Email automation

We are transitioning work machines from PPC to Intels (yes reliability has been good:).

We currently use Thunderbird but want to automate handling incoming emails as much as possible. So before KM any suggestions as to most useful email app bearing in mind KM and apple scripting possibilities. We will be running High Sierra.

Most incoming emails will be identified by sender or subject and attachments processed on that basis.


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Without knowing more about what ‘processing’ involves, I get a lot done using KM to drag emails from Apple mail to the Desktop and have a bunch of rules in Hazel to simply file them based on title or subject or content.

Hazel is extensive and scriptable. Your needs will determine if it’s fully adequate.

If you further detail what you’re doing with the incoming emails, the folks here are super supportive.

Thanks for reply Bern

Do you have script for dragging to desktop? I have Hazel so could look at using that.

To answer question, first have to ascertain who from, then depending on attachment & subject line might be a new job to add to online DB, so create new folder within client monthly folder with folder name "possibly" subject line, or amendment or approved etc. Lot of variables but that is what makes it so enticing to automate :slight_smile:

I’m out of town till Sunday so without access to KM. Happy to send then.

If you’d like to put it together it’s a basic UI hack using KM’s built in actions. Below is an outline. I don’t have the details without the app in front of me.

I use a palette that’s always present in Apple mail and clicking the corresponding icon in that palette runs the following sequence.

An activate an app action brings mail forward.

A type a keystroke action types ‘Command Option H’ to hide all other apps opening up space to drag to.

A type a keystroke action types ‘Command A’ to select all items in the inbox.

The next and basically whole show of the click and drag is dependent on the mail window’s position.

I have a set of macros for positioning the currently active window and use it to have the mail window always in the same place. KM has a whole set of window positioning macro itching to be used.

With the window position set, use the click action and set the click over the selected mail items and drag to the desktop. Hazel takes it from there.

Again, this is only an outline and will need tweaking with pauses or other mechanisms to have this work. Hacking is like that.

There are folks here who can likely do this far more eloquently and faster by doing this programmatically with scripts and I’m not there, yet, :wink:

This could get you started and the Hazel side is where the fun’s really at.

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Thanks Bern - wherever you are enjoy the trip and appreciate feedback.

I would definitely check out Mailmate as it is a great and powerful email client, and has a lot of support.

I highly recommend MS Outlook. It is very powerful and very scriptable. Keep in mind that Outlook provides 5 major "sub-apps":

  1. EMail
  2. Calendar (much, much better than Apple Calendar)
  3. Contacts (again, much better)
  4. Tasks
  5. Notes (I prefer Evernote)
  6. Reminders (available on all of the above)

and all of these may be assigned one or more "Categories", which is just another name for tags. Very powerful.

I've used Outlook 2011 for years, and have just upgraded to Outlook 365 now that I'm running Mojave. So far I have found Outlook 365 to be just as scriptable as Outlook 201, with one exception: You can't use a script in Outlook 365 Rules. However, there is much you can do with OL Rules without a script. See Create a rule in Outlook for Mac .

So while you can't us a script in a OL 365 Rule, you can easily setup a KM Macro with a periodic trigger that runs very often (I have one that runs every 5 min with no impact) to do whatever standard processing you may have.

A great advantage of OL is that you can setup your email accounts using Exchange Server, either hosted by your company, or by a hosting provider. This enables all of your OL data (email, contacts, calendar, tasks, etc) to be quickly sync'd to all devices that use the same ES account.

Of course, OL can also use Pop3 and Imap accounts, as well as multiple Exchange Server accounts.

If you have any specific questions, please let me know.

If you have a choice, I would recommend going with either Sierra, or Mojave. High Sierra provides a lot of pain for little gain. I just upgraded from Sierra to Mojave, and it went very smooth.

Outlook 365 should be able to easily handle that.

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Appreciate all suggestions. Re Mojave I always try to keep behind the loop but maybe look at Mojave. Reliability is a great cost saver in time. Just checked Mojave compatibility with Vectorworks 2017. No luck there and £3500 upgrade bill.

Have to say not totally impressed with High Sierra and jumped over Sierra from El Capitan. Now wondering whether to downgrade to Sierra or El Capitan since all software we use compatible with EC before going switching to the Intels.

Comments anyone? Any thing I should be aware of?

Many thanks


What specifically were you looking for that HS lacks? Does it break something that previous worked? Were you left with unfulfilled expectations? If so, what specifically?

You’ve mentioned reliability twice. Has HS been unstable with the new hardware? I know stability in a production environment trumps all other considerations.

You lose more current security upgrades by downgrading plus accrue reinstallation costs. What’s missing that makes that look worthwhile?

What do you do? What does your company do?

I can't speak for @michael_gilbert, but I and others found numerous issues with High Sierra that kept us from upgrading to it. It seems that most, if not all, of those issues have been resolved by Mojave.

If you'd like more details, a forum search on "High Sierra" and a google search on "high sierra issues" should provide you with most of the known issues.

I see. I don’t look into issues unless I have them or a client asks and my few clients make an extremely small sample. The times I’ve looked I always find lots of issues and usually few reliable answers.

Not having broad experience, I wonder how much was HS a buggy release and how much was it individual setups or installation procedures or both?

Typically I see things like this that work for some but not others.

“...not by using Time Machine (to reinstall) but by switching off, unplugging everything, leaving it for an hour, then booting with nothing plugged in. Ever since, it's been perfect. Many of the problems I had with the old Sierra OS have disappeared as well.”

Generally, I’m left with little certainty. As I’m not very centered in software troubleshooting and not currently committed to be, I’m glad to take your word for it :wink:. Thanks for this and your ongoing commitment and great generous. I appreciate you!

A real pain in the butt is how HS handles displaylink as I use 2 external displays with Macbook. And just seems slow. Launchbar slow at indexing as well. Even KM sometimes at firing macros. Just used to the bullet proof 10.4.11 on PPC - those were the days :slight_smile:

EC was in my opinion better than HS. I think it is because I am always tinkering with this machine that issues come up that might not arise on work machines doing same thing over and over.

WOW that was a long trip :upside_down_face:

If you're still looking, here's what I'm currently using:

04)Move Inbox to Finder.kmmacros (25.4 KB)

The start and end points will need adjusting depending on where the email list is located.


I have been looking for a reasonable solution for archiving emails for a long time. But no solution has convinced me so far. I have tried "Export/Print as PDF", "Batch processing programs", ...
But I always have problems with page breaks, paper size, ...

Hence my question:

Do you convert the eml files into pdf?
If not, what do you do then?
If yes, how do you do that with Hazel? Do you pull information like sender, recipient, date and subject from the pdf file to rename the file?

I have also been using Hazel for 2 years now...

No converting as that's an extra step times a million billion trillion emails.

After saving to Desktop with Drag to Desktop macro, Hazel sorts them into Finder folders where I organize and store email. I let them pile up on the desktop for a while as that allows me to see what folders need to be created or linked up via Hazel.

This eliminates another filing system (Apple Mail folders) or said differently, eliminates another place to lose stuff, manage, maintain, and coordinate with other storage locations. No thanks, maintaining one folder structure is more than enough.

Someday (if I live long enough) I'll get rid of the Photo, Contacts, Notes, Reminders, Music, Messages, and any other database I can. Too many data caches/places to look for my taste. I think I may really only need the calendar as a data display and Finder folders. Of course YMMV :wink:.