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I want a way to process mail from the keyboard. There is no way to move messages to a folder from the keyboard, and going to the mouse dramatically slows me down.

I want to tag messages -- what I mean by this is I want a way to edit the message so that I can add text to it somewhere that the search in mail will find. I do not wish to use commercial application mail tags. It crashed with a minor upgrade and I lost all my tags. I won't go back to that.

In Outlook you can edit a message to add text to the subject. Apple Mail does not allow that. Is there any way to add a tag to a mail message without using mail tags?

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There is no way to move messages to a folder from the keyboard Yes, there is, if you're willing to work for it. – Daniel Beck Nov 9 '11 at 21:06
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is not possible without add ons you found yourself and don't want to use anymore.

The only properties of e-mails in Mail you can change are their color, and their processing status (flagged/read/junk).

It's not possible via the AppleScript dictionary of Apple Mail (r/o stands for read only):

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It's not possible as part of mail rules:

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There's no Automator action even remotely related to editing e-mail.

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And of course, there's no menu item for editing an email.

For all practical purposes, e-mail is read-only in Apple Mail once received or sent.

Unless you're willing to edit Mail's underlying SQLite database (and you can probably imagine how reliably that'll work, aside from the fact that it's disgustingly normalized and therefore not easy to edit), or to edit e-mail directly on your IMAP server, there's no way to do this with Apple Mail — unless you're willing to use add ons to that software.

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Thanks - this answer puts others to shame, even though I don't like the conclusion. I'd vote it up, but my mere 9 reputation limits my ability to do so. I'll have to skin this cat another way. – thf Nov 10 '11 at 14:34

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