Email Search

I have several mailboxes that I would like to search through looking at the text to find some information.

  1. pop up a prompt to enter a name/search word
  2. search email for the name/search word
  3. list each email that contains the name/search word
  4. click on the list and have it bring up that email

Is this possible if so can you give me a start?

Thanks Roger

I think the problem will be getting the list of messages out of Mail—this will almost certainly require AppleScript, as Mail doesn't allow you to copy a selection of messages.

And while I'm not enough of an AppleScript expert to say for sure, but it looks to me like the search results aren't available to AppleScript in any way, so you might have to have the macro build a new Smart Folder for each search, then get the contents of that smart folder.

What are the reasons for needing the list in Keyboard Maestro and not just directly in Mail? You could have KKM send the search to Mail, then activate Mail, and you'd be looking at a list of messages where you can click one top open that email.


That would work.

When you say send the search to mail I don't understand.

Here is what I am trying but not successful

Activate Mail
Simulate key stroke option, command, F

but unable to get it to work with KMB


Spotlight offers essentially the same capability. A search in Spotlight using this exact format—specifically, no spaces on either side of the colon—should be comparable once the Show All In Finder option is selected at the bottom of the initial list of results.


For additional ways to narrow Spotlight searches, along with other specific Spotlight capabilities, this PDF from 2007 remains a great resource.

(hat tip to @griffman for linking back then)

Thanks for the suggestions

Here is what I have working so far.

Activate Mail
Pause for 1.5 Seconds
Type the ⌥⌘F Keystroke
Pause for 1.5 Seconds
Insert Text “"%Variable%globalNEOFullName%"\r” by Typing

See any problems?

Here's one I use to search for messages from the sender of the selected message using a similar approach. It works fine without the pause between activating the search field and inserting the text.

All Inbox Messages from Sender Macro

Wait, I did what? Was that on Macworld somewhere? It sounds vaguely familiar, but that's as close as my mind gets to it :).


Back in the Mac OS X Hints days.

Ah ... I really wish they'd left that site online :(. I inquired about hosting it myself without advertising, but never heard back. (Not as a live site, but as a data source.)


Same thoughts here also apply to the OS X Hints forums. Both sites were troves of useful information.

That's a generous, considerate offer. I find it appalling that no one had the decency to provide even a cursory response.

You'll need to make sure a viewer window, not a message, is frontmost in Mail for ⌥⌘F to work. If it is frontmost then you can swap the second pause for a "pause until menu item 'Paste' is enabled", which will make the second phase more robust and maybe faster.

Are you looking to search through "several mailboxes" at the same time, or sequentially? Do you want to open the found emails all at once or one at a time?

As @griffman says, you might be able to do this with AppleScript -- it could depend on the complexity of the search, and speed will depend on the number of emails you are searching through as there's no metadata index to take advantage of. But it could be as simple as:

tell application "Mail"
	open (every message of mailbox "INBOX" of account id "5A8C12FC-3487-44AF-B5B0-F82B29740552" whose sender contains "Gek")
end tell

...if you are searching the "From" field (the account ID is particular to my setup, if this method seems worth trying we can go further with it).