Mail 2.0: Confusing interface for importing mailboxes

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Mail
June 1st, 2005 • 4:50 am

Let’s say you have an archive of old Eudora e-mail in a folder with the following file/folder structure:

Eudora Folder/Mail/Macintosh/Apple/

and the “Apple” folder contains several mailboxes you want to import. That’s all you want to import: not all the mailboxes contained inside “Mail“, but only the ones inside the “Apple” subfolder.

In Mail you choose the “Import Mailboxes…” command (in the “File” menu) and then get to the dialog box where you have to select the location containing the mailboxes you want to import.

In that dialog box, let’s say the focus is currently on the “Mail” folder. In other words, the file list currently displayed in the dialog box is the contents of the “Mail” folder.

If that file list is in list view and you click on the triangle to expand “Mail” and then the triangle to expand “Macintosh” and then you select the “Apple” folder in that expanded list, if you then click on the “Choose” button, Mail still attempts to import the entire contents of the “Mail” folder, even though the user clearly selected the “Apple” folder only in the list view!

This is because Mail’s import feature doesn’t actually choose the location based on what’s selected in the file list in the dialog box, but only based on the folder that the focus is on in that file list.

This is probably because Apple has only tested this import feature in a dialog box in Columns view, where there cannot be such confusion. (In Columns view, there is no such possible distinction between where the focus is and what the selection is.) But if the file list is in list view, the Mail interface is clearly wrong. If I select something and then click on “Choose“, I expect Mail to choose what I selected!

Bad one, Apple.

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