For those who aren’t quite comfortable living entirely on the web, Apple’s macOS Mail is actually a pretty capable e-mail app, providing a nice, clean user interface and all of the features that most users would need. However, like most Apple apps, power users will probably find Apple Mail to be a bit light on more advanced features, which is where third-party developers come in with to fill the gaps with plugins to extend Mail’s functionality while preserving it’s straightforward design. SmallCubed’s Mail Act-On ($30) is at the top of our list of indispensable plugins that add significant power to the Apple Mail experience — allowing you to file messages into folders using only the keyboard, set up sophisticated “macros” using standard Apple Mail rules that can be triggered using keyboard shortcuts, and even creating rules that can be applied to outgoing messages. As if all of that wasn’t enough, Mail Act-On also bakes in the ability to create templates for quickly sending canned replies.
Once you’ve begun using Mail Act-On, the keyboard shortcuts it provides become so intuitive you’ll feel it missing when you use Apple Mail on a Mac where it’s not installed. Quick key sequences allow for messages to be very quickly filed away into folders of your choice, and if you use SmallCubed’s companion plugin, MailTags, you can even apply labels on the fly in much the same manner. Once Mail Act-On is installed, you’ll also gain two additional tabs in the built-in Rules preferences: one for rules that are applied to outgoing messages, and one for creating rules that can be assigned to keyboard shortcuts. This allows you use the same rules-based “language” that you’re already familiar with to build sophisticated workflows where you can use a single key sequence to apply an action to a message or group of messages. Similarly, rules can be created which will apply to outgoing messages, both before sending and after sending, allowing you to change or add recipients, set your from address, or even delay sending the message based on whether it matches a given rule or not, and then automatically filing the message into a different folder after sending. When composing a new message, Mail Act-On adds a panel allowing you to choose specific rules to apply, along with delayed sending and filing options.