Mail 2.0: ‘Attach File…’ and ‘Save Attachments…’ dialog boxes use same sort order

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Mail
August 23rd, 2005 • 2:21 pm

It’s taken me a long time to figure out what exactly was wrong here (because it has to do with a sequence of actions that is often spread over an extended period of time), but I am finally able to reproduce it 100% reliably.

In Mail 2.0, compose a new message. Select “Attach File…” in the “File” menu. Switch to View as List view mode for the file listing, browse to folder A, click on the “Date Modified” heading to sort the files by date from newest to oldest, and select the top file to attach. (This is a typical task. You’ve just saved a file in folder A from within another application, and you want to attach it to an e-mail in Mail to send it to someone.)

Now select an existing message with attachments in your Inbox. Select “Save Attachments…” in the “File” menu. Click on the “Name” column heading to sort the files/folders alphabetically, and browse to folder B and save the attachments there.

Return to the message you were composing and select “Attach File…” again.

In the dialog box to select the file(s) to attach, the focus is still on folder A, but the sort order is now… by name, instead of being by date modified.

In other words, while the “Attach Files…” command and the “Save Attachments…” command can each keep the focus on their own folder, they both share the same sort order, and it’s impossible to switch the sort order in one of the commands without switching it in the other one as well.

It’s a rather annoying behaviour, because typically when you want to attach a file you want to sort things by date, to see the most recently created file at the top (which is the file you want to send). On the other hand, when you want to save attachments, you want to sort things by name, because you want to browse to a specific location in your file/folder hierarchy and browsing a file/folder hierarchy sorted by date is, to put it simply, a feat reserved for acrobats.

I would understand (but not accept) the two commands sharing the same destination. But they don’t. You can have the focus on folder A in “Save Attachments…” and on folder B in “Attach File…” But for some reason, they share the same sort order!

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