see that the corresponding column will be activated on a per mailbox basis and that switching around different mailboxes with that option on and of (or simply toggling it on and off repeatedly) will completely mess up your column widths.

    I have filed a bug report on this.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    God, this stuff is embarrassing, isn’t it? So sloppy… (I have threading on everywhere myself, I guess I just can’t stand the uncertainty :).)

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